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Baby Clothes Library

What Is A Baby Clothes Library?

A ‘Baby Clothes Library’ is a scheme which provides clothes for babies, toddlers, and infants at low or no cost.  Baby clothes share schemes can be a huge benefit for low income families, avoiding the need to spend money on clothes that will last only a few months, but a baby clothes library is much more than that!


Community circular economy schemes like clothes libraries are as much about reducing consumption, manufacturing, and waste as they are about cost-saving. The fashion industry is a MASSIVE contributor to global emissions and waste, and relentless advertising pressures us into ever-more consumerist lifestyles. Community-led initiatives like clothes libraries can help us to sidestep these destructive industries, whilst supporting our neighbours! 


We therefore encourage the entire community to make use of the Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library, read on to find out how to hire or donate clothing! 

What Does This Project Achieve? 

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Waste Reduction 

Community Cohesion

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Emissions Reduction 

Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library, Guildford

Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library provides boxes of baby and toddler clothes by age, for a refundable deposit of just £20. (Though you can leave the £20 in as a donation if you prefer). The boxes come in age ranges: 


  • Premature and Newborn

  • 0-1 months

  • 0-3 months

  • 3-6 months

  • 6-12 months

  • 12-18 months

  • 18 months - 2yrs


Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library was started just 2 months ago, and it’s so popular that the initial set of boxes flew out the door immediately! The library is the brainchild of Guildford resident Rachel Sarno and we’re partnering with Rachel to help expand and develop the project under her guidance.

As mentioned, although clothes libraries schemes can be a lifesaver for some families, we would like to make this scheme accessible to the whole community as a means of reducing consumption and waste. Whilst care needs to be taken to ensure that those in need of the scheme are supported, we want to make using a clothes library a norm for all. We hope that with the support of the community we can help to upscale this project into an exemplar model of community-led climate action schemes, with enough resources to cater for any family who wants to get involved in waste and consumption reduction. 


Plus, you’ll find more than just clothes at Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library! Rachel has also started prepping for summer with swimming costumes, hats, etc, as well as bibs, pramsuits, shoes and growbags.

What Problem Is This Addressing?

The fashion & textiles industries are incredibly resource-heavy, whilst their advertising encourages people to increase consumption and waste. 

64% of the 32bn outfits manufactured each year end up in the trash.

In 2019 alone 208 MILLION lbs of waste was generated by ‘single use outfits’.

20% of the planet’s entire wastewater production is from the fashion industry! 

Cotton uses only 3% of the world’s arable land - but accounts for 24% of insecticide use! 

Shifting to a reduce / re-use philosophy for clothing is therefore hugely important if we are to successfully lower emissions in line with averting the worst of the climate crisis.


Benefits Of Clothes Libraries


The fashion industry is an enormous contributor to climate breakdown and ecological destruction. The sector is responsible for about 4% of global CO2 emissions - more than aviation! - and in 2018 alone the fashion industry produced a massive 2.1 billion tons of CO2, with the UK being the 4th largest textile waste contributor in the world. 

The vast majority of people have no idea how destructive the fashion industry is, particularly ‘Fast Fashion’, and addressing this is critical to tackling consumption driven climate change and ecological destruction. Unless we find ways to educate and engage our communities, encouraging individuals to pay mind to where the endless conveyor belt of cheap clothing comes from and the scale of its impact on our ecosystems, we can’t hope to overcome this problem. 


At the same time, simply telling people why something is destructive or extractive is not enough to drive behavioural change. We need to find innovative alternatives that help us sidestep these processes, and community-led circular economy schemes such as clothes libraries are a brilliant way to begin this conversation and thought process. 


By offering clothes share schemes and clothing libraries we can offer a direct alternative to the emissions-heavy fashion industry, whilst sparking conversation and inspiring innovation within our communities to begin building models which ensure that our behaviour doesn't just protect, but regenerates the ecosystems which we depend on for life, and which are disappearing from human-induced stresses. We don't expect this to be a quick or easy process, but we need to open a conversation on it, and community share schemes are a brilliant way to begin that difficult dialogue.

How Does The Baby Clothes Library Work?

  1. Make contact with Rachel at Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library and discuss your requirements, either via email or Facebook

  2. Use the contact form to reserve a box

  3. Once you get confirmation that your reservation has been received, we’ll arrange a mutually convenient time to arrange handover

  4. On handover you’ll pay the £20 deposit, or transfer into our dedicated account

  5. If you have access issues ZCG can deliver your box to you, emissions-free in our electric vehicle! 

Donating to Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library

  1. Clothing and donations should be clean (using only non-bio detergent) and thoroughly dry

  2. You can drop donations either to Zero Carbon Guildford, or directly to Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library

  3. If you need to discuss arrangements contact or 

  4. If you have access or mobility issues we can arrange to collect your donations in our emissions-free electric van

  5. Please be aware that as with all charity donations, SHBCL may not accept clothing that is not in a condition that would allow it to be hired out.

Get Involved

If you have children’s clothes from 0-24 months that your child has grown out of we would LOVE you to support the Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Project.


Get in touch with ZCG, or directly with Rachel to chat about donating, or drop your clean baby clothes to us at the climate emergency centre.

And if you'd like to volunteer for this amazing initiative then we'd love to have you involved! 

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