Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why buy organic?
A: When certified organic items, from food to yarn, are grown without the cancer causing chemicals or added GMOs that come with conventional crops it makes our environment the way it should be as it was before the industrial revolution and before big agriculture. The less chemicals in our environment and in our bodies the better chance the human race has to survive. According to the Organic Trade Association organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming. All cotton sold as organic in the United States must meet strict federal regulations covering how the cotton is grown.
Q: How do I know what I am buying is really organic, green, recycled or sustainable?
A: The organic, green and sustainable movement has begun to gain more and more popularity, and more companies are seeing the financial benefit of advertising themselves as eco-friendly even though they are not. There are many businesses that are making a true effort to be green, not just those who are advertising it and really don't care. Doing a little research before you buy and knowing what constitutes as an organic, green & sustainable product will help consumers with their search. Always ask questions.....the more the better. We can't stress this enough. This usually weeds out the people trying to cash in on the green movement for a fast buck. The people that really care will be obvious.
Q: Are all the items sold on ecobutterfly Vegan?
A: About 99% of all the products sold on ecobutterfly.com are indeed Vegan. The only exceptions are naturally finished wood & bamboo accessories which contain bee's wax (from a Vegetarian bee keeper!) & some of the Kusikuy veggie dyed chunky hand spun cotton yarn. Most of the colors come from a plant source except the colors in the red family (They will be noted when listed... examples are red, pink, purple etc). The red hue comes from a tiny insect called Cochineal. The insects are gathered from cacti and dried in the sun. This is a Peruvian native tradition both for the color & controlling cacti infestations. Cochineal infestations kill off the cacti host if no intervention is made. Based on this we feel that natural color is a much better alternative to petroleum & chemical based dyes. We wanted to provide detailed information so that you could make your own informed decision. Just like some Vegans eat and use honey & bee's wax, there are always sensible exceptions to the rules.
Q: Will there ever be a possible substitute for or another Vegan option beyond Cochineal in the future?
A: Currently we are working with the Peruvian dye house for the possibility of using Madder in place of Cochineal. Madder is a botanical root that can naturally dye cotton fiber reds, oranges, pinks, etc. We hope that the Madder dyed fiber will be available in the near future. We are working hard to make that happen.
Q: Why don't we sell bamboo yarn?
A: When we did the research for the products on our website we decided that certified organic cotton yarns were the purest eco~friendly choice available. Since we wanted to be Vegan friendly, wool wasn't an option and neither was most silk. There is Peace silk that is made from cocoons naturally discarded by the silkworm moth, BUT this is a questionable practice as well. We considered hemp and will probably carry more of it in the future since it is a very "Green" yarn. Even though bamboo is natural, sustainable & plant based we found out that it must go through a harsh chemical process to evolve into a synthetic yarn and then again to be conventionally dyed. Think of a hard stalk of bamboo compared to the silky end result when it is processed into yarn. That is a huge leap compared to a puff of cotton picked off a tree. Bamboo in itself is a bit better product compared with man made fiber yarns and that is a step in the right direction, BUT it still isn't a very good substitute. We wanted people to know that if they shop our website they are getting what is truly a natural wonder in the world of organic fiber and this awesome concept was enough for us to make a hard decision to stick with our very eco ideas about what Ecobutterfly Organics should be all about. Organic Cotton is the ideal.
Q: Why can companies claim that bamboo yarn fibers are "natural & sustainable"?
A: They can't. Even though bamboo starts off as green and very sustainable the process in which it is made into yarn or fabric is highly toxic. It is no longer a natural fiber compared to cotton, hemp, linen, wool etc. It is basically a manmade chemically processed rayon. You could liken the process to fishing wire in a sense. Though many companies were and still are boasting that bamboo fibers are "natural" in reality they aren't. A government agency just started to crack down on these claims among others, including an anti-bacterial claim that no one has proven after the bamboo is processed. Please read the link below. The OCA posted exactly why processed rayon bamboo is not natural. This always reminds me about a conversation I had with an organic cotton fiber company in Peru not long ago. I wanted to try and have a cotton/hemp yarn made, but hemp and other like fibers were not offered. They did however offer rayon bamboo as a possibility. I asked them if they knew how toxic the bamboo processing was and they said "unfortunately we know how bad it is". Enough said!
Q: Why don't we sell corn or soy yarn?
A: Soy and corn go through the same harsh process as bamboo, BUT what makes them worse is that the crop remnants used to make the yarn is Genetically Modified (GMO). A very small percentage of all soy and corn are grown and certified organic which guarantees they are not GMO. They are more costly because they are not grown in mass production. Conventional corn and soy are being grown in epidemic proportions due to High Fructose Corn Syrup alone and it can and has wiped out organic crops just due to proximity and wind (GMO pollen drift). Once the pollen from the conventional crop drifts and then mixes with the organic crop it can no longer be organic. GMOs are not only destroying organic crops, but they are not fit for human consumption either. We just found out recently that when the Monarch Butterfly population migrates they land on milkweed plants (their food of choice) dusted by conventional corn pollen on the edges of corn fields and sometimes soybean fields as well. When they feed on the dusted milkweed the toxin in the pollen interferes with their breeding cycle killing their potential offspring.
