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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Why would a middle-aged woman who doesn’t have a baby start making cloth diapers? It’s an unlikely story, but true. Her story may make you think – about diapers, and maybe even other life choices.

Her name is Sandy Beck and she has a 30-year-old daughter. When her daughter was a baby, they used cloth diapers (old-fashioned pre-folds) – sometimes. To her, they just seemed like a better choice – more natural, economical and healthy. Sandy also had a job, so she used disposables when her daughter was in daycare – they didn’t allow cloth.

Fast forward to 2007. Daughter is grown. Sandy sold the business she owned and was suddenly retired but wanting something more.  One day, she read an article about the impact of disposable diapers on the environment and was shocked. First, tens of billions (that’s right, billions) of diapers are hauled to landfill every year. Plus the “waste” in those billions of diapers goes to landfill too, instead of water treatment plants. Then there’s the sheer waste of it all. The average baby uses 6000 diapers before potty training and yet 95% of parents still chose disposables. We spend money, energy and materials to manufacture billions of diapers every year, truck them to stores, bring them home, and then use them, sometimes for as little as an hour before throwing them away (where we then truck them to landfills and bury them).  And there they will stay, for hundreds of years. This was her cause.

Sandy researched the topic and talked to new parents, learning something very important. Most new parents like the idea of cloth. BUT, scraping, swishing and spraying poopy diapers is such a turnoff that they feel they just can’t do it. On top of that, many worry that they’ll be overloaded with laundry. So, they choose disposables instead – just bundle ‘em up and put them in the trash.

In addition to being hard-working and smart, Sandy had one other thing going for her. As a young girl, she learned to sew. Once she understood that it was the icky stuff and fear of laundry that kept people away, she knew what to do: get out her sewing machine and experiment with prototypes. She found families to test her diapers. For the next five years, she sewed, tested, and refined her design, over and over, to meet the conditions that people said they needed to actually use cloth: no yucky stuff like scraping and spraying, not a lot of extra laundry, and no leaks. Sandy named the company Tidy Tots®.

Her hard work resulted in a truly unique, patented diaper. Parents want high performance and Tidy Tots performs. We’d also argue that it is also a very earth-friendly choice. Lightweight, biodegradable Flushies liners go in the toilet, not landfill. The cover can usually be used for 2-3 changes, so there’s a lot less laundry.  And very important – the No Fold™ diapers and boosters are a blend of organic hemp (55%) and cotton. Hemp is so much more absorbent than cotton, and requires a lot less water to grow.

But what about the scraping & spraying? Why might new parents choose Tidy Tots over disposables? The diaper and Flushies® liner actually snap in to the cover.  They can’t bunch or shift. When it’s time for a change, just bundle up the liner, with its “contents” and flush. It’s quick and easy, and the diaper stays much “cleaner” – no icky stuff, no spraying.

If you have very young children, you may know that cloth diapering is more popular now than it was 5 or 6 years ago. Despite the growth in choices and number of families using cloth, it’s still a very small group – only about 10% of families.  That means 90% of new families still choose disposables. We want to change that. We’re a very young company (we just launched in June 2012) and we sure do want people to take a look and try Tidy Tots. But even more important is retiring disposable diapers. So talk to your friends and family about the issue. Take a look yourself. Let’s make the change that is really better for the earth.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want easy cloth diapering systems.