Monday, May 10, 2010

Laugh, Dance, Diaper: Help bring cloth to the Ellen show!

I don't know why this wasn't on my radar earlier, save for extreme busy-ness on my part, but I'm jumping in with the #operationfluffy initiative! Here's the scoop in a nutshell, from Dirtydiaperlaundry (nice name, by the by; very descriptive of my own day today, as it happens):
[W]e launched a Twitter, blog, and video campaign called #operationfluffy to convince The Ellen Show to feature modern cloth diapers on the show. The campaign had hundreds of people involved who tweeted and taped their babies dancing for our You Tube video of babies in cloth.

But, Dou-la-la thought, why the pressure on Ellen in particular? I mean, it's common for products and causes (and this is both, really) to try to get exposure on talk shows, of course. I'd love to see cloth diapers get some good coverage on any influential daytime 'women's' programming, like The View or Oprah or RayRay, so why Ellen specifically? Well, Ellen has been known for environmentalist causes in the past, so it seemed like a natural fit.

It looks like things were a go::
I got word from a diaper maker who was told they would be on The Mother’s Day show. I was happy and sad. I was happy to see cloth diapers on the show but sad only one type and brand would be presented.
Well, that alone would make me thrilled, even if it were just FuzziBunz or Swaddlebees or BumGenius. Yes, it would boost that one brand more than the others but I think the average viewer would also then be likely to search around, if interested, and see the whole array of cloth choices that are out there. The key is just plain getting the info OUT. I do think that many more women would opt for cloth if they knew just how cheap and how utterly easy it is - it's not just about the environmental benefits, but the economic ones too. Anyway, one brand or no, definitely a positive thing all around.

But then.
Unfortunately, cloth diapers were bumped because Huggies stepped in with their ridiculous “cloth like” jean diapers. You know what else is like cloth? CLOTH.

Boo, hiss. I mean, seriously, what a sellout that was. Again, it's not like she's under any obligation to the 'cause' of cloth diapers, and if it were a host that hadn't ever embraced environmental issues in the past, it wouldn't seem like such a big deal. But coming from Ellen, it sure does seem illogical at best. Check out some of the merchandise in the "Ellen Shop":

Yes, that reads "Laugh, Dance, Recycle". There are other items labeled as organic, and kids products are included in the mix too. Laugh, dance and recycle . . . unless it's diapers, in which case landfill should continue to overflow. DDL breaks down the environmental impact of this one show promoting disposable Huggies:

250 audience members received a 6 months supply of Huggies.

The average baby goes through 8 diapers a day.

That baby will use 1,456 diapers in that time frame.

So lets say Huggies gives those families 1,456 diapers.

Multiply that by 250 guests.

Ellen essentially put 364,000 diapers into a landfill.

These guests could have had cloth diapers! In a perfect world that would have kept 364,000 diapers out of the trash.

There's plenty of info out there about how much better cloth is for the planet, and thus for us. Let's talk cost for a moment, though, because cost IS understandably the biggest issue for most families. Here's a breakdown of the savings for each family that chooses to use cloth, thanks to DiaperCo:
Disposable Diapers
0-3 months
10-12 diapers/day
90 x 10 = 900
Size 1
3-12 months
8-10 diapers/day
270 x 8 = 2160
Size 3
12-30 months
7-8 diapers/day
540 x 7 = 3780
Size 5
Total number of diapers
Total Cost for Disposables

Add another $200.00 for disposable wipes for a total of $1751.60 for 30 months of disposable diapers and wipes. This is per child.

Cloth diapers - Most Economical Chinese Prefold Diapers with wrap-style covers
0-6 months
36 CPFs
6 small size covers
total $117.00
6-30 months
24 CPFs
4 medium size covers
4 large size covers
total $132.00

Total Cost for Cloth Diapers and Covers
But what about those supercute, fitted, pocket-style or all-in-one diapers, like the ones we see a lot of in the Dancing Babies video above? Surely those must amount to as much as disposables, if not more!

DiaperCo breaks that down too, using the top of the line BumGenius by way of example:
Cloth Diapers - bumGenius One-Size (fits 8-35 lbs)
36 bumGenius
$16.95 ea.

Total Cost for Premium Diapering System

Add $24.00 for 24 Cloth Wipes and Cloth Diapers cost you $273.00-$634.20 and they can be used for subsequent children as well.

Total Savings $1117.40-$1478.60

Amazing, right? And again, this is only for ONE CHILD. Imagine the difference it makes when you reuse them with subsequent kids? Sure, some get a little too worn and might need replacing, but I can tell you that with all the sizes that Lily has grown out of, almost all of them are still in very good condition. I may have to replace some inserts, which cost only a few bucks apiece, but overall, I would anticipate spending way less than $100 additional bucks for future children. $50, even. THAT'S IT.

And to return to another point from earlier - I wish I could communicate to more people just how EASY it really is. Seriously! It's not this heinous chore that I think many fear it is. It's about a load of laundry every other day - and though some people like to have some pre-soaking routines and extra vinegar rinses and such, I've honestly never bothered. We've mixed them in with our own clothes from day 1, and all the diapers AND our clothes have turned out just fine, no staining or odor problems whatsoever.

I do buy some chlorine and gel-free disposables to have on hand in case we lose power or some other catastrophe strikes, and I stash a couple in our diaper bag in case I get stranded somewhere while we're out and run out of the cloths that I've packed - but truthfully? She usually grows out of that size before we even have a chance to get through the whole package. That's how little we've had to use them.

Anyway! I didn't mean to go off into a whole spiel about our own diaper habits and choices. Every family finds what works bets for them - what styles and brands, what washing routine, whether to use disposables as backups, etc. It's a whole topic in itself - points being, there's a huge range of choices, all of which are not only cheaper but much easier than you might have thought, if you haven't looked into it before!

So . . . let's get it on Ellen! Join the Facebook group, and Tweet with the hashtag #operationfluffy. There will be a Twitter party (my first of this kind) on Thursday, May 13th. I'll be "there".

I close with this piece of awesome from The Feminist Breeder: Her genius pop-up cloth wipe demo. Total cinch.


  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who throws the diapers in with the other clothes! :)