Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear City of Ottawa,

I would like a little clarification about the new 'diaper service' that is going to be implemented with the city's plans to move to a bi-weekly garbage pick-up (which I applaud). As a person who has chosen to use cloth diapers with all four of our children, I certainly hope that I am not going to end up covering the cost of special treatment for those families who make the decision to use disposable diapers. If they are going to gripe and moan about the mess they create, they had better be ready to pay for it! Are they paying extra fees to have their waste picked up?

I have contacted the city on *numerous* occassions to suggest a cloth diaper subsidy for families who make use cloth diapers. This kind of subsidy is commonplace in the UK, and it has been instituted in many municipalities across Quebec (most recently in Montreal). The city of Ottawa pays approximately $94/tonne to haul trash to the dump; When parents make the decision to cloth diaper a child, they are diverting approximately one ton of waste from our landfills. Furthermore, they can reuse the same set of cloth diapers with future children, diverting even more waste from our landfills. It stands to reason that if people are saving the city money with their responsible decision to use cloth diapers, the city should compensate them for their efforts.

If people use cloth diapers, they do not have to worry about the stink of having diapers sit in the trash for two weeks (and quite frankly, the contents of disposable diapers are supposed to be emptied into the toilet before they are tossed into the trash anyhow, I don't even see how 'stink' should be a concern if ppl are using disposable diapers in the correct manner). If you want to encourage positive change, why not consider implementing a cloth diaper subsidy that will help parents with the startup costs of cloth diapers? There are many (many!) businesses in Ottawa that sell cloth diapers, accessibility is not a concern, but ppl are often intimidated by the upfront costs, and fear of the unknown.

We are hosting an event on April 23rd that will see 35+ parents changing their babies cloth diapers at once, the "Great Diaper Change" is happening throughout the world at 12pm EST in an effort to establish a new Guinness World Record. I would love for any Ottawa city councillors who are concerned about disposable diapers and bi-weekly pickup to come out and join us, you can talk to families who use cloth diapers, and you can learn about what's involved in using cloth diapers (aside from the fact they are washable, they are just as easy to use as disposable diapers).

I certainly hope someone takes the time to get back to me about this. I have been rather disappointed in the limited responses I have ever received when I've tried to contact Ottawa councillors about this matter. Perhaps now that it's election time again, you'll have my attention. I know I won't be the only parent annoyed that I have to pay for other parents who don't consider the environmental effect of single-use diapers.

best regards,

Susie Pearson

Friday, March 18, 2011

Newborn diapering on the cheap

When parents come into the store considering cloth diapers, we generally encourage them to start with cloth diapers from day one so that it's all they know (there's nothing to 'adjust to', aside from the obvious -- having a baby!). The upfront costs of cloth diapering can be daunting, although no matter how you look at it, you will alway save money in the longrun. If the cost of diapering your newborn is indimidating, you should consider preemie prefolds.

Within the past year, the folks at Bummis introduced a 'preemie' sized prefold, intended to fit babies from 4-9 lbs. The name of this new size has proven to be a bit of a misnomer, most parents tend to overlook the preemie diapers because most babies are carried to term, parents generally don't plan for the possibility of a preemie baby. Nevertheless, we still encourage parents to consider stocking up on preemie prefolds, even though they may not get used for a long time, they offer considerable bang for the buck. There is a bit of overlap between the preemie prefold and infant prefolds, which fit from 7-15 lbs, but if you have a baby who weighs less than 8 lbs, the smaller fit of a preemie prefold will be considerably less bulky on your little one than an infant prefold.

In terms of what kind of cover to use with a preemie prefold, we suggest parents consider the size one Thirsties duo wraps which fit from 6-18 lbs (you can continue to use them with the infant prefolds when you size up), or the newborn Bummis super lite covers, which fit from 6-10 lbs, and feature an umbilical scoop to prevent the top of the cover from rubbing against your newborn's cord stump (which is as attractive as it sounds). We recommend that parents have 2-3 dozen diapers on hand to reduce the workload involved in washing diapers for those first few weeks. Newborn babies poop a lot (a lot!!), the more diapers you have on hand, the less frequently you will have to wash them. 2-3 dozen diapers (and 4-6 covers) would see you washing diapers once every 2-3 days for the first 6-8 weeks, which is totally manageable.

The upfront cost for 2 dozen preemie diapers and 4 newborn Bummis super lite covers would be $73.96. You can expect to change at least 12 diapers/day for the first 4 weeks of your baby's life. A single-use diaper costs approximately .25 cents, you would spend roughly $84.00 on garbage single-use diapers in the same timeframe. Look at that, you've already saved $10.00! Consider the fact you can reuse your preemie prefolds with subsequent children, or that you can sell them to recapture some of what you paid (at least half!), and you're even further ahead. Furthermore, once you're done using the preemie prefolds as diapers, you can use them as wipes (preemie prefolds are actually less expensive than wipes) or doublers. Quite simply, preemie prefolds are the diaper that keeps on giving!