Is Your maternity Clothing better Travelled Than You? Cotton
The cotton journey
There are seven unique steps required to process cotton before it can be made into clothing.
the average growing season is 150 to 160 days from planting until harvest. Because cotton is a crop, it requires weed control, insect controls and irrigation. Soil conservation is an issue affecting cotton growth. Wind and water erosion of soil is damaging to the plants stem. Any damage to the stem harms a cotton yield.
The crop must be harvested before weather can damage or completely ruin its quality and reduce yield. Harvesting is done by hands or by machine, different practices are used around the world. The cotton seeds are separated from the crop before being transported to the Gin.
This is where the seed, stalk, stem, leaves, and any other VFM (visual foreign matter) is removed from the cotton. Heat is used to reduce the moisture in the cotton so that it flows through the equipment properly. Cotton is then moved to a warehouse for storage until it's shipped to a textile mill for use.
Once the baled fibre from the gin arrives at the purification plant, the fibres are placed into a vat where they're wet out and pressed into a dense cake. The cakes go into a kier where the oils and waxes are removed by pumping alkali through the cake to achieve the desired absorbency.
After fiber purification, a fiber finish is added to aid in further processing. The fibre is then dried and put into bales, which are used
"The marketing of cotton is a complex operation that includes all transactions involving buying, selling or reselling from the time the cotton is ginned until it reaches the textile mill. Growers usually sell their cotton to a local buyer or merchant after it has been ginned and baled, but if they decide against immediate sale, they can store it and borrow money against it."Textile Value Chain
Conversion into Fabric:
The cotton is combed by a carding machine, which finishes the job of cleaning and straightening the fibers, and makes them into a soft, untwisted rope called a sliver. The Silver is then converted into yarn, by another manufacturing process, and that yarn is what is used to make fabric. Machines called looms weave cotton yarns into fabrics the same way the first hand-weaving frames did
The woven fabric, called gray goods, is sent to a finishing plant where it is bleached, pre-shrunk, dyed, printed and given a special finish. This fabric is then sent to manufacturing pants where it's made into clothing.
That's A lot of Steps!
That's quite the process and there's a lot of travel and energy that goes into the preparation of the cotton before it is even made into clothes.
“A simple cotton T-shirt doesn’t seem so simple when you begin to trace the various steps in the now-standard vast global process from cotton farm to clothing shop.” -Matthew Green
Even before clothing is made it has accumulated a fair amount of land, sea or air miles. Producing a single shirt relies on coordinating an international supply chain. An average t-shirt travels over 39,000 miles to get to North America.
Your cotton T-shirt label may say “made in Cambodia”, but the raw materials came from a different country. Cambodia doesn’t grow cotton. Nor does it spin cotton or even manufacture artificial fibers. Instead, Cambodian factories import textiles from abroad, and make a finished product.
Before your Cambodia-labeled T-shirt leaves Cambodia, the raw materials have already traveled nearly 10,300km (or, 6,200 miles) by sea and rail. - Fast Company
From the farm to the factories, then over the seas to your favourite brands. Your closet has traveled more than you have! Second-hand shrink these KM's dramatically!
THE TAKE AWAY
Secondhand Clothing Isn't travelling far to get to your door.
And you don’t have to worry about the carbon footprint of the raw materials either.
Less travel time, means less carbon emissions.
Try this activity with your kids or with your friends Clothing Map
Where does cotton come from?