Eco, bio, organic, OEKO TEX-certified strollers: which stroller brands and materials are better for the planet & for the baby?
Are there any truly natural strollers? Actually, no. To work properly, one needs plastic (which is not-so-ECO), and even the traveling of the stroller from (usually China) to your country makes a LARGE carbon footprint on our Earth and her nature. You CAN, however, find better brands, better (or less harmful]] fabrics and materials - just take the price vs. quality ratio as an important one. We put together some certified brands and smart information for you to know what to look out for if you value eco-living, as well as healthier materials to be around your child when in the stroller.
There are actually quite a few brands that are better in terms. Not all have the OEKO TEXT certificate or are fully made from natural materials (such as bamboo fibers, etc.) BUT many, and I mean MANY better brands use recycled eco-friendly quality textiles – lately, this is more true than ever. Even a Dutch brand like Easywalker uses recycled PET bottle fabrics that are actually very high-quality - and even give you a lifetime warranty on your stroller (after a registration).
Overall it is like this - if the brand is better - which usually means also having a higher price tag - it uses better quality materials. Better materials and certifications come at a cost. The price of a stroller truly does matter (more in this article), and it is even more so from the quality, no-harmful-substances kind of view. "Budget-friendly," AKA cheap prams and pushchairs, usually mean they had to save money where they could, and that is usually starting with cheaper Chinese (and similar) fabrics and plastics used.
Stroller brands with an OEKO TEX certificate
* Jané (the newer models, mostly)
Every year, there are MORE stroller brands and models complying with quality certificates as this is not only on-trend but also asked for by parents. The more you, parents, ask for, the more it's going to happen, so don't keep your mouths shut ^_^
Also good to know: some companies take quality and certification as a must and don't feel like they need to boast about it constantly and publically, so don't expect the badges to be visible all the time, everywhere - and don't hesitate to ask their customer service or consult labels and symbols on the stroller or in the manual. Ask the sellers in the shops, too.
Non-toxic stroller brands
Natural/hand-made stroller brands
There also are brands that say they are hand-made, natural, super eco-friendly+++, but in this world, always be doubtful a bit. I am not saying they don't use their hands in their producing the prams. Just that it is not always the best they can do, or it doesn't always make their strollers better - often mostly just more expensive.
You'll also find that they usually ask for very high prices based on this (often marketing, as I learned) claim that they are like that. An example would be the Naturkind brand which somehow has a few stroller designs very similar to a few Polish brands I personally know (especially the model Varius Pro)... but that might be a chance..(?) Also, brands like Angelcab or Hesba hand-made in Germany are looking like a cool idea, specifically Hesba being said to be super long-lasting, but in many ways, the traditional design needs different care and is not always that practical, if you live a fast-paced city life, for example.
What is then the most eco-friendly solution in terms of strollers?
Is it "natural" fiber like cotton? Well, not always.
Beware - producing plastic BUT ALSO natural fibers like cotton consumes A LOT of water and is not always green for the planet. Even a pair of jeans can put a lot of strain on natural resources, so a stroller can be much more so. Sometimes, RECYCLED fabrics are simply BETTER as they are made with things already existing and with modern approaches. DO NOT take a PET bottles-based fabric as unnatural - it can actually be more sanitary than others if made well.
Quick-growing, sustainable natural fibers like bamboo or coconut are also a nice solution, but their not always that available and/or nice to touch. There are always compromises.
The carbon footprint weighs more than you'd think. Think locally.
Bear in mind that to be as kind to nature as possible, the eco factor/carbon footprint of a product gets higher and higher the further from you it is made. Strollers made closer to you are by default more eco-friendly as they don't get shipped to your country on a boat or plane that damage nature incredibly.
If you go for a known brand and base your stroller choice not just on price but also on quality, good reviews, and your own experience with the model, e.g. in a store, you most probably won't go wrong. The materials of not-overly-cheap models are getting better and better every year, and legal requirements for baby products (especially in Europe) are actually very high. In the US, it could be more of a problem, which is visible e.g. with car seat safety requirements. In any case, a company has to comply to the quite high baby standards when wanting to put their product on the market, so don't stress overly much about things and go for a good brand.
Reusable strollers? Yes, yes, yes, go second hand!
Truly... one of the most ecological, sustainable things to do (not even talking about economical, which also works here) is to get a pre-owned, used pram. Whether classifieds or your friend, sister, and so on... a stroller that is used with 4 children is so much more eco you'd never imagine. Think about this not only when buying a stroller but also when you're done with one - and sell or donate it for not-too-high-a-price, as it will help someone else as well as put a bit of your investment back to you. It's a win-win.
P.S. To all you moms scared of a material that doesn't feel as nice to touch or "artificial" – just use a good, natural & breathable seat liner or cloth insert in your seat or your carrycot. I mean, to simply put a layer you trust in between the fabric of the surface and your baby can't hurt. It also protects your stroller from getting dirty (read about how to un-dirty it in this article of ours ;-) ).