Friday, August 21, 2009

Are Organic Clothing and Bedding Really More Costly Than Non-organic Counterparts?

Organic BeddingMy direct answer is "no." I'll explain why. The primary fabrics used for organic clothing and bedding are organic cotton and organic wool.

I'm sure you'd agree that prices for non-organic cotton and non-organic wool in clothing and bedding cover a very wide range from the lowest discount store prices to the highest fashion designer prices.

Similarly, prices for organic cotton and organic wool also cover a wide range. Usually, however, you'll find the range may not be quite as low at the bottom of the scale as their non-organic counterparts. Is there a reason for this?

Yes, in fact, there are several reasons. First is that there needs to be an assurance of organic standards. These standards have been set by governments, as in the USDA NOP (U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program) standards, and trade associations, as in the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).

So one cost that exists in organic products that doesn't exist in non-organic is the cost to farmers and manufacturers associated with the certification processes to verify that the products meet the standards. Certifications allow you to feel confident in the healthy quality of organic products.

The farming practices are also commonly more labor intensive and therefore have higher costs. Also, products that meet fair labor standards have higher costs. Lastly, since the industries are still relatively small compared to total market size, there are most likely economies of scale that haven't yet been achieved.

However, if the costly negative health and environmental pollution effects from non-organic farming and manufacturing were fully born by the producers, and not the public, the retail prices of non-organic products would most likely be higher than those of organic products.

When you choose organic farming and manufacturing you are:
  • Reducing your exposure to chemicals and allergens in the products.
  • Keeping toxic chemicals out of our soil, air, and water, including groundwater and rivers.
  • Eliminating farm worker exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • Supporting sustainable farming practices.
  • Increasing soil health and fertility.
To increase your knowledge on the above fabrics including farming and manufacturing considerations, I've written detailed articles on these topics including comparisons of organic standards as well as organic to non-organic counterparts.

Ed Mass is President and Founder of Yes It's Organic, an online store for Organic, Fair Labor, and Eco Friendly Green clothing including organic clothing for adults to organic baby clothes, organic bedding, organic sheets, organic towels, sustainable bamboo furniture, organic logo embroidered shirts and promotional products for organizations wanting to improve their environmental footprint. After being an environmentalist for over 40 years, including designing solar energy systems in the 1970s, Ed decided to participate more directly in growing the organic, fair labor and eco friendly industries by educating consumers and influencing their buying habits.