With kid clothes, built in waste


The subject of kids, and how they seem to engender a huge amount of extra consumption on the part of friends and relatives–even when their parents are devoted to a low-impact lifestyle–is too big to tackle here. Suffice to say that, during the holiday season especially, the generosity of loved ones is often at odds with my ideal. (Namely, that my daughter not have her own section of the Pacific garbage patch.)

For now, here’s one small example of how waste spirals out of control. Grammy buys some new outfits for the girl, and along with the actual clothes, we get this:

Hang it all!

Who knew there were so many different kinds of plastic hangers for toddler garments? You’ve got your pants’n’shirt combo, your clip-style pants hanger (with metal parts!), your large-frame shirt hanger that includes a bunch of extra cross pieces for some mysterious purpose.

It’s a mountain o’ plastic. I don’t think it can be recycled and I doubt anyone else wants it. I think most parents, like me, are lucky to corral all the kid’s clothes in the correct bedroom, never mind hanging them neatly in the closet.

So why do retailers hand these things out? Why not save and reuse? Can it really be cheaper to give them away than to pay a minimum-wage employee for the extra 10 seconds they’d spend removing the clothes before bagging? No comprende.

As a (very infrequent) buyer of new clothes, I resent the small price hike that must be occurring, to account for the cost of these single-use hangers. Keep your petroleum products, please, and I’ll keep my cash.

Parents, what do you do with all these thingies? Is there a clever means of disposal?