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Cottoning on to organic cotton

It's been around for thousands of years and nowadays cotton is one of the most commonly used fabrics in clothes and textiles. Think of your own fashion staples and casual constants, and you probably won't be surprised that over half the clothes bought in the UK are made from cotton.

But not all cotton is created equal. Non-organic cotton has even been awarded the disreputable title of 'world's dirtiest crop'. According to the Soil Association, the UK's leading organic food and farming charity, organic is the only cultivating system that eliminates damaging farming practices and highly toxic substances from the environment. Instead, organic farming works holistically, providing long-term benefits for people, communities and our planet - and that goes for growing organic cotton.

Cotton is a thirsty crop. Yet, shortage of water has been identified as one of the top ten risks facing society globally. It doesn't help that conventional cotton tends to be grown in countries already facing water shortages.

But organically grown cotton makes the world of difference by using up to 91% less water than conventionally grown cotton, significantly reducing water wastage and environmental impact. Buying a certified organic cotton T-shirt instead of a non-organic one would save an astonishing 2,457 litres of water. And because most organic cotton is grown in areas that experience rainfall, farmers don't have to take water from the ground, relieving pressure on local water supplies.

Better still, because organic farmers use natural methods like composting and work with nature to grow cotton, they build healthy soils that store carbon and help combat climate change. Healthy soil also acts like a sponge, soaking up water during flooding and holding on to it for longer during droughts. Organic cotton even emits up to 46% less greenhouse gas than non-organic cotton.

If your personal bugbear is the use of chemicals in farming, growing conventional cotton is responsible for 16% of all insecticides sold worldwide. On the plus side, organic farming bans hazardous synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, stopping them from entering and polluting waterways. So rivers, lakes and drinking water stay safe for local communities and food supplies are protected.

As conscious consumerism and eco shopping become ever more popular and positive force for good, one of the best ways we can be sure that the cottons we're buying have been grown sustainably is to choose certified organic cotton.

At Rory & Ruby we love to give our customers that peace of mind. That's why our organic cotton products are OCS 100, GOTS or Soil Association certified, while many are OEKA-TEX Standard 100 certified free from harmful chemicals that can irritate sensitive or young skin.

The cotton clothes and accessories in our original baby hampers, for example, are all certified organic cotton that's undyed, unbleached and in its natural state, resulting in lovely creamy tones and a supersoft, snuggly feel.

Just the way nature intended!