The Compostable Diaper Conversation

All in one Thirsties Duo Pocket diapersA funny thing happened when booth neighbors arrived at the Children’s Trunk Show in Toronto last week. We were the only cloth diaper vendor at the show, and the response was really quite positive. Many stopped by and talked to us, and they were really impressed with what they were seeing and how easy cloth diapers seemed to be.

When our neighbors finally made it to the show and set up their booth, we realized that show organizers put a “eco” disposable diaper vendor right beside us, selling biodegradable diapers. Parents would stop at their booth first then move on to ours.

It was an exclusive, no competitors show, but they obviously didn’t consider disposable diapers as our competitors. A short walk through the diaper neighborhood actually opened the door to some really great discussions with customers. Many moms would come to our booth and mention they were “considering the biodegradable diapers”. This provided the perfect lead in.

Me: “That sounds great! So do you have your compost ready to go yet?”

Unsuspecting Mom: “Ummm. . . no. What do you mean?”

Me: “To compost your diapers. Isn’t that the idea?”

Unsuspecting Mom: “Oh. Well, I guess I was just going to throw them in the trash?”

Me (looking rather perplexed): “Ahhh. . . you mean in a garbage bag or diaper genie liner?”

Unsuspecting Mom: “Yes! Exactly.”

Me (still looking confused): “Do you think they will biodegrade like they are advertised in that type of an environment? I didn’t think it would work like that if they were wrapped in plastic.”

Mom (now she’s looking confused): “Wow. I didn’t think of that. That’s a bit misleading, isn’t it?”

Me: “Hmm. Well do you have a pick-up service that will compost your diapers for you?”

Mom: “No.”

Me (with an all-in-one cloth diaper in hand): “Have you considered reusable diapers? They don’t create any waste at all, and they can be changed just like a disposable diaper. The added time commitment is really only two extra loads of laundry a week.”

Now mom starts asking all the usual questions and I get to show them how easy cloth diapering is, how much fun, and I also get to put our literature in her hands about the waste factor of disposable diapers. It was actually so much fun just getting the parents to think through the process as far as a decomposing diaper was concerned. The parents agreed again and again how the concept seemed rather flawed when you thought it all the way through to the landfill. I got to have this conversation with parents all day, one after the other.

It was great to see some of their faces when they realized they had misunderstood, that these disposable “bio-diapers” are not this incredible option that will save our planet.

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