Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Betsy Thomas, the founder of Bummis cloth diapering at her manufacturing loft in Montreal. I walked in excited to see some cute paterned cloth diapers and talk about waste reduction but left realising I has just met a legend in sustainability.
This woman was a leader in sustainable business long before it was trendy. I immediately wanted to get this woman on the roster of top sustainable business conferences around the world because top business leaders could learn so much from her.
If you’re a proponent of buying local, you’ll appreciate that their products are produced here in Montreal, that means not in China! On top of that, they source as much as humanly possible from North America and when not possible, from the UK or Pakistan. In searching for suppliers, they demand compliance of strict environmental and social ethics.
Betsy told me about one supplier where she wanted them to get the SA800 certification in social accountability (fair treatment of workers etc.). Although alternative suppliers with the certification were available, Bummis felt it was better to stick with their current supplier and get them to improve their practice. I really respected this concept considering our society is so commitment phobic. They’ll even end up making this company better off as well.
Bummis uses only certified organic cotton for their cloth diapers. Although it costs more, they felt it was better in the long run for everyone involved from grower, to sewer to baby which further helps reduce their carbon footprint.
BENEFITS OF CLOTH DIAPERS
- Fun colours: All the patterns and colours makes them more fun than boring old white, disposable diapers
- New & improved: these aren’t the diapers we were raised in with pins, nope, they use velcro now
- Helps with potty training: Some experts say cloth diapers make it easier since the kids recognize when they’re wet
- Safer: No chemicals soaking in a warm and wet environment against your child’s bottom
- Municipal subsidies: Some cities, like in Quebec, offer subsidies against the cost of cloth diapers
- Less waste: Diapers are the 3rd largest consumer source of garbage in our landfills and make up 50% of a household’s (with children in diapers) total waste.
- Less expensive: Save approx. $2500 per child
- Convenient: You can now get flushable liners (eliminates soaking) or you can sign up for a cloth diaper service
- Softer & more comfortable
NEW & IMPROVED CLOTH DIAPERS
Too complicated and gross you think? There have been many advances in cloth diaper “technology” since we wore them. Velcro has replaced pins and water-proof fabrics have replaced plastic pants. And for the mom on-the-go, now you can find one-piece diapers with flushable (biodegradable) liners so there is no soaking or rinsing required. They are even accepted in daycares now too.
Cloth diapers are softer than disposables with the feel of natural fibres against your baby’s bottom. Plus, they get changed more often which is healthier for the baby. There also tends to be more air circulation and less temperature build up which contributes to less diaper rash.
Amongst my baby-making friends, I’m impressed how many are using cloth, it almost seems to be mainstream now. If you’re expecting or if you already have a baby and are curious about cloth, check out Bummis at a retailer near you. You can either buy a kit or one single unit.