The Environmental Dangers of Cotton: Part 1

Cotton fiber has a long history dating centuries in the textile industry. Its popularity in the past shows how this fiber was used in everything from clothing to bedding. Despite its record and everyone's familiarity with the fiber, it has been proven to be a hazard to the environment. Here are the dangers of using cotton and the environmentally friendly lyocell fiber ready to replace it. 

​Not as Biodegradable 
A question commonly asked about upcoming products is if they are biodegradable. Cotton products are not often overlooked when they should be asked this question. Even though it is biodegradable, it does not reach the standard that it should be compared to other natural fibers. Cotton takes a long time to decompose once in a landfill. The botanic fiber, lyocell decomposes faster than cotton at an alarming rate and will not sit in a landfill for long periods of time. 

​Overusing Natural Resources 
The irony in cotton is how many natural resources are wasted to produce it. The fiber claims to be organic, but then only takes away nutrients without giving anything back. A normal bedsheet made from cotton fiber requires approximately 4,000 liters of water on average. At this moment, cotton uses about 2.5% of the world's arable land. Plus, cotton can account for millions of terajoules' worth of energy. All of these recourses could be used for other means.

​The Eco-Friendly Alternative 
Lyocell has a proven track record of decomposing faster than cotton. This is not the only environmental benefit of this extraordinary fiber. Lyocell uses less natural resources than cotton. Tencel, a lyocell fiber, was awarded the European Award for the Environment by the European Union because solvent used is recycled by almost 100% in the closed loop process. Instead of taking from the environment, it recycles what was already given. Tencel is also softer than cotton, and can be found in comfortable hypoallergenic sheets and other bedding. Rather than sleeping in a bed that will damage the environment, rest easy in sheets that help the environment.