You've ditched the plastic bottle, always bring your own tote and never leave your plastic waste at the beach.... but did you ever consider choosing more sustainable kids swimwear could also help clean up the ocean your little water babies love to swim in?
Switching out fast fashion for kids in favour of eco-friendly styles can have an enormous impact on the health of the deep blue. And whilst, of course, it makes sense to choose eco-friendly swimwear (since it's the article that spends most time directly in the water), unfortunately it's the whole fashion eco-system that you need to consider.
Because fast fashion's impact on ocean health starts with the raw materials your kids' clothes are made with, continues with the dyes and chemicals factories can push out into the water system, the packaging it's wrapped and shipped in, flowing right through to what happens in your washing machine!
Sound complicated? Don't worry! Follow our handy quick-reference guide to choosing, and maintaining, truly sustainable kids swimwear, and feel good about your little water baby's impact each time they swim.
Sustainable Kids Swimwear check 1: Is the fabric sustainable?
In an ideal world, our kids swimwear would be made out of organic fibres such as cotton, but unfortunately they hold far too much water, making them unsuitable for kids bathers.
Thankfully, man-made fabrics have been getting an eco-makeover of late too. Lycocell is made from natural bamboo cellulose, and the fibres are entirely recyclable, plus polyester yarns Repreve and Econuly are made out of recycled plastics or recycled fishing nets, respectively. Just look for the official swing-tag on your sustainable kids swimwear to ensure you're getting the real deal!
Sustainable Kids Swimwear check 2: Is the quality good enough to last?
My mother always had a saying: buy it nice, or buy it twice. Not only does buying quality eventually work out kinder on the wallet, but kinder on the planet too. The most eco-friendly choice you can make for your kids' swimwear is ultimately investing in quality. The Fast Fashion industry relies on poor products, sold cheaply and deteriorating quickly, and all of this wastage simply ends up in a big blue garbage patch.
Worried about your kids growing too fast? Sustainable kids fashion should be able to be handed down between siblings or friends, so those eco-friendly bathers should weather many a Summer, and make many a little ocean lover smile.
Sustainable Kids Swimwear check 3: Is the packaging eco-friendly?
There's no point buying the most eco-friendly kids swimwear only for it to be shipped to you in a virgin plastic polybag and come wrapped in plastic packaging to boot. Check the sustainable kids swimwear brands you support on their packaging: ours is shipped out in recycled plastic mailers (that can be disposed of in turn via RedCycle) and even our re-usable wet bags can are designed to bio-degrade far faster than your average plastic wrapping.
If you'd like to read more about Little Fishy Swim's Sustainability policy you can read more here
Sustainable Kids Swimwear check 4: Do you know how to wash green?
Whilst not strictly part of your childs swimsuit itself, the way you wash your clothes can have a big impact on the ocean. Each time you put your clothes on a wash cycle micro-fibres are released into the waste water system, eventually reaching our oceans.
Gently hand washing and in cold water not only preserves the colours of your kids sustainable swimwear better, but also reduces the amount of plastic micro-fibres reaching the deep blue. If you must machine wash, choose a gentle cycle, eco-friendly detergent and choose to line dry rather than tumble. Best of all, invest in a micro-fibre filter for your machine, or micro-fibre capture bag to wash your clothes inside.
Looking for more information on how to maintain your kids' swimwear to keep it's sun-stopping power? Read our handy care guide here.
Sustainable Kids Swimwear check 5: is the rest of your sun-protection ocean-friendly?
One further way you can let the eco-friendly side down once those sustainable kids bathers hit the water is in your choice of sun-protection. Put succinctly, most sun screens are chemical based, leaching toxins into our oceans and ultimately damaging our reefs. However, making the switch to a mineral based or "reef safe" sun-screen not only creates a highly effective physical barrier between the sun and your skin, but leaves all of our fishy friends much happier too.
So there you have it, 3 easy ways to pull the most sustainable kids swimwear from the pack, and 2 further ways to ensure you and your little ones are helping preserve our oceans each time they put them on! What do you reckon, do you feel more confident making sustainable kids fashion choices now you've read this handy guide?
Looking for a more comprehensive guide on how to choose the best kids swimwear: form, function, sustainability and all? Read our ultimate guide to choosing the best kids swimwear here.
Interested in how fast fashion impacts our oceans, and how your wardrobe can be more ocean-friendly? Read Fast Fashion: Deep Blue Problem here.