Your Guide to Sustainable Kid Products

Oct 04

Picking out sustainable items for your kids can be time-consuming as well as expensive. But choosing eco-friendly products can be good for both the planet and your child. In this guide, we discuss why green kidswear matters for environmental and safety reasons. Since many moms and dads live on tight budgets, we’ll also look at affordable options for kids clothes and accessories out there.

Considerations

When shopping for kids, be on the lookout for organic cotton and eco-safe dyes. Not sure what these terms mean? Here’s more on them below.

Organic Cotton  

Cotton is a natural fiber, so it doesn’t contribute to microplastic pollution. But if cotton isn’t organic, it’s likely to be highly processed, which can hurt the environment and your child. Cotton crops are commonly sprayed down with toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, which can especially irritate young baby skin. Organic cotton isn’t treated with these chemicals, so it’s less likely to be harsh on the skin.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend looking for clothes that have GOTS certification. GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard. Any garment with this label guarantees that a textile product contains at least 95% organic fibers. GOTS certification also ensures that the manufacturing process is environmentally and socially responsible. In other words, the product has no toxic pesticides and dyes and was produced by safe, fairly treated laborers.

Eco-Safe Dyes 

Manufacturers usually bleach and dye cotton fabrics. The coloring in the cotton can be harmful since it often comes from carcinogenic heavy metals such as copper, chrome, and zinc. We recommend looking for eco-safe dyes, which include fiber reactive dyes and natural dyes. Each kind has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of sustainability. Fiber reactive dyes are synthetic dyes that directly bond with the fiber of the fabric. Usually free of heavy metal dyes, they’re highly absorbent and applied at lower temperatures. In a nutshell, they don’t waste a lot of resources. They do, however, contain petrochemicals that aren’t so eco-friendly. Natural dyes, on the other hand, come from plants but require more quantity and energy to use.  

Affordable Sustainable Products for Kids

Many brands sell reasonably priced, eco-friendly, and safe kidswear. In this section, we’ll list out some of our favorite kids clothes and accessories.

Clothes

  • Burt’s Bees Baby – You might know Burt’s Bees for its minty lip balm, but it also carries a fairly extensive selection of affordable baby clothes made from 100% organic cotton. The $5 to $30 price range is great for parents on a tight budget.
  • Pact –  Pact offers comfy baby and toddler GOTS-certified clothes made from 100% organic cotton. It shares similar prices as Burt’s Bees Baby.

Shoes

  • Plae – Plae shoes are not entirely organic, but the company does use recycled, non-toxic materials to make its kids trainers, boots, and slip-ons. The shoes have uppers made with recycled milk jugs, EVA heel cups made with recycled cork, and antibacterial insoles made with Eco-Ortholite. Plae’s factory also uses fair labor and solar power to create its products. Their popular trainers cost around $50.
  • Umi Shoes – Priced between $20 to $60, Umi’s leather kids shoes consist of non-toxic, environmentally friendly materials. The company tests each design for durability and safety, so you’re getting a high-quality product.

Accessories

  • BEDSTRAW – Through Klee’s portal, you can get discounts for BedStraw’s organic and fair trade baby blankets, toys, sheets, and gift sets.
  • Terra – Terra Thread sells sturdy, ethically made organic cotton backpacks that come in nine cheerful colors. The company also sells pouches and tote bags that are great for classroom use. For other back-to-school goodies, check out our post on sustainable shopping at Target.

Do you have any other tips for sustainable parenting? What affordable eco-friendly brands do you think that all parents should know? Let us know in the comment section below.

Stacey Nguyen Stacey is a California-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer. Her work has been published by PopSugar, HelloGiggles, Reelgood, The Balance, and The Bold Italic. When she's not writing, she enjoys finding a good thrift deal and listening to pop culture podcasts.