Efficient Jeans: Those Made With Organic Cotton Or Hemp

Efficient jeans are still hard to find. Conventionally grown cotton requires more pesticides to grow than any other crop. The more efficient method is to grow organic cotton or hemp. The surf company Reef makes some good organic cotton jeans, like their Heritage Jeans (shown above), their Philosopher Jeans and Heritage Cords. The outdoor clothing company Patagonia offers organic cotton jeans. Hemp is the most optimal material with which to make jeans, but few hemp jeans are available. You can find some at Hempest.

Comments

  1. says

    Is organic actually efficient? It takes a lot more land to yield the same amount of organic crop. Organic crops are inefficient in their use of land. Perhaps there is a middle ground where there is an efficient use of land and a minimal use of pesticides? Are pesticides as big of a deal when it’s for crop that aren’t entering the food chain? They aren’t to me anyway.

  2. JT says

    Matt:

    Organic crops are efficient because they are actually sustainable, whereas conventional methods are not.

    Side-effects of conventional production that are avoided in organic growing methods include:

    - High levels of agrochemicals are used in the production of non-organic, conventional cotton. Cotton production uses more chemicals per unit area than any other crop and accounts in total for 16% of the world’s pesticides.

    -The chemicals used in the processing of cotton pollute the air and surface waters.

    -Residual chemicals may irritate consumers’ skin.

  3. says

    No no no no no.
    Water.
    Cotton farming is what drained the Aral Sea.
    We cannot afford to use water for anything other than drinking and growing crops. We have to find efficient crops that use less water than cotton.

  4. cephoe says

    Hemp is really the long-term solution. It requires much less water than cotton to grow. It also doesn’t require pesticides.

  5. ek says

    What is meant by “more efficient”? What are your metrics?

    “In 2006, Wal-Mart launched the Sustainable Textile Network to look into the garment supply chain and, more recently, the brand’s supplier scorecard rates seven of its key suppliers on the following – energy efficiency, water use, chemical inputs, recycling and reuse, social responsibility and packaging.”
    via: http://www.cottoninc.com/cotton-sustainability-conference-10-07/

  6. JT says

    Efficient – the Reef Jeans for example are sustainably produced and affordable. Average jeans – made conventional cotton – pounds of pesticides to produce. Not efficient.

    More efficient jeans would be dyed without toxic chemicals (i.e. indigo dyed). I will be reviewing some naturally-dyed indigo jeans soon. Ideally, I would assess each product’s entire lifecycle. However, this information is not yet available from most companies.

    Justin

  7. ek says

    Thus, my question of your metrics for “efficiency.” I’m sure a quick search would yield actual production data on inputs ie gallons of water per pound of harvested product, etc. Simple implication that less pesticides = efficient does not paint a complete picture. More fuel and human labor may be required to irrigate, remove pests, weed etc.

    I’m no expert on cotton production, but organic vegetable crops require higher inputs in some form, so it would be nice to determine what baselines you’re speaking from. If the green movement is to flourish, there’s nothing like data to support our assertions that these methods are indeed better.

  8. cephoe says

    More stats and analysis would indeed be nice. But I’m sure others would be better suited at providing this.

    If someone where to publish a more comprehensive list of the most efficient jeans, I would incorporate it into my research. Most of the time I perform a meta-analysis of published information.

  9. Mischa says

    Definitely efficient for the Earth but for some reason the prices are out of control. Hmmmm… maybe if we could actually GROW the Hemp here, as it is FAR removed from marijuana, (the old saying is you could smoke the whole 10 foot plant and not get high) we could get the prices down on these, create jobs, and put more oxygen in the atmosphere. Of course there is much ignorance to overcome and we are running out of time. Legalize HEMP! If you can sell the jeans here, why does the Hemp need to be grown in Hungry or China?

    PS the original Levi’s were Hemp just like many things in the country.

  10. Holly says

    Isn’t Reef the brand that holds Miss Reef contests and used to run the ads with faceless female bums? So, it’s o.k. to be sustainable and sexist?!

  11. Mark says

    The cotton fiber is naturally softer than hemp. That is why levi’s switched to cotton. To make hemp as soft as cotton require more fiber processing and then your efficiency goes out the window. By the way, pot and hemp are identical plants there is NO difference between them. Hemp is the stem and fiber parts, pot is the flower. If I remember correctly, the British found that trying to improve the quality of hemp fibers (used for canvas sails) seemed to lead to an increase in concentration of THC in the flowers…

  12. Mischa says

    You do not remember correctly. The Hemp fiber is naturally stronger than cotton. With modern techniques, hybrid micro-woven fabrics can be supple and strong and incorporate a great deal of Hemp which is much more efficient to grow. Pot is NOT the same as hemp. Yes they are the same species but different varieties. Hemp has less than 1% THC. The strains good for fiber or oil are quite different than the compact varieties used for medicinal THC, which are upwards of 15% THC and do not provide much stem. You could smoke the entire 10 foot tall Hemp plant and not feel any effects from the THC… the equivalent of “near beer”… unfortunately a 0% Hemp strain has not been perfected yet which would prevent the DEA from killing US Industrial Hemp farms that this country was founded upon. For more information on Hemp, the most useful industrial plant that is kept illegal to protect the profits of several other industries, ie oil, petrochemicals, petroplastics, paper, textile, pharmaceuticals, etc., you can educate yourself at .

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