Cotton: History & Statistics

Cotton: History & Statistics, by EcoGoodz, a wholesale used clothing supplier

Cotton Facts & Figures by EcoGoodz, a wholesale used clothing supplier

Cotton. We wear it, use it, eat it. but how much do we really know about it?

The earliest known cotton dates back to nearly 6000 BCE, meaning that humans have cultivated and utilized cotton for about 8000 years. Evidence of ancient cotton has been found in India and Mexico.

Today cotton is cultivated globally. In 2014, total global production of cotton amounted to some 115.92 million bales–that’s 57,960,000,000 pounds of cotton! China is the top producer on the world stage. In 2014 China produced  7.2 million short tons (6.5 million metric tons) of cotton. India was the second largest producer with an output of 7.1 million tons (6.4 million metric tons). The United States is the world’s third largest producer of cotton with 3.9 million tons (3.6 million metric tons) of cotton produced in 2014. Texas is the number one cotton-producing state in the US, with an annual production of 4.5 million bales.


One bale of cotton weighs about 500 lbs and can make:

  • 215 Jeans
  • 249 Bed Sheets
  • 409 men’s sport shirts
  • 690 terry bath towels
  • 765 men’s dress shirts
  • 1217 men’s t-shirts
  • 1256 pillowcases
  • 2104 boxer shorts
  • 2419 men’s briefs
  • 3085 diapers
  • 4321 mid-calf socks
  • 6436 women’s knit briefs
  • 21,960 women’s handkerchiefs
  • 313,600 $100 bills

Cotton is recyclable. According to Wikipedia:

Recycled cotton is often combined with recycled plastic bottles to make clothing and textiles, creating very sustainable, earth-conscious products. Recycled cotton can also be used in industrial settings as polishing and wiper cloths and can even be made into new, high-quality paper. When reduced to its fibrous state, cotton can be used for applications like seat stuffing or home and automotive insulation. It is also sold as recycled cotton yarn for consumers to create their own items. Additionally, cotton waste can be made into a stronger, more durable paper than traditional wood-pulp based paper, which may contain high concentration of acids. Cotton paper is often used for important documents and also for bank notes since it does not wear off as easily. Cotton waste can also be used to grow mushrooms (particularly the indoor cultivation of Volvariella volvacea otherwise known as Straw Mushrooms).

Even though recycling cotton cuts down on the harsh process of creating brand new cotton products, it is a natural fiber and is biodegradable, so any cotton fibers that cannot be recycled or used further can be composted and will not take up space in landfills.

The next time you pull on your favorite pair of jeans, or use a cotton swab, we hope you remember some of these awesome facts about cotton!


EcoGoodz is a wholesale used clothing supplier located in the Pacific Northwestern United States. We specialize in supplying credential clothing, mixed rags. paired shoes, and more. Our efforts have helped to keep millions of pounds of used clothing items out of landfills. For more information about our company, or to inquire about the pricing and availability of any of our products, please contact us.