How is Organic Cotton Yarn Different from Other Yarns?

Diane Goettel

The main difference between organic cotton yarn and yarn made from non-organic cotton has to do with the conditions under which the cotton plants are grown. Unlike other non-organic yarns, the cotton that is used to make organic cotton yarn is grown without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. These products are often used on non-organic cotton plants and affect the way that the plants grow. They can also effect the ecosystem, which is why some people prefer organically grown cotton.

Cotton field ready to be harvested.
Cotton field ready to be harvested.

Fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides often affect yield and create a more valuable crop for the farmer. Fertilizers help the plants to grown more quickly and in a more robust manner. Pesticides keep insects from eating or damaging the plants. Herbicides keep other plants from taking root in the soil and competing with or strangling the roots of the cotton plants. Although these products protect the crop and yield a larger harvest, many people object to their use because of the negative impacts that they have on the environment and the people and animals who are exposed to them while working in the crops.

Cotton bolls on a branch.
Cotton bolls on a branch.

As organic cotton crops are not usually as large as non-organic cotton crops, the resulting product is often a bit more expensive. For this reason, organic cotton yarn is often more expensive than yarn that is made from cotton that was not grown organically. The price difference is not dramatic. One yarn company, for example, sells organic cotton yarn at a price that is 15 to 25 percent higher than its other non-organic cotton yarns.

An organic cotton T-shirt.
An organic cotton T-shirt.

As more and more people are switching to an organic lifestyle, everyday products are beginning to be produced in an organic manner. Many grocery stores, even large chains, are beginning to carry organic products and sell organic produce. Organic bath and beauty products are quite common now as well. The same has happened with yarn. In addition to organic cotton yarn, organic wool yarn is available as well.

Organic cotton yarn is typically more expensive than traditional cotton yarn.
Organic cotton yarn is typically more expensive than traditional cotton yarn.

Not all yarn companies sell organic cotton yarn, but more and more of them are beginning to incorporate organic products into their catalog of goods. There are some companies that specialize in organic and recycled crafting products. They only sell yarn that is organic or recycled. These retailers can often be found online, where they have web catalogs that can be browsed for mail-order purchases. There are also some physical stores that also specialize in organic and recycled craft products.

Organic yarn has less of a negative impact on the environment than other yarns.
Organic yarn has less of a negative impact on the environment than other yarns.

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