As an all-natural, biodegradable fiber, Barnhardt cotton goes through a circle of life that begins and ends with the earth. Today, we’ll take a look at each step in this natural life cycle.
Step 1: Growth
Cotton is born from nature’s combination of soil, water, and sunlight. Thanks to innovative cotton farmers and agricultural experts, this is a process that uses relatively few natural resources compared to other crops. For instance, did you know that most U.S. cotton crops survive on rainfall only? In addition, the land required to grow cotton has decreased by nearly 50 percent since 1980, yet crop yields have increased. In short, cotton grows from the earth without damaging it—and still manages to yield a whole lot of goods for us to enjoy!
Unlike synthetic materials like rayon, cotton boasts a simple supply chain. Barnhardt cotton is born and raised here in the USA, so it doesn’t have to travel far to reach our production centers.
Step 2: Purification & Production
At Barnhardt, we’ve spent a century perfecting our cotton purification process. We use only hydrogen peroxide to purify the cotton, making it a totally chlorine-free (TCF) process. Hydrogen peroxide is a naturally occurring, eco-friendly compound produced by both plant and animal cells. Purified cotton fiber is GMO-free after scouring and purification processes.
Once cotton has undergone purification, it is ready to be incorporated into the many consumer products that we rely on. Thanks to Barnhardt cotton’s uncomplicated, homegrown supply chain, cotton will soon reach consumers without requiring much travel or fossil fuels.
Step 3: Household & Industrial Applications
By step three, cotton is ready to be used in a variety of applications. Barnhardt Purified CottonⓇ is a favorite choice in health care, beauty, feminine care, baby care, and nonwovens to name just a few. The one thing all these applications have in common? Comfort and softness. Cotton is preferred for the superior experience that it offers compared to synthetic materials.
The best part is, consumer use isn’t the end of the cotton lifecycle—in fact, you could say that it’s just the beginning!
Step 4: Return to the Earth
Barnhardt Purified CottonⓇ is biodegradable and compostable. In many cases, cotton is also recyclable. That means during this stage, cotton can either be reused—finding a new life in a different household or industrial application—or more commonly, it can return to earth from which it was born.
During decomposition, cotton quickly degrades into materials that improve soil health and nourish the natural environment. Purified cotton only takes about 30 days to biodegrade (or less in managed landfalls).
From beginning to end, the cotton lifecycle is a renewable and sustainable one. Farming, purification, and decomposition are each natural processes that make up this circle of life and rebirth.
If you’d like to learn more about Barnhardt cotton’s circle of life, check out our articles about sustainable cotton farming or visit our page on TCF purification.