How to explain to kids about the circular economy?


In one year a family throws away 30 kg on average and today's buy and throw-away culture is taking a serious toll on the wellbeing of our planet. It is clear that we need to change our consumption habits and teach good habits to our kids from a young age.

What is the Circular Economy?

In the traditional linear economy, raw materials are collected and then transformed into products that are used until they are discarded as waste. At Petit Marché we believe and contribute to a more sustainable system of production and consumption which is called the circular economy. In this model people try to share, lease, reuse, repair, refurbish and recycle existing materials and products as long as possible. The interesting thing about the circular economy is that we try to give a second life to things that we no longer use, instead of letting them accumulate and end up as waste.

Circular Economy for Kids Items

When it comes to kids items it makes even more sense to be part of the circular economy, considering how short their life cycle is. The concept is not new among parents.  Parents for years have been passing on their kids stuff to siblings and friends with younger kids. However, today marketplaces such as as Petit Marché offer more parents a wide range of quality second hand clothes on demand, while providing the platform to sell what no longer fits, and prolong the life of precious items.    

How to Talk About the Circular Economy with your Kids 

There are many ways of talking to your kids about our planet and the benefits of the circular economy. We suggest that you do it by organizing a clean-out day together, to show them how they can actually take part!

Every child is different and has a different understanding of things, so it is important that you find the storyline that fits to your child. The idea is for them to understand how it makes much more sense to pass on clothes and toys they no longer use, to other kids, rather than throwing them away or storing them in a dark place. As an example you can talk to them about the piles on things that are being thrown away every day and you can almost visualize how our planet is drowning in waste.

Kids Want to Keep Everything!

When you organize a clean-out day sorting clothes and toys, it is always difficult to know what to keep and what not to keep and whether the condition is good enough to sell. This exercise can be even more difficult with children who want to keep everything!

We suggest the 3 pile method to make it a little easier.

  • KEEP
  • SELL

Include your children in this process and let them have an influence on what they no longer use and would like to sell.


This is clothes, shoes and toys that your children still use, or things that you would like to keep for a smaller sibling.


These are items that your children no longer use, but that are still in a great condition. It can be toys that your kids have grown out of, but that will surely make another family happy. Often kids will have a hard time letting go of their toys, even if they no longer play with it, or their favorite clothes. Try to explain to them that they can sell it and make another child happy and on top of it they can use that little money to save up to something they would like.


This is the clothes, shoes and toys that your children no longer use, but that might not be in the right condition to be sold. Instead you can give them to different charity organizations that help mothers in need. It might also be that you have a friend or a sibling that has younger children than yours and you are happy to pass everything on to them.

All of these 3 ways contribute to the circular economy, by ensuring that we use our things for the longest possible period and after that we make sure that they are passed on to another family, either by selling them or giving them away.

Check this short video from the European Environment Agency that really captures the vision of the circular economy well. Why not watch it together with your children...


About the Author 

Anna de Chabaneix is a mother of 3 boys and is originally from Denmark, and based in Geneva. She is the founder of the app Petit Marché, a mobile marketplace making it easy and appealing for parents to buy and sell preloved for kids.

As a mother I realized how every parent finds themselves in the same situation: on one hand we have so many things at home that our kids no longer use and often in great condition and at the same time we have to buy new things all the time as our children grow and seasons change”.

Petit Marché was originally launched in Geneva where it grew successfully and is opening-up in Zürich. When the app was launched the majority of parents were still reluctant to buying secondhand for their kids, but it has been amazing to see how more and more parents today deliberately chose to buy preloved.



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