GUEST POST - Clean and Green - Home Cleaning Tips for Every Home from Eco Company, Nimble
Published on: 2nd September 2019
4th September 2019
Today's guest post from LittleLeaf Organic continues our look at sustainable lifestyle brands in the UK.
Lots of us are now starting to think about how we can live a greener, more sustainable life. We try to buy food that’s not encased in plastic, that’s organically grown, and preferably not too far from home. We’re getting better at remembering to take our reusable bags to carry our shopping home. We might even be growing a bit of fruit and veg ourselves in our gardens or allotments. But not many of us think in this way about the fabrics we use on a daily basis, for our clothes, bedding and elsewhere around the home. Yet here we can make a sustainable swap that’s a step UP in terms of quality and luxury, by switching to certified organic cotton.
Organic cotton is grown and made without the use of harmful pesticides or toxic chemicals. Most of us would prefer not to put food that has been sprayed with chemicals into our bodies. It follows surely that we’d prefer not to put clothes and fabric that has been steeped in chemicals on our bodies and against our skin - our largest (and very absorbent) organ. Non-organic cotton has been called the world’s dirtiest crop and uses 16% of all insecticides globally (UK Soil Association). Organic cotton on the other hand works with nature, not against it, avoids the use of pesticides, uses far less water (91% less!) and helps to keep water safe and clean. It produces far less greenhouse gas than conventional cotton manufacture, maintains healthy soils and helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere. As the Soil Association says, organic represents “more of the good stuff” – and less of the bad.
1. Better for the people who pick and sew the cotton
The workers who pick organic cotton in the fields and work in organic cotton factories are therefore not exposed to harmful chemicals either. At LittleLeaf, we only work with GOTS-registered factories to produce our bedding and babywear. That’s the Global Organic Textile Standard, a certifying body with the highest environmental standards, which ensures that workers are not exposed to the harsh toxins that are used in the growing and production of conventional, non-organic cotton.
2. Better for our skin
If there are so many harmful chemicals used in the production of non-organic cotton, it follows that traces of such chemicals can be found in the clothes we wear every day. Organic cotton by contrast is gentler and softer on our skin, which is particularly important when it comes to babies, since their skin and respiratory systems are even more vulnerable to any toxic substances they come in contact with. It’s not surprising that allergies are becoming more and more common. If you suffer from eczema or any skin allergy, you should definitely consider switching to certified organic cotton.
3. Better for the environment and more sustainable
Apart from the direct impact on human health, a report by the UN has also drawn attention to the longer-term environmental impact of such heavy use of pesticides:
“Pesticides sprayed on crops frequently pollute the surrounding ecosystem and beyond, with unpredictable ecological consequences. Furthermore, reductions in pest populations upset the complex balance between predator and prey species in the food chain. Pesticides can also decrease biodiversity of soils and contribute to nitrogen fixation, which can lead to large declines in crop yields, posing problems for food security.”
4. The best ethical standards
GOTS certification also means that good working practices have been followed throughout the production process, from field to factory and on to the finished product. This is crucially important to us at LittleLeaf, which is why we only work with GOTS registered factories. GOTS’ social criteria are based on the International Labour Organisation’s key conventions which include a ban on child and forced labour and include provisions such as having systems in place to prove they are addressing social concerns, such as grievances. Factories registered and certified by GOTS pay fair wages and give workers paid holiday. It’s reassuring and good to know that you can buy certified organic cotton safe in the knowledge that everyone involved in its manufacture has been dealt with fairly, they haven’t been exposed to toxins and pesticides and no child has been employed to help produce your clothes and bedlinen. Beware of inferior certification and ‘organic’ claims and always look for the GOTS t-shirt symbol to make sure that the highest standards have been applied.
5. Better sheets and better baby clothes
If you need any more convincing, organic cotton is simply a better product – softer against your skin and longer-lasting than non- organic cotton. As it’s grown for longer, hasn’t had any chemicals sprayed on it and is generally picked by hand, organic cotton is made from much stronger and longer fibres, which in turn make much softer garments. So when you choose to buy organic cotton you are indulging yourself (or your baby) with a top quality, luxuriously soft fabric.
6. Ethically made, fairly priced
The main counter-argument against buying organic cotton is the higher cost – it does cost more to grow cotton more naturally and to ensure fair wages and working conditions. However, first of all, a slightly higher cost is definitely worth it for all the advantages it brings. Secondly, the price will inevitably come down the more demand there is, which in turn will mean more farms and factories will decide to adopt these practices. But at LittleLeaf Organic we’re very aware of the cost issue and are trying to make this premium, beautiful product more affordable. The price of our sheets and pillowcases in particular is very competitive – in fact, we’ve yet to come across any organic cotton bedding of comparable high quality that costs less.
7. Our packaging
Right from the beginning, we wanted the values at the heart of LittleLeaf to be reflected in everything we do. So it followed that our packaging needed to be as plastic-free and reusable as possible. That’s why our sheets and duvet covers are packaged in organic cotton drawstring bags, which can obviously be re-used in all sorts of ways. Lots of customers use them for packing shoes in a suitcase, or their laundry whilst they’re away. They’re also very handy to take with you on any plastic-free food shop, to carry fruit or veg or even loose grains or pasta.
All the other packaging in our bedding sets – the hang tag, paper band around the pillowcases and the sticker which seals it – are made from 100% recycled paper and are printed with environmentally-friendly vegetable based ink. The coloured raffia ribbon attaching the hang tag to the sheet and duvet bags is compostable. You see, we’ve really put a lot of thought into this!
If you’re looking for a gorgeous eco gift, you can’t go wrong with our affordably priced bedding. We have a number of lovely packaging options, including our Luxury Bedding Gift Set in a smart recycled box. This includes a gorgeously soft duvet cover along with the sheet and pillowcases. There are 5 colours to choose from: White, Natural, Aquamarine, Ocean Blue or Chocolate Plum, and feel free to mix and match bedding colours.
Or you can choose to have our Bedding Set packed in an organic cotton shoulder bag which of course can be re-used again and again. We’ve designed the bag to be large enough to take a lever- arch file comfortably, and it has an extra wide strap which also makes it much more comfortable to use, as it doesn’t dig into your shoulder. It also makes a great bag to wear across your body when out cycling. They make such great eco-conscious gifts, as a house-warming present, engagement or wedding gift, or just because. A LittleLeaf Bedding Set also makes the perfect anniversary gift - especially if it’s the second, as cotton apparently is the traditional second wedding anniversary gift!