The Mindful Journal

sustainable fabrics

The Problem With Cotton


Cotton is one of the most popular fabrics used today – if not the most popular – with roughly 20 million tons being produced each year! It is safe to assume that you are never too far away from an item made of cotton! As well as being used to produce a wide range of clothing items, cotton is also used in things like furniture and household items.

To truly understand how popular cotton is, and why this is the case, let’s take a look at some statistics:

  • In 2013 more than 82 million tons of textile fibres were manufactured and used, with cotton accounting for approximately 30% of this figure.
  • Cotton can absorb more than 20 times its bodyweight in water, meaning it can be dyed easily.
  • In order to make just one shirt that is 100% cotton, 0.23kg of the fabric is required.
  • In order to make just one bath towel that is 100% cotton, 0.28kg of the fabric is required.

Where Does Cotton Come From?

Cotton grows as an annual crop from a perennial tree. The large majority of cotton is picked from the plants by hand, with just a third of picking being done by machines. It is estimated that one worker will be able to pick up to 30kg of cotton each day.

With the cost of labour increasing in many parts of the world, more farmers are being pushed to invest in mechanical picking. This type of picking is currently most popular in Greece, Spain, Turkey, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina.

The Problem with Cotton

Cotton accounts for between 10% and 20% of all insecticides used for all crops. It is also responsible for between 5% and 10% of all pesticide use. When we consider that less than 3% of all agricultural land in the world is used for growing cotton, then we can see how high the ratio of chemicals to crops is!

Insecticides are a type of pesticide specifically used to target insects, whereas pesticides are chemicals used to deter all pests from crops, and kill them if necessary.

The large amounts of toxic chemicals that are used to manage and mitigate the risk from all pests during cotton production is problematic for several reasons.

First of all, the pesticides go on to contaminate the soil, which will then run through to nearby water sources.

Secondly, pests can develop resistance to these chemicals over time, which then leads to stronger pesticides having to be created. Also, these chemicals can be harmful to the natural enemies of the pests that are being targeted. This seriously disrupts the ecosystem and can cause new problems to arise in terms if which pests the crops need protecting from!

Furthermore, cotton requires massive amounts of water during cultivation. In addition to being incredibly taxing on natural resources, over-watering an area can also decrease the quality of the soil.

Cotton and Climate Change

Industrial fertilisers are often required in order to adequately grow cotton, and the energy required to do so is responsible for between 1 and 2% of the world’s annual energy consumption. The amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere during these processes is certainly a cause for concern when it comes to climate change!

Moving on from Cotton

Increasing the prevalence of sustainable fabrics is one way that we can move on from cotton and embrace more environmentally friendly farming practices and fabrics.

At PAMA London we believe that using recycled charcoal bamboo for clothing production is a much better option than cotton. Click here to read more about our fabric choices and how the planet and the wearer can benefit from making this choice!

PAMA London Logo

Read more →

Bamboo Around The World


As you will know from having checked out our versatile range of activewear, we use recycled charcoal bamboo as the main component of our fabric. The use of charcoal bamboo means that our clothes are lightweight, extremely breathable, water repellent and also anti-odour.

We are certainly not the first to realise the impressive potential that bamboo has, and it can be observed in use around the globe for a wide variety of purposes.

Today we want to take a look at the different ways that bamboo is being used throughout the world, and in doing so, honour this impressive plant!


In Chinese medicine*, some components of the bamboo plant are used to help treat diseases that afflict the kidneys. There are also reports of bamboo leaves being used to help treat certain cancers and venereal diseases.

Due to its antibacterial properties, bamboo is useful for treating ulcers and wounds. Furthermore, it can also help to settle the stomach when indigestion or other digestive complaints are being experienced.


Bamboo shoots are widely used in Asian cuisine. They are a great source of dietary fibre*, as well as being low in fat and low in calories. There are certain known health benefits of eating bamboo shoots regularly, such as better digestion. It has also been suggested that the powerful antioxidant properties of bamboo shoots could help to protect against cancer.

The culinary uses of bamboo are particularly appreciated in Japan where the skin is used as a natural food preservative. This is possible because of the ability of bamboo to prevent the growth of bacteria. Because of its high potassium content, eating bamboo is also useful for keeping blood pressure at an optimum level.

Humans are not the only ones enjoying the delights and benefits of bamboo as food. The shoots and leaves are a staple for some animals too – such as elephants and pandas!

Roads and Bridges

In India, bamboo is being utilised to reinforce existing roads and in China bamboo has been used to build entire bridges. It is reported that vehicles up to 16 tons in weight can drive safely across these bridges!*


More than a billion people already live in houses made of bamboo! UNESCO state that 1000 houses can be made from 70 hectares of bamboo – a massively lower amount than if conventional timber was to be used to make the same number of houses.

During the construction of other buildings, bamboo can also be used to make scaffolding. It is often preferred in the place of metal scaffolding because it is cheaper and easier to obtain.


Whether your house is made from bamboo or not, there is nothing stopping you kitting it out with some beautiful bamboo furniture.

Around the globe you can find wonderfully crafted pieces of furniture for every room in your house. Bamboo furniture is not only eco-friendly, but is also very durable and hardy too!

You can also find rugs made of bamboo that will give be a natural and stylish addition to your home. Also, even the utensils and other items in your kitchen can be made from this impressive material, from your cups and your plates to your forks, spoons and more!

Choose Bamboo!

As you can now see, there are plentiful uses for bamboo, and certainly even more than we have listed here!

Choosing to buy bamboo products, whether it be furniture, clothing or anything else is an environmentally conscious choice! Bamboo takes up less space and requires less resources and labour to cultivate than many traditional materials. You can click here to read more about alternative sustainable fabrics!

Read more →

Namaste Journal



abundance active wear activewear addiction alcohol animal agriculture anxiety art art therapy asanas ayurveda baking soda balance bamboo beef bhujangasana bow pose breathing broccoli calcium carbon footprint chakras charcoal bamboo chemicals children cleaning climate change Clothing clothing industry conical hats cotton creative Crude oil dho mukha svanasana diet dopamine drawing dumbbells earth eco-friendly emotional endorphins energy Environment environmentally friendly exercise fahsio fahsion fairtrade farming fashion fashion industry fatigue fertility financial fitness flexibility food food production fossil fuels gym happiness headstand pose healing health health eating healthy eating healthy living hemp hormones india industrial insecticides intention kilt kimono lamb lentils linen lyocell magnesium meditation mental health mindfulness muscles natural fibres natural resources natural world nutrition nylon organic organic cotton organic fabrics painting peace pesticides pilates planet planet earth plastic pollution polyester population posture pranayama prosperity recycling relationships relaxation renewable energy renwable energy reproductive root chakra sacral chakra sari self-care spiritual sportswear strength stress stress relief style sustainable sustainable fabrics sustainable fashion tadasana The Chakras The Crown Chakra The Heart Chakra The Root Chakra The Sacral Chakra The Solar Plexus Chakra The Third Eye Chakra The Throat Chakra tirumalai krishnamacharya vistaminB12 visualisation vitamin B6 vitamin D weight loss weightlifting women's fashion workout yoga yogic teachings

Follow Your Intentions

The first part of namaste comes from "namaha," a Sanskrit verb that originally meant "to bend." Bending is a sign of submission to authority or showing some respect to some superior entity." Over time, "namaha" went from meaning "to bend" to meaning "salutations" or "greetings." The "te" in namaste means "to you," Deshpande says. So all together, namaste literally means "greetings to you." In the Vedas, namaste mostly occurs as a salutation to a divinity.