Kids Should Grow, Not Landfills

Cambridge, MA—Kids generally grow out of their clothing every six months. According to thredUP, this can lead to parents spending up to $20K on staple clothing items by the time a child reaches the age of 17. In addition, we throw away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles annually—together, that’s about 145 billion pounds of fabric sent to landfills each year! Because kids grow out of their clothes so quickly, many parents become overwhelmed with how to handle so much clothing in an environmentally and socially responsible way, leading to the “easy” solution of throwing them away.

Luckily, people can now conveniently “up-cycle” clothes by swapping within an online national network of eco-conscious families through a company called thredUP, which is now launching a kid-specific network. Basically, parents tell the company what sizes their kids need and brands they love and indicate what their children no longer wear. thredUP makes matches, facilitates swaps and monitors quality. The company says, “Think Netflix—for kids’ clothes!”

Simply put, parents can browse and pick a box of clothing they like, pay for shipping and handling to receive that box, and then put together a box of items that no longer fits their child to be shipped out for free when someone picks it. The company only accepts clothes that are in “like new” or “new” condition.

Retailers can offer their own version of this service by offering collecting bins for gently used clothing or by hosting a community swap meet. thredUP even offers services to host swap parties at your home or retail store. James Reinhart, Chief Knitwit of thredUP, told WholeFoods, “We partner with eco-conscious retail stores to promote conservation in the clothing & textile industry. We have an affiliate program in place in which clothing retailers display thredUP boxes in stores and we purchase their kids clothes that are out of season. We’ll help retailers swap out inventory that hasn’t sold! If you offer green solutions that make life easier, you’ll help to convert those ‘on the fence’ about green living, and push them into a sustainable lifestyle."

Currently, joining thredUP is by invitation only, but WholeFoods readers can visit and use the invitation code "WholeFoods" to join!




 Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2010