Sustainable cotton use after Hurricane Harvey’s damage to cotton crops

Farmers are the literal breadwinners of the world; they work hard to put food on your table. While it’s easy to note the fact that your food first came from a farm, you might not realize that your clothes are a product of farmers’ hard work, too.

The U.S. is the world’s third largest cotton producer (following China and India), producing more than 17 billion bales of cotton a year. To put this in perspective, just one bale of cotton can produce 215 pairs of jeans, 249 bedsheets, 690 bath towels, 3,085 diapers, 1,217 t-shirts, and 313,600 dollar bills. Needless to say, cotton is a staple in our everyday lives.

As noted in last week’s Texas Farm Girl blog, Hurricane Harvey hit cotton farms hard, resulting in the loss of more than 400,000 bales. According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas is the number one cotton producer in the nation. Losing this large of a portion of what was predicted to be one of the most fruitful harvests in years could be detrimental to textile industries. Multiply the aforementioned figures by 400,000, and the damage is clear.

Just as reducing food waste can support farmers’ efforts to feed the growing population, clothing your household in a sustainable way can help counter the damage Harvey did to Texas cotton crops. Here are a couple of ways you can help:

Photo via ImseVimse

Buy lasting products

Fashion trends are constantly changing, and it’s fun to buy new clothes every season. But it’s possible to buy less while still buying products that express your personality. There are plenty of classic trends that will last you a long time—in durability and style. If you buy several staple items, you’d be surprised how many different outfit ideas you can come up with. It’ll free space in your closet, time when you’re getting dressed, and it’ll reduce clothing waste in the long run.

Donate and buy secondhand

Buying less won’t completely reduce waste, as you’ll always have to get rid of clothes every now and then. Children will outgrow things, items will wear down, and you’ll accidentally tear a few things. But if you’re getting rid of otherwise good quality clothes, consider donating instead of throwing them out. One man’s trash is another’s treasure, and you can do a little thrift shopping yourself when you drop your clothes off at your local Salvation Army.