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Cotton vs. oil spills

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is promoting the use of natural-fibre products s...


The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is promoting the use of natural-fibre products such as cotton for mopping up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The association argues that cotton and cotton byproducts provide crucial benefits over synthetic materials such as polypropylene in recovering oil from the ocean. “Cotton fiber can absorb about 40 times its weight in oil, whereas currently-used synthetics have a capacity of 10 to 20 times their weight,” says the ASABE in a press release.
The association also points out that oil absorbed by cotton, along with the cotton itself, will degrade naturally in the environment.
As of April 1 there were 8 million bales of cotton and cleaned lint waste in storage in the U.S.