Sustainable Diaper

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					Cloth vs. Disposable:                                                                           Disposable diapers are not only costly,
                                                                                                but can be brutal on the environment.

Giving your baby a                                                                              One mother decided to do something
                                                                                                about this diaper dilemma.

Sustainable Diaper                                   BY LANEY TIPTON
                                                     Staff Writer
                                                                                                     Because cloth diapers were such a
                                                                                                hit overseas, Leah decided they might
                                                                                                do just as well in the U.S. when they

                                                             eah Carter cares about what        moved back to Georgia.
                                                             goes on her baby’s bottom.              When Zac was diagnosed with a                                     Little
                                                                 She cares so much, in fact,    degenerative neurological illness, he                                  Beetle
                                                             that she started a business that   and Leah decided to make Better for                                    cloth
                                                     caters to other concerned moms. In         Babies the family business. That way,                                  come in a
                                                     2002, Leah founded Better for Babies,      Leah could stay at home with Zac and                                   variety of
                                                     Inc., a family company that special-       the children while running operations.                                 colors.
                                                     izes in sustainable and organic baby            The business venture turned out
                                                     products — primarily in cloth diaper       to be a successful one. Leah says that     PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY
                                                                                                                                           OF LEAH CARTER
                                                     alternatives.                              last year, Better for Babies was named
                                                         Since then, Better for Babies has      as one of the University of Georgia’s
                                                     continued to grow as more families         fastest growing alum-owned busi-           products will be the best for children,
                                                     make the transition to an environ-         nesses.                                    along with functionality and environ-
                                                     mentally friendly lifestyle.                    “As awareness of cloth diapering      mental awareness.
                                                                                                and natural fibers grows, so does our          “Zac and I pay a lot of atten-
                                                     WHAT IS BETTER                             industry,” Leah says.                      tion to the health and environmental
                                                     FOR BABIES, INC.?                               Leah says that Better for Ba-         aspects of what we eat and what we
                                                         Carter says she was living with her    bies “considers it part of their quest     wear,” Leah says in a press release.
                                                     family in the United Kingdom, pursu-       to make the world more comfy, less         “When it came time to buy cloth
                                                     ing graduate studies in philosophy at      wasteful and better for babies.”           diapers and other baby products, we
                                                     the University of Wales when she got                                                  couldn’t find exactly what we wanted,
                                                     the idea for a cloth diaper business.      WHAT ARE                                   so we got out the sewing machine and
                                                     Though she and her husband, Zac,           LITTLE BEETLES?                            drafting paper so we could make them
                                                     had already been using cloth diapers            One of Better for Babies main         ourselves.”
                                                     on their son, Gabriel, she says they       initiatives is the Little-to-Big Beetle,       The couple came up with a re-
                                                     had no idea how widely they were           their line of organic cloth diapers.       sizable organic cloth diaper they call
                                                     used until spending time in Wales.              Soft, reusable and long lasting,      their Little Beetle.
                                                         “While living abroad we discov-        Better for Babies’ Little Beetle makes         The name and design for the dia-
                                                     ered the diversity of choices and wide-    cloth diapers a sensible alternative to    per are based on the ladybug, one of
                                                     spread support for cloth diapers in the    disposable ones.                           the Carter family’s favorite creatures.
                                                     U.K.,” Leah says. “We had used cloth            Leah says Better for Babies start-        “Zac and I designed the diaper
                                                     on our son since birth but only when       ed out more like a concerned parent        with an inside soaker which was in-
                                                     we arrived in Wales did we discover        than a big business venture. Because       spired by the ladybug,” Leah says.
                                                     that the industry had so much more         they are parents themselves, Zac and       “Ladybugs have elytra, which clever-
                                                     potential.”                                Leah always try to keep in mind what       ly protects the body and under wings

