Shopping sustainably for children's clothing

More and more parents are becoming aware of environmental issues and might want to make more conscious decisions, when shopping for clothing for their children. Here are some tips for when you take your little ones shopping.

Shopping sustainably for children's clothing

One of the most important things to consider when buying children's clothing responsibly is fabric type and certification labels.

Say "no" to microplastic by choosing organic, natural and natural recycled fabrics

Unlike synthetic clothing, natural, natural recycled and certified organic garments are biodegradable and do not rely on petrochemical industries for their raw material. They do not contribute to microplastic pollution. KIMO are an organisation who's mission is to unite local governments, prevent pollution and protect, preserve and enhance the seas and coastal waters of the North-East Atlantic and Baltic regions. KIMO issued a report stating that microplastic pollution from textiles is found in all of the world’s oceans and that emissions are continuing, and concentrations are increasing.

For an average wash load of 6 kg, over 700,000 fibres could be released per wash. These microfibres then travel to local wastewater treatment plants, where up to 40% of them can enter rivers, lakes, and oceans (depending on local wastewater treatment conditions).

Some children skin may also be very sensitive to synthetic materials, and items made from natural and organic fibres like cotton, linen, hemp, etc. might be a good alternative. Since most children are very active, clothing made from natural fabrics is soft and comfortable, and at the same time, durable and breathable.

Check labels for organic certification to avoid "greenwashing"

Clothing made from certified organic textiles is the ultimate level of sustainable clothing on the market at the moment. Textile processing often results in inadequately treated discharge of toxic chemicals into the air and water, as well as hazardous workplace situations.

Due to a lack of government regulations, unlike in the food industry, there are no clear definitions of which textiles can be called "organic" at the moment. This allows some brands to claim their products to be organic. Do not accept self claims - look for a certification! GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification is the highest international ethical and environmental standard for the manufacturing of textiles such as cotton, linen and wool. GOTS prohibits the use of chemicals commonly used in textile processing that can cause cancer, birth defects and other serious illnesses.

Chemicals, like persistent hormone-disrupting substances, also destroy ecosystems and biodiversity on an international scale. GOTS requires that all dyes and auxiliaries are assessed to its strict criteria and approved prior to usage.

To be sure a product is really GOTS-certified, you should be able to see reference to the GOTS label grade, the reference to the independent certification body, and the license number of the certified entity.

GOTS labels are sewn into every garment which has been through a certification process.

What to do when kids grow out of their clothing?

An estimated £140m worth of clothing is sent to UK landfill each year according to WRAP. In a 2019 report by Statista, as much as 336,000 tonnes of clothing ended up in household residual waste in the United Kingdom.

Children grow out of clothing really fast and the best thing any parent could possibly do, is to give the clothing away to friends or charities to be reused, resold or recycled. It is important to make sure clothing doesn't end up in landfill.

Where to buy sustainable clothing for children in the UK

Look out for retailers, who sell clothing made from natural, natural recycled and certified to GOTS organic materials, like for example, Greenfibres or My Little Green Wardrobe.

Greenfibres offer beautiful and useful textile products that are kind to the environment and to our health and well-being. Their goal is to provide meaningful livelihoods for all people who work with, and in, Greenfibres.

Pictured on the left is the Organic cotton baby towel with hood (certified to GOTS) by Greenfibres.

The item is completely undyed and unbleached, just pure natural organic cotton. Made under fair and safe working conditions - GOTS certified organic cotton.


My Little Green Wardrobe is an online store selling sustainable children’s clothing brands. They want to make clothing your children from top to toe in sustainably and ethically produced garments as easy and accessible as possible for modern day parents.

Pictured on the right is the lilly + sid candy stripe baby romper made from 100% certified to GOTS organic cotton, sold by My Little Green Wardrobe.


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