disadvantages of growing cotton

If you are looking for the Disadvantages Of Growing Cotton, then look no further than this article. It includes disadvantages of organic cotton. Perhaps you are interested in pros and cons of growing cotton, then reading this article may help you.

Cotton is the most widely used natural fabric for apparel manufacturing across the world. Being a natural fiber, cotton is a renewable resource and is biodegradable.

Natural fibers, as opposed to synthetic like polyester, tend to be more expensive and isn’t the best option when trying to keep costs down for promotional items.

The greatest advantages of cotton is it’s breathability. In hot weather, it’s a great option for keeping your body cool. Even though it may hold moisture longer than polyester, in hot weather, this actually becomes a way to keep your body cool.

When choosing this fabric for your next order, keep in mind the end use of  the apparel.

pros and cons of growing cotton

Disadvantages Of Growing Cotton

advantages and disadvantages of cotton and polyester fabrics

Cotton vs. Polyester Fabrics

It’s important to us that garment decorators know the advantages and disadvantages of cotton and polyester fabrics, and of course the cotton/polyester blended fabrics.

There are pros and cons to both types. Knowing those facts will help you narrow down which fabric type is best for your clients.

Are you decorating for athletes who need a breathable, flexible fabric? Or are you decorating for electricians or welders who need a fabric that will not melt to their skin if it comes in contact with sparks? You will find that cotton is the best option for these professions.

As we mentioned, cotton can hold it’s fair share of moisture, which can be a problem for heat-applied transfers. The reason is because moisture is released as steam as the heat press raises it to a high temperature.

Not removing enough of the moisture will cause the adhesive to not attach to the fabric fibers properly. Your solution is to pre-press your fabric a little longer than normal to ensure all moisture is removed from the fabric before applying your transfer.

Advantages of Cotton

  • Natural fibers free of chemicals
  • Breathable – Great option for hot weather
  • Hypoallergenic and does not irritate skin
  • Burns as opposed to melts like polyester

Our best-selling transfer type for cotton is Goof Proof.

Disadvantages of Cotton

  • Expensive
  • Natural fibers wear down faster
  • Holds moisture longer (can be an advantage in hot weather)
  • Prone to shrinking

Polyester, being a synthetic fiber, is a less expensive option and has many benefits that cotton does not. It has strong fibers that do not wear down as quickly, while being flexible and resistant to wrinkles and shrinking. Unlike cotton, polyester dries quickly which makes it perfect for colder weather and sports where you don’t want moist fabric against your skin.

Polyester is very popular among athletes for it’s moisture-wicking properties, strong fibers, and light weight feel. For heat printers, taking precaution when decorating polyester is a must.

It is usually temperature sensitive, so low temperature heat transfers like Elasti Prints are needed to reduce or prevent scorching.

Polyester also has a tendency to cause dye migration between the fabric dye and the decoration.

Advantages of Polyester

  • Strong
  • Flexible
  • Dries quickly
  • Resists wrinkles and shrinking
  • Inexpensive

Disadvantages of Polyester

  • Tends to stick to perspiring skin
  • Not as breathable
  • Temperature sensitive
  • Subject to dye migration

So what is the answer? Cotton or poly?

Cotton/Polyester blends are the best of both worlds. Take the breathability and natural feel of cotton and mix it with the strong, flexible and more cost effective properties of polyester.

No wonder a 50/50 shirt is the most popular choice among garment decorators. A nice 50/50 cotton/poly shirt like Port & Company Core Blend Tee PC55 or Gildan DryBlend 50/50 t-shirt 8000 will offer you a great quality t-shirt with the benefits of both cotton and polyester fabrics.

What Is Textile Recycling?

