Byproducts of Cotton

August 7, 2018 11:28 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Cotton has been cultivated and used to make products for at least 7,000 years. Archeologists have found pieces of cotton fabrics throughout the world, dating as far back as 12,000 BC. Cotton fabrics aren’t the only use of cotton, though, and more uses are being found each and every day. Cotton production in West Texas uses most of the byproducts cotton creates, even what’s left over after production. Here’s a closer look at how cotton is so much more than just a fiber source:

  • Cottonseed: Cotton production in West Texas may focus on using the fiber in apparel and home textiles, but the cottonseed is also used in a variety of ways. For starters, it is used for high-quality feed for cows. Cottonseed can also be pressed and turned into cottonseed oil. Cotton is regulated as a food crop by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because of its byproducts. Cottonseed oil can be used by the commercial food industry, in cosmetics and even in medical applications.
  • Linters: The fuzz left after cotton production in West Texas is called linters. They have a variety of industrial uses. The longer fibers of linters can be used in medical supplies, while the shorter fibers are used in items like gunpowder, cotton balls and even x-ray film. In this way, even the leftover cotton is used in a positive way.
  • Hydromulch: A surprising use of cotton is a new all-natural cotton-fiber mulch that helps control soil erosion until grass or other vegetation can take root. Cotton production in West Texas results in a lot of bio-mass each year. Now, it’s being turned into spray mulch that helps absorb adequate amounts of moisture, so vegetation can more quickly take root. It also helps keep wind and rain from eroding the soil.
  • Packaging material: It’s not just mulch—cotton in West Texas is also helping create environmentally responsible packaging material. The process to turn the leftover agricultural waste, including cotton burrs, creates a mushroom material that is put into molds. The material then takes the form of the mold and is used to protect things like sensitive computer hard drives.
  • Wall Covering: Cotton isn’t just used for its ability to absorb water. It’s also good at absorbing heat and sound. For this reason, cotton in West Texas can also be used in sustainable wall finish. The wall finish helps provide extra insulation and sound protection, thanks in large part to the cotton inside it. It’s not just effective—it’s also environmentally friendly, with a low carbon footprint.

For more than 70 years, M.B. McKee Company, Inc. has served cotton farmers and the cotton industry in West Texas. Our knowledgeable staff is happy to answer any questions you may have about cotton or cotton byproducts. Our products are all high quality, and we’re ready to help you install or repair anything that breaks down. Stop by or give us a call. We’re more than happy to help you with any questions you may have!

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