Blog by Hanna
Sustainable Merton Community Champion & Merton Green Parents Coordinator
The Merton Green Parents group was recently relaunched, and we had our first meet-up in Wimbledon Park. We hold monthly meet-ups for local parents who want to make their parenting journey more sustainable. This month’s topic was renting children’s clothes and the environmental impact of always buying new. Our special guest was Jacey from Qookeee, a local children’s clothes rental service.
None of the parents who attended had ever used a clothes or toy rental company before but when we chatted about the numbers, we all quickly realised that we need give it a go, if we want to move to a circular economy and tackle the causes of climate change in our family homes.
According to Hubbub, 1/3 of parents don’t know what to do with the clothes that their children have outgrown and therefore throw them out. However, with one babygrow needing 260 litres of water and 21kg of carbon to be manufactured this causes a lot of environmental damage. Especially if you consider that it has the potential to be worn by up to four children.
Instead of passing the children’s clothes on to other parents or carers, we often put them in storage. Apparently, 183 million items of outgrown baby clothing are currently being stashed away in UK homes and we all admitted that we’ve got bags full of clothes, toys and books in our homes.
However, buying new and then storing children’s clothes does not only cause environmental damage, there’s also a huge financial burden on families. Apparently, an average household spends about £11,000 on clothing for each child until they’ve grown.
Jacey who is based in Wimbledon has started a company called Quookeee that offers parents an alternative: rent children’s clothes rather than always buying new. Here’s how it works:
WHAT IS IT? Eco-friendly baby and toddler clothing rental store for ages 0-24 months. Qookeee (pronounced ‘cookie’) rents out sustainable brands including Mori, Toby Tiger, Muddy Puddles and Kite Clothing. Qookeee is set up like an online shop but instead of buying your items when you check out you rent them instead.
The clothes range from gorgeous organic baby sleepsuits to outerwear made from recycled fibres. Each item has sustainable qualities, and the organic cotton clothing is only sourced from brands that have a fully traceable supply chain and certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The range is made up of standalone items, and small capsules of baby clothing bundles.
Renting is part of a sustainable solution to reduce the amount of clothing going to landfill and to reduce carbon emissions and water usage. There is even an eco-savings calculator on the website to see how much you can help the planet by renting.
HOW IT WORKS: Each item is individually priced and monthly rental prices start from just £1 a month. You can add any item to your shopping cart and mix sizes and styles to curate your baby’s wardrobe. The minimum subscription value is £20 and can be made up of any items. When you add your items to the cart you create a flexible subscription based on what you select. So, if the total monthly cost of the items in your cart is £26.50, that’s what your monthly subscription will be for those items. There are no pricing plans, no joining fees, no minimum subscription period.
Clothes are hired on a monthly subscription basis, which ends when you return the clothes. When you order more clothes, a new subscription starts for the new order and ends when you return them. You get free delivery and if you return all items from your order together the return is also free. You can also return individual items, but you will need to pay postage yourself. Your monthly subscription amount is amended when you return the items. Stains, spills and wear and tear are included in the cost. If you, or your little one, lose something, there’s a small replacement fee.
If you want to join our conversation on renting children’s clothes or learn more about parenting sustainably, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add you to our Facebook and/or WhatsApp group. We share advice and local tips, ask questions and organise monthly meet-ups.
Keep an eye out in the Sustainable Merton calendar for upcoming events!