FAQAnswers to frequently asked questions about cotton and sustainability.
We provide extensive citations for these facts, and all content on this page and all pages on CottonToday have been reviewed for accuracy by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Is cotton completely biodegradable? How long does it take for it to completely biodegrade?
Which is more energy efficient, growing or recycling cotton?
100% of cotton textiles can be recycled into textiles or other materials.2 How energy efficient this process is depends on the quality of sorting, the type of material, the equipment used and the resulting product. Growing and recycling cotton are both important processes, and researchers are constantly looking for ways to improve how they are managed. Read more here.
What happens to the rest of the cotton plant once cotton is harvested?
Cottonseed oil is used in a wide variety of products from salad dressing to makeup to toothpaste, and cottonseed can feed dairy cattle.3 Cotton linters, the tiny fuzz left on cottonseed hulls, are a renewable form of cellulose. Linters are commonly used to make products like paper, but it can also be found in food products such as ice cream and beer. Read more here.
What do cotton growers do to maintain biodiversity and wildlife habitats?
What is the difference between conventional and organic cotton?
The distinction between organic and conventional cotton can often be misunderstood or misconstrued in sustainability conversations. In reality, growing practices are remarkably similar. The big differences come down to where the seeds come from, and which chemicals are used to grow and protect the crops. When they are produced responsibly, both organic and conventional cotton can be grown with lower environmental impacts. But neither is inherently more sustainable than the other as growing conditions and on farm practices are the key drivers of sustainably. Read more here.
Does cotton use a lot of pesticides?
Does cotton need a lot of fertilizer?
Does cotton use a lot of water?
Does cotton use a lot of land?
Who is behind this website?
- Cotton Inc. “Cotton and the Environment”.
- Williams, M.R. 2012. Cotton insect losses 2011. Presented at the 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Orlando, Florida, January 3-6, 2012. Pp. 1013-1037.
- https://cottontoday.cottoninc.com/cottonproduction/land/#:~: text=Cotton’s%20global%20land%20use%20has,as%20planted%20acres%20have%20declined.