01 September 2023

Is calico environmentally friendly?

Is calico environmentally friendly?

Calico, with its unique and vibrant appearance, has gained popularity in the world of fashion and interior design. But does this charming textile hold up when it comes to environmental friendliness? Let's explore the eco credentials of calico. We'll look at the production process, sustainability issues and its impact on the planet.

The Basics of Calico

Calico is a plain woven cotton fabric. It is known for its natural, unbleached and undyed appearance. Its simplicity makes it a versatile material. It can be used in a wide range of applications including clothing, home furnishings and crafts. To assess the environmental friendliness of calico, we need to look at its production process. This starts with the cultivation of the cotton.

Cotton Cultivation and Calico

The environmental footprint of calico starts at the cotton farm. Conventional cotton farming often involves heavy use of pesticides. These can damage ecosystems and contribute to soil degradation. However, some calico producers have adopted more sustainable practices. One such practice is organic cotton farming. Organic cotton is grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, making it a greener choice.

Manufacturing Process

Cotton fibres are spun and woven into a raw, unbleached fabric. Compared to more complex textile processes, producing calico tends to be less resource intensive. What's more, calico typically doesn't go through the bleaching and dyeing processes that many other textiles do. This reduces its environmental impact.

Durability and Longevity

An often overlooked environmental aspect is a product's durability and longevity. Calico's sturdiness and resistance to wear and tear can extend its lifespan. Items made from calico, such as reusable calico shopping bags or curtains, can reduce the need for disposable alternatives. This minimises waste and resource consumption.

Recyclability and Biodegradability

Calico is a natural fiber, which means it is biodegradable. When it finally comes to the end of its life cycle, it will break down naturally, unlike synthetic textiles that can remain in landfill sites for centuries. This characteristic is in line with eco-friendly principles. It reduces the long-term environmental impact of discarded textiles.


In conclusion, calico exhibits several environmentally friendly qualities. From organic farming to minimal processing, calico offers a greener alternative to some textiles. Its durability, recyclability, and biodegradability further contribute to its eco-friendly profile. That's why choosing cotton products from responsible manufacturers is so important. So, when it comes to going green, calico deserves a place in your eco-conscious choices.

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