Textile recycling is the process by which old clothing and other textiles are recovered for reuse or material recovery. It is the basis for the textile recycling industry. In the United States, this group is represented by SMART, the Association of Wiping Materials, Used Clothing and Fiber Industries. The necessary steps in the textile recycling process involve the donation, collection, sorting and processing of textiles, and then subsequent transportation to end users of used garments, rags or other recovered materials.& https://710178e6f37e473cca0c51d07c5df8a5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlnbsp;https://710178e6f37e473cca0c51d07c5df8a5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The basis for the growing textile recycling industry is, of course, the textile industry itself. The textile industry has evolved into a nearly $1 trillion industry globally, comprising clothing, as well as furniture and mattress material, linens, draperies, cleaning materials, leisure equipment, and many other items.1 

The Urgency to Recycle Textiles

The importance of recycling textiles is increasingly being recognized. An estimated 100 billion garments are produced annually, worldwide.2 According to U.S. EPA, around 17 million tons of textile municipal solid waste (MSW) was generated in 2018, about 5.8% of total MSW generation. The recycling rate for textiles derived from clothing and footwear was 13.0%, while the recovery for sheets and pillowcases was 15.8% for the same year.3 As such, textile recycling is a significant challenge to be addressed as we strive to move closer to a zero landfill society.

Once in landfills, natural fibers can take a few weeks to a few years to decompose.4 They may release methane and CO2 gas into the atmosphere. Additionally, synthetic textiles are designed not to decompose. In the landfill, they may release toxic substances into groundwater and surrounding soil.5

Textile recycling offers the following environmental benefits:

  • Decreases landfill space requirements, bearing in mind that synthetic fiber products do not decompose and that natural fibers may release greenhouse gasses
  • Avoided use of virgin fibers
  • Reduced consumption of energy and water
  • Pollution avoidance
  • Lessened demand for dyes.

Sources of Textiles for Recycling

Textiles for recycling are generated from two primary sources. These sources include:
1. Post-consumer, including garments, vehicle upholstery, household items and others.
2. Pre-consumer, including scrap created as a by-product from yarn and fabric manufacture, as well as the post-industrial scrap textiles from other industries.

The donation of old garments is supported by non-profit as well as many corporate programs, including those of Nike and Patagonia.

Wearable and Reused Textiles

In the European Union, about 50% of collected textiles are recycled and about 50% are reused. Approximately 35% of donated clothes are turned into industrial rags. Most of the reused clothing is exported to other countries.6 Oxam, a British charitable organization, estimates 70% of their clothing donations end up in Africa.7 The issue of sending used clothing to Africa has generated some degree of controversy as to the benefits of such initiatives, where it can have an adverse impact on local textile industries, native dress, and local waste generation.

The Recycling Process 

For the basics of recycling, read my article, How Clothing Recycling Works. For textiles to be recycled, there are fundamental differences between natural and synthetic fibers. For natural textiles:

  • The incoming unwearable material is sorted by type of material and color. Color sorting results in a fabric that does not need to be re-dyed. The color sorting means no re-dying is required, saving energy and avoiding pollutants.
  • Textiles are then pulled into fibers or shredded, sometimes introducing other fibers into the yarn. Materials are shredded or pulled into fibers. Depending on the end use of the yarn, other fibers may be incorporated.
  • The yarn is then cleaned and mixed through a carding process
  • Then the yarn is re-spun and ready for subsequent use in weaving or knitting. 
  • Some fibers are not spun into yards, however. Some are compressed for textile filling such as in mattresses.

In the case of polyester-based textiles, garments are shredded and then granulated for processing into polyester chips. These are subsequently melted and used to create new fibers for use in new polyester fabrics.

Beyond Recycling, Shop Sustainably

As society becomes more familiar with the hazards associated with sending old textiles to the landfill, and as new recycling technologies develop, it can be anticipated that the textile recycling industry will continue to grow. At the same time, watch for trends such as slow fashion to draw continued attention to the interplay of clothing and sustainability. The fast fashion industry generates considerable pollution and a sizeable negative impact on climate change. Consumers can help affect change by choosing clothing brands that last longer and which demonstrate a commitment to reducing their climate change impact.

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