5 Reasons Cotton Is the Worst for the Environment

Today I received an email from Reformation that was super effective and a bit of a wake up call. Here’s what it said.

Today is Earth Day, and there’s something you should know:

Cotton is kinda the worst

Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. Out of all the crops in the world, cotton is the most pesticide-dependent
  2. Cotton consumes 11% of the world’s pesticides
  3. And 24% of the world’s insecticides
  4. Even though it is only grown on 2.4% of the world’s farmed land
  5. It takes 500 gallons of water to produce a cotton sweatshirt

Don’t go into a tailspin: there is an option that is kind to our planet and still amazing to wear. Tencel is a sustainable fiber made from 100% reneweable, biodegradable wood pulp. It uses no pesticides or insecticides and is manufactured in a closed-loop system, which means all the excess materials are put back into the manufacturing process. Also it is amazingly soft and makes a killer sweatshirt.

Fashion is the second largest user of water after agriculture.

A cotton sweatshirt takes 500 gallons of water, and Reformation’s Tencel sweatshirt only takes 12 gallons of water to produce.

But wait, hold the phone

Reformation’s Tencel sweatshirt is cute and all, but the price is a whopping $118 dollars. As riveting as those cotton facts are I just don’t see myself spending $118 on a sweatshirt – and I’m just guessing neither do you. So what’s a fashion-loving woman to do with this newfound cotton knowledge?

I’m no Earth Day poster girl but I try to remember to reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible. I think that first one is key here. I try to reduce my consumption by shopping less, which in and of itself has many other benefits (saving money, finding other more useful ways to spend time, having less stuff when I move apartments, enjoying a cleaner and more spacious room and closet, the list goes on).

So on this Earth Day if you have the means to buy a $118 pizza sweatshirt from Reformation then by all means, do it! All profits will go to an organization called Treepeople and it’s made from 100% tencel. But if you don’t have the means, then maybe just do your part by buying less stuff this month. That’s what I hope to do.


Cristina V. Cleveland

Cristina V. Cleveland is a senior beauty editor based in Austin, TX. She has been exploring personal style and decor on Fuji Files since 2009. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, To&From Magazine, Coco+Kelley, CamilleStyles and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.

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Rather than pushing up-to-the-minute trends and products, Fuji Files is about discovering a lasting, personal aesthetic and the journey to feeling your personal best. 

Fuji Files was started by Cristina Cleveland, the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly, the largest hair and beauty content platform. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Teen Vogue, CamilleStyles, Blavity, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, Coco+Kelley, and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.