If you would like to read more about this go to:
Monarch Butterflies are so delicate and beautiful and these GMO crops are killing them. If you are a Vegan or not, knitting with and eating conventional corn and soy is severely detrimental not only to Monarch butterlies but to people. The Monarch is just an indicator of the kind of damage the human race could face.
Q: Why is PCW (Post Consumer Waste) Paper and biodegradable packaging important?
A: It isn't enough just to sell eco-friendly products, but the packaging is just as important for the environment. We use paper, card stock, wrapping, labels, paper binders and boxes with 100% PCW content/hemp fiber and more importantly reused shipping material. Just using recyclable materials is not enough anymore. 100% PCW means that no trees were chopped down to make these products. Some items are not available 100% PCW yet so we either do without them or get the highest PCW on the market until a better product is available. We constantly research to make sure we can get the best available. We never use plastic. It isn't necessary now with the advent of sustainable cellulose fiber. This does not include PLA made from GMO corn. The only corn product we know of to date not using GMO corn is Bio Bag. Most companies around the world are still using new plastic and it is killing sea life where a good percentage of our plastic garbage ends up...in the ocean. We wanted the ability to take an order and package it knowing that if that package fell off a truck in the middle of nowhere that the whole package & the contents would biodegrade fairly quickly as if it never existed at all, while doing no damage to the earth in the process. That is a very good thing!
Q: Why is green packaging marked "Natural" & "Made with Plants" or "Plant Based" not a good thing (Excluding Bio Bag of course!)?
A:Green washing is an unfortunate fact of life, particularly in the bio plastic packaging sector. If we can give some insight into the problem areas of this type of green business then people would have a chance to make better choices through their own continued research. We have found that when a packaging company makes claims about natural plant based goods, it will almost always mean using Genetically Modified (GMO) vegetable matter that comes from GMO crop remnants that continue to cause major destruction to our food supply and our environment as a whole. This hurts every living thing, from Monarch Butterflies to Human Beings. Research is just beginning to show how GMOs affect and cause disease in the human body. If we continue down this path it will only get worse for all of us. If a company uses GMO vegetable matter in the name of green they are only supporting the need to plant more GMO crops causing so much more damage. They will also make claims that the packaging itself is GMO free, but that is far from the point. The origin is the point and if it is not organic plant matter it is GMO. That is not Green at all. In fact, that is deception. A good analogy would be a clothing company trying to convince a Vegetarian or Vegan to buy a leather jacket and telling them that the jacket is no longer a suffering animal so it is alright to buy it now. Unfortunately that animal already suffered for that jacket, and more animals will continue to suffer as long as people continue to support the need for a leather jacket. That is why it is so vital to ask questions..... Do not always believe what you read....... AND always vote with your wallet or purse. Only then will the cycle of green washing begin to break.
Q: Why Fair Trade?
A: This is so very important. We know that yarns can have a wide range of pricing and many factors can effect certain yarns including valid certifications. Our yarn comes from Peru. We sell only Fair Trade organic cotton yarn because slave labor and child exploitation is not acceptable under any circumstances. The people that process the yarn we offer make a wage well above the Peruvian minimum and work under improved social and environmental standards, particularly due to the growing, processing and weaving of organic cotton fiber. In many cases they name their own price on products they produce. This means pricing of the yarn is higher at the source, but it is well worth it. Our hope is that more companies like Naturtex (Pakucho) follow suit, whether they process yarn or make shoes. It would make for a better world.
Q: Why do we sell Peruvian yarn vs US grown organic cotton yarn? And isn't that less environmentally friendly?
A: As far as our carbon footprint goes, Peruvian Yarn travels less to get to Los Angeles, where we are based, compared to California or Texas grown cotton that would have to travel to the Carolinas for processing and then back to us. No cotton yarn is certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard in the US due to the processes including conventional dyeing. In Peru we are inching closer to being able to GOTS certify our yarn in the very near future. GOTS is the Global Organic Textile Standard which includes meeting the certified organic USDA standard, but for textiles. But probably just as important is that GMO seeds and or crops are not allowed in Peru by strict law. There is no risk of cross contamination which is the way it should be. We have been told that the Peruvian government has been under pressure to allow GMO soy to be imported into their country. Soy does not belong in Peru to begin with and we are hoping that Peru does not give in. When we visited Peru one Summer. We saw and ate the most wonderful native non-GMO corn. It was so amazing and to think that it could be destroyed by introducing GMO seeds of a crop not native to Peru is really frightening. Pricing can be affected at the source for certification processes, but it guarantees how the cotton was grown and processed. This is very necessary when there is so much green washing and misinformation out there right now. And last but not least the native color grown variety, organic plant dyed colors and fine staple of the Peruvian organic cotton offered is amazing in itself.