In the News
Waterloo Chronicle: Business, August 23, 2006
August 23, 2006
By Jennifer Ormston
Last week a unique company opened in the region – one that’s going to save parents of babies time and money.
As well, the owners of Bear Bottoms Diaper Service – a company that delivers clean cloth diapers to homes on a weekly basis – hope their company will help the environment.
“I just felt this was something this area needs. Hopefully we can change society into not being scared or intimidated by cloth because it is so much better for the baby and for the environment,” said Jill Lawrence, 30.
Jill, her husband, Mike and their nine-month-old daughter, Charlize, moved from Edmonton to Kitchener in March to be near Jill’s parents.
From the moment when Charlize was born in an Alberta hospital, she began wearing cloth diapers.
“It’s a big thing out in Alberta. Everyone I know was using cloth diapers.” Jill said.
But when they moved to Kitchener, they learned there is not a cloth-diaper service in the area like the one they had used out west.
And by that point, the couple was so fond on their cloth diapers with the snaps – rather than the old-fashioned pins – that they decided to start a company of their own.
“There are places that sell cloth diapers, but there is no service with the snaps in this area,” said Jill, who thinks there is a small baby boom happening in Waterloo Region.
The couple begged their relatives for funding, and they are now working out of a warehouse that has three industrial washers and dryers, as well as many shelves of clean cloth diapers.
Jill has done some research on the potential side effects of using disposables diapers, and her findings make her glad they chose cloth.
For instance, some research has suggested the heat in disposables, caused by their plastic coating, may negatively impact a boy’s ability to reproduce later in life, she said.
As well, disposable diaper packages state human waste should be flushed down toilets.
“But I don’t know anybody who doesn’t wrap up all the poop in the diaper and put it in the garbage as is. So we’re basically entombing human waste in our landfills,” said Jill, adding diapers are the third largest disposable item in the world.
Meanwhile, in addition to this large quantity, it is estimated disposables take 500 years to decompose, she said. “That’s a longtime.”
Ontarians’ attitudes towards disposables need to change, she said.
In Alberta, parents who take disposables into national parks must take them when they leave.
Meanwhile, there are cloth-service drop-off areas in various locations around Jasper and Banff.
“It is such a big trend that’s happening out there,” said Jill, who hopes it is more than a passing fad.
Cloth diapers have many stigmas attached to them, such as they’re more work for parents to soak, rinse and clean.
And many people remember the cloth diapers their grandmothers used, that were fastened with large pins.
Others think their nursery will stick if they use cloth.
But Mike found using disposables on Charlize when they first moved to Ontario was much smellier than cloth.
“You can not walk in our nursery and smell anything with cloth. I found the stench to be stronger with disposables,” said the 36-year-old, adding, as a first-time father, cloth is easier to use.
Jill said their cloth-diaper service is simple for parents. Once a week, Mike comes to homes, picks up soiled diapers and drops off clean ones, all for a flat rate of $19.95.
And if babies require a larger size or additional diapers, that increase is covered in the rate.
As well, a diaper pail is provided to customers for a $16 refundable deposit.
Parents who prefer to wash the diapers themselves can purchase cloth diapers from the company.
The company provides its free delivery service in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge. Deliveries outside of that area include an additional $2 fuel fee per week.
For more information about Bear Bottoms, go to www.bearbottoms.ca or call 519-208-1456
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