Over the past 30 years, U.S. cotton has significantly reduced its environmental footprint by using resources more efficiently. Cotton Incorporated is committed to the continuous improvement and implementation of best practices to further improve responsible cotton production. For more information, please visit cottontoday.cottoninc.com.


Modern production practices allow cotton growers to achieve high levels of soil conservation and input efficiencies that increase yields (43%) and reduce production costs. Soil loss has been reduced by 68% in the last 30 years.


Cotton is drought-tolerant. Globally, cotton only accounts for 3% of the world’s agricultural water use. About 64% of U.S. cotton is produced by naturally occurring rainfall. Compared to the 1980’s, irrigation water use has declined 75% in the U.S.


Cotton has a neutral greenhouse gas footprint when accounting for the carbon sequestered in the fiber, plant, and soil during production. The amount of CO2 removed by cotton plants worldwide is equivalent to taking over 7 million cars off the road.


Cotton is energy positive. The energy needed to grow the plant is less than the energy stored in the cottonseed. Stored energy can be captured directly, such as biodiesel or other biofuels, or indirectly as feed for dairy cows. Energy use per pound of cotton has decreased 31% in the U.S since 1980.


Pesticides enable farmers to stabilize yields and produce an abundant and affordable supply of food and fiber. In the U.S., there has been a 50% reduction in the number of insecticide applications over the last 25 years.


Cotton is a 100% natural cellulose fiber. Under backyard compositing conditions, cotton wipes biodegrade more than 95% in four weeks. Under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, cotton wipes biodegrade 100% in four weeks.

Sources. Field To Market: The Keystone Alliance For Sustainable Agriculture, 2012 Report;
              ASTM D-6400 (composting); NSF International Labs, Flushability Guidelines 513.1 and 514.1.


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