                    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEAN J. KOEPFLER
                                  from moisture, just like our Little         pros more than outweigh the cons.          gent. Too much soap causes a buildup.
                                  Beetle diapers.”                                 Cloth diapers are better for your     Toss them in a dryer or line dry, and
                                      Kevin Huskins, father of three,
                                  says that he and his wife started using
                                                                              baby, and they also feel better.
                                                                                   “Using natural fibers in place of
                                                                                                                         that’s it.”
                                                                                                                              The Little Beetle diapers are re-
                                                                                                                                                                                Baby’s First Diaper
                                  cloth diapers with their second child,      synthetics or chemicals is definitely      sizable, so they “grow as your baby                     In the long run, cloth diapers end up saving families money.
                                                                                                                                                                                 This displays the breakdown of disposable and cloth diaper
                                  but wishes they had started sooner.         healthy for a baby’s skin,” Leah says.     does,” Leah says.                                         costs over a period of 2 and a half years with one child.
                                      “Cloth diapers have been an             “Fully breathable and amazingly soft,           “Our Little-to-Big diapers are de-
                                  amazing find in my family,” Kevin           I can’t imagine that it is anything but    signed to fit from birth through potty
                                  says. “My wife and I received some as       luxuriously comfortable.”                  learning,” Leah says.
                                  a baby gift for our second little boy.           The materials used for the diapers         The diapers come with a snap-ar-
                    “We were      We were skeptical at first because they     are all natural fibers, helping to make    rangement for closing, making them
             skeptical at first   are a little bit different from the norm,   them absorbent.                            easy to choose the snap size that best
           because they are       but they really are fantastic and much           “Cotton absorbs moisture, pulling     fits your baby.
         a little bit different   better for our boys and the environ-        it away from your baby’s skin,” Leah            Donna Sink, who recently had her
              from the norm,      ment.”                                      says. “An organic wool cover takes in      second child with husband, Jeremy,
               but they really                                                the moisture and prevents it from get-     says her family has seen firsthand the
           are fantastic and      IS CLOTH REALLY                             ting onto the clothes.”                    financial benefits of using cloth dia-
             much better for      BETTER?                                          Cloth diapers need to be changed      pers.
           our boys and the           There are pros and cons to both         a little more frequently than dispos-           “We made the decision to use
               environment.”      cloth and disposable diapers, but           able diapers. Leah says children who       cloth diapers before our first child,
                - Leah Carter     Leah says with the Little Beetle, the       wear them typically experience fewer       David, was born,” Donna says. “To
                                                                              rashes throughout their diapering          help with the cost at first, I made sure            Total Expense                                  Total Expense
                                                                              years and potty train more quickly.        to ask for some in my baby shower
                                                                                   Using cloth diapers can also help     registry. We also figured out how
                                                                              parents save money. Though the cloth       much money we were saving on cloth
                                                                              diapers themselves come with a pretty      diapers and set that money aside.
                                                                              high price tag — Little Beetles run        We’ve used it for fun family things,
                                                                              about $30 per diaper — the long-term       like little trips and a play set for the
                                                                              benefits save parents a lot of money.      kids.”
                                                                                                                                                                     Total Laundering         Total Diaper           Total Cost of       Number of
                                                                              (See sidebar.)                                  Donna says the savings are con-            Expense               Expense             Diapers Per Week      Weeks over
                                                                                   “Buying organics and reusables        tinuing to build up.                                                                                             2.5 Years
                                                                              can be pricey at first,” Leah says. “But        “We just had a little girl, Laura,
                                                                              it’s a long term investment that more      and she’s already using the cloth dia-
                                                                              than pays for itself in time.”             pers,” Donna says. “It’s just great
                                                                                   Leah says that if you are planning    because they are resizable, so they fit
                                                                              to use cloth diapers full time, 18 to 24   through the diapering stage, and the                Approximate         Recommended
                                                                              diapers will limit doing laundry to two    ones we got to use with David still                 Cost of One           Number of
                                                                              or three times a week for newborns.        look and function like new.”                        Cloth Diaper        Diapers Needed
                                                                              As a child gets older, less are needed.         Leah and Better for Babies makes
                                                                                   The idea of washing cloth diapers     a switch to cloth diapers really tempt-
                                                                              can be a little intimidating for some      ing. While it may be a little different                                                      Diaper Cost      Diaper Changes
                                                                              parents, but Leah says the cleaning        than what we are used to, the benefits                                                       Per Change         Needed Per
                                                                              process is really easy.                    of going cloth are undeniable, and                                                                                Week
                                                                                   “When the diaper comes off your       that late night trip to the grocery store
                                                                              child, shake any solids into the toilet    for more diapers could be a thing of         Total Cost Per        Number of Cycles
                                                                              — no need to rinse,” Leah says. “Then      the past.                                    Laundry Cycle          over 2.5 years
                                                                              toss them in a diaper pail until time to        “I really don’t know of anyone
                                                                              wash. Empty the pail into the washing      who says they are sorry they tried
                                                                              machine, run a cold rinse, then a hot      cloth diapering. It’s a change for the
                                                                              wash with a minimal amount of deter-       better,” Leah says.

                                                                              Leah’s daughter,                                                                        Cost of Electricity    Cost of Electricity   Cost of Water Per   Cost of Detergent
                                                                              Ella, at age one                                                                        Per Washer Cycle        Per Dryer Cycle       Washer Cycle       Per Washer Cycle
                                                                              in a pair of Little
                                                                              Beetles diapers.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LEAH CARTER                                                                                                                                                  SOURCE: WWW.VERYBABY.COM/CMS-DISPLAY/DOLLARS.HTML

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