Washcloths, hand towels, bath towels: pesticides, bleaches, and dyes. The journey from the cotton field to the towel rack leaves a pretty large and cavernous footprint. Not only does towel manufacturing put harmful chemicals in our soil and waterways, the pesticide-heavy cotton business has long been associated with child labor abuses in Egypt and other areas. Additionally, according to the Consumer Foundation, the same chemicals that threaten wildlife and aquatic life through runoff pose serious harm to human health when towels are used before laundering.
Greenies know choosing bathroom linens means more than just picking out colors. Towels made from organic or sustainable fabrics don't require the heavy chemical use that conventional crops do, which means our soil and water is left untainted and harvesting the plants is a much safer process for workers. Likewise, towels made from sustainably harvested natural fibers typically come from resources that are rapidly renewable. Ultimately, buying eco-friendly towels helps you go green because fewer chemicals are used in farming and manufacturing, which means you're effectively combating global warming! So the next time you're in the market for new towels, choose unbleached, undyed cotton or 100 percent organic bamboo or hemp towels dyed with low-impact vegetable dyes.
GREENER TOWEL OPTIONS
Native Organic Cotton: This California-based company sells 100 percent certified organic, US-grown cotton face, hand, and bath towels that are woven in earth tones and free of dyes. Native Organic Cotton contracts with American farmers in order to deliver staple organic Pima cotton products directly to the consumer without a middle man.
Earthsake: As the very first retailer of natural fiber organic mattresses and bedding, Earthsake is a trusted source when seeking health- and earth-safe bathroom towels. Their pure, all natural, 100 percent certified, US-grown organic cotton towels come in a wide range of fabrics, textures, and colors. Each is woven with ring spun yarns that are chemical-, softener-, formaldehyde-, and silicone-free. Meeting the highest standards for certified organic cotton by GOTS and USDA, Earthsake branded towels are not only pure, they're sourced from small organic farms in California and Texas . This extra measure creates a smaller carbon footprint and supports local economy.
Earth Linens: What could be better than drying off with sensually soft towels that are not only naturally hypoallergenic and odor resistant, but made of 100 percent bamboo viscose?! At Earth Linens, you can “indulge yourself in luxury” with a Bamboo Towel Set by Pure Fiber and know your purchase is beneficial for the environment and your body.
Gaiam: Gaiam's Thick & Thirsty Towels are made from premium, long-staple, 100 percent organic cotton that's chlorine- and softener-free. Not only are these towels plush and fluffy, they're available in multiple colors that are created with low, eco-impact dyes.
Wildflower Organics: A natural blend of 25 percent certified organic cotton and 75 percent plantation-grown bamboo, Nandina Bamboo towels are not only hypoallergenic, they are resistant to odor, mold, mildew, and bacteria! The great thing about these bamboo towels is that they're ultra-soft, extremely absorbent, and they dry quickly between uses. Additionally, bamboo towels come from fast-growing, pesticide-free plants with natural antibacterial properties. Nandina Bamboo towels, specifically, are certified free of harmful substances and are created using low-impact or organic dyes.
Rawganique: Made from an organically-grown European hemp combination, Rawganique's towels are another sustainable choice, since hemp is grown with very few pesticides and is naturally resistant to mold and mildew. Additionally, hemp can absorb 150 percent of its weight in water! Rawganique's bathroom towels are sweatshop-free, and contain 65 percent hemp and 35 percent organic cotton terry.
(Towel photos: Earthsake.com)