Growing Up Green: Making Infants' Summer Sustainable

By Radha Mishra

June 28, 2024 at 7:45 PM

Baby clothing and footwear arranged on a wooden rack

Embrace eco-conscious parenting with our adorable selection of infant clothes

The best thing for my husband and me was welcoming our child. It filled our hearts with immense pleasure and enthusiasm. We began our never-ending shopping spree to make everything around him super comfy. We wanted his little world, from toys to building a nursery, to be perfect. And the most fun part remains: dressing him up.

As each day passes, there's a certain thrill to donning an infant in the cutest outfits possible. However, amidst all this excitement, it's easy to overlook a significant concern—the problem of waste generated by infant clothing.

Despite their small size, these garments contribute enormously to environmental pollution. The amount of clothing discarded during a child's early years is staggering. The world generally produces 92 million tons of textile waste annually, with China (20 million tons) and the US (17 million tons). And those cute tiny clothes play a significant role in piling up this waste.

Clothing and textiles currently account for at least 7% of the waste in global landfills. Only 20% of discarded textiles are collected, and only 1% of clothes are recycled into new garments.

If we talk about just one country, research by Mothercare and Hubbub shows that 183 million items of outgrown baby clothes sit unused in UK homes. The study estimates that a typical British family spends £11,000 yearly on children's wear. One-third of British parents have discarded their children's outgrown clothes because they don't know what to do with them.

Several factors contribute to the massive amount of infant clothes waste. Babies undergo rapid growth spurts, meaning they do not fit into a particular size for over a few months. The unnecessary focus on baby fashion intensifies parents' urge to buy new clothes.

Moreover, fast fashion has created a culture of disposable clothing. Everything is so cheap and handy that people frequently stuff their wardrobes. Marketing gimmicks often compel parents to buy excessive clothing, worsening the issue.

What can we do about it?

Fortunately, with growing awareness, parents are seeking sustainable choices. Many of them are willing to take steps. New parents, like us, also know the effects of fast fashion and how these cheap clothes aren't a good choice for the new baby. But it was quite a challenge for us to figure out where to start. Based on my research, these are suggestions for going green while adorning your little ones this summer.

●     First, be mindful of every purchase you make. Think twice or even thrice before buying an item. Is the fabric good? Will it last? Is it comfortable? Have a checklist of questions ready. Buy only when all your criteria are met. Embrace the charm of ethical baby fashion.

●     Learn more about fabrics and their environmental impact. If not us, then who will? It's about the future of the babies we are raising. Accordingly, have a list of fabrics you would love your child to wear and a list of materials you would like to avoid. This will simplify the shopping process.

●    Look for quality eco-friendly baby clothes that will last. Also, opt for garments made from organic cotton. Conventional cotton farming heavily uses pesticides and water. Pick the adorable organic summer baby outfits for the perfect blend of comfort and style.

●     Choose gender-neutral items. When your child outgrows them, it can be shared widely. Start building a zero-waste wardrobe with sustainable clothing options.

●   Look for a unique way of styling every piece. Accessories or different outfit combinations can add variation without needing a new outfit. A neutral base also encourages easier future sharing or resale. Equip your child for any weather with a climate-resilient kids' clothing collection.

●     Embrace second-hand and vintage items. Keep items you bought for future babies, family, and friends if space allows. This will help reduce waste significantly and add a unique family story to your child's wardrobe. Wrap your baby in love and sustainability with recycled baby clothes.

●   Support sustainable brands. Look for sellers prioritizing eco-friendly materials, fair labour practices, and transparent supply chains. Choose eco-conscious baby apparel crafted with mindful production practices.

●   If you have options, try subscription-based services for babies. These services allow parents to have countless high-quality options without buying them. Go for sustainable kids' fashion designed to inspire and protect the planet.

●     If your clothing gets damaged, try to repair it first. You can also repurpose old clothing into something new, like a bedsheet or quilt, and keep it as a memory forever.

●     If you have clothing that you no longer wear, consider donating it.

As awareness grows, so does the demand for sustainable infant clothing. Even by taking a few minor steps, we can significantly reduce waste and contribute to a healthier planet. The following are some helpful hacks that can help reduce the environmental footprint.

For my family, quality over quantity works best. We also go a size or two bigger. The loose fit doesn't hurt the baby initially, and he can wear the clothes longer. Also, we try styling every piece of clothing differently, which avoids having a lot while offering a different look each time.

By consciously choosing the clothing we purchase, our kids look cute and learn healthy consumerism from a young age. After all, ensuring a sustainable future starts with the tiniest steps.

Radha Mishra
Radha Mishra

Radha Mishra is a seasoned journalist with over a decade of newsroom experience. Now working independently, she is passionate about covering issues that matter. She strives to deliver accurate and impactful stories to audiences globally.

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