Over time, as my family has increased in number, living a greener lifestyle has become of ever increasing importance to me. Earlier this year I launched a small business with two of my sisters Green Dandelion. Our main ethos is to produce and nurture products that are ethical and sustainable.
As part of that ongoing desire to ‘green’ my own life I am seeking out other businesses that nurture similar values to my own and I am really looking forward to sharing them with you over the coming months as part of a new series.
Good For the Earth, Good For You.
To kick the series off I have interviewed Laura Trotter, Managing Director of Sustainababy. Laura lives locally to me and it has been quite inspirational to watch her build Sustainababy from the ground up over the past year.
Laura is also readers a 10% discount by entering the code IMAGINATION at checkout.
Discount is off all stock (excluding bulk nappy packs which are already discounted) before 31 July 2011 and includes items already on sale in our winter sale.
Now grab a cuppa and have a read about what Laura had to tell me about herself and Sustatainababy.
What was the inspiration for Sustainababy?
I worked as an environmental engineer for over 11 years in large organisations, including BHP Billiton and Western Mining Corporation, and my passion for the environment did not stop when I became a mother. However, my perspective on work did change and I sought something that was more flexible than my engineering career and enabled me to be at home with my son.
While pregnant and working long hours as a professional, I struggled to find the eco-friendly baby products I was looking to purchase in one convenient online store. The name Sustainababy came to me in a moment of pregnancy insomnia, as did the idea to create a one stop eco-parenting resource. To me, Sustainababy incorporates everything about growing and nourishing a baby sustainably.
From sustaining life in the true sense of the word, to sustaining the precious planet we call home. My son Matthew was born in December 2009 and the Sustainababy blog and online store launched just six months later in July 2010.
In short, what are the benefits of using MCN's over disposable nappies?
- Mean your household will not be contributing to the huge amount of solid waste going to landfill from single-use nappies. Approximately 3.75 million disposable nappies are landfilled each day in Australia and New Zealand. Reports have indicated that a single disposable nappy may take up to 400-500 years to break down. Note: most landfills in Australia are not lined and therefore leachates from our landfills can contaminate local groundwater resources.
- Save you big money. Individual cloth nappies can cost between $15 to $40 each. The total financial cost of a cloth nappy system can therefore vary between $200 to $1500, depending on number of nappies and type bought. This higher upfront cost is considerably less than $4000 average per child for single-use disposables. The financial savings of cloth nappies are compounded when used for subsequent children, ie. if you had four children you could set yourself up well with a modern cloth nappy system for under $1000 (assuming two children in nappies at same time) compared with $16,000 if you used single-use disposables!
- Better for your bubs health. Concerns have been raised about the impacts of disposable nappies on male reproductive health. Specifically, a study in 2000 found ‘scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable plastic lined nappies.’ and that ‘further research on the impact of increased testicular temperature in infancy on later spermatogenesis’ is required. Fragrances and lotions added to disposable nappies can contain phthalates which are known endocrine disruptors. Disposable nappies have also been linked to asthmatic conditions. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in the past, high incidences of nappy rash were attributed to cloth nappies, which were not as absorbent as today's MCNs nor changed frequently enough. The higher absorbency of MCNs, frequent nappy changes, ‘bare bottom’ time and a decent barrier balm have all helped make nappy rash a thing of the past, as for nappy pins and plastic pilcher pants.
- Not take up much time at all, plus you have no emergency dashes to the supermarket! A study conducted by Darebin Council in 2007, found that using a reusable cloth nappy system, took an extra 5 minutes each day.
- I will be answering this question further in a short and succinct format in my local newspaper column in coming months.
How easy or difficult is it to source items for older children (and even adults) by comparison with babies?
It is definitely much easier to source eco-friendly products for babies than children and adults. I think because many mums, when they start their own businesses, tend to focus on babies and often becoming a mother was the inspiration for the business. People tend to be more concerned about exposing their young baby to chemicals etc but aren’t so cautious for the older child or themselves.
Regardless, there are products out there for kids and adults and I have my eyes on a few, I’m just waiting for the business to grow large enough to justify me stocking them!
What are some of the best 'feel good' moments you have had in the past year with Sustainababy?
Every time a customer changes from single-use disposable nappies to cloth I feel a sense of great pride. They usually personally thank me and say they wished they’d done it earlier too!
Other significant events have been:
- My first market stall in March 2010
- Launch of webstore in July 2010
- Being first online store to offer customers option to offset emissions from their purchases in November 2010
- Raising over $1600 for Qld Disaster victims in February 2011
- Being announced as a finalist in the AusMumpreneur awards in Eco-Friendly Business Category in July 2011. Winner to be announced late August 2011.
What are your current 3 favourite items in store?
My all time favourites are everyday essential items such as the Baby BeeHinds Bamboo Fitted nappy and Merino Kids GO GO Bag and of course the FLATOUT Bear in honey colour but at the moment I particularly love:
Australian Made Willy Wagtail Harry Hoodie, Matthew has lived in his all this week after I decided he just had to have one.
New Zealand made Lou & Olly Vintage 1950s merino blanket. This blanket is the most exquisite I have ever seen and touched – pure heaven!
Uimi Kids Beci Merino Mittens Just gorgeous and of course, Australian made!
You can tell I just love merino and Australian and New Zealand made products!
What can Sustainababy shoppers look forward to instore for spring?
The next few months are a very exciting time for Sustainababy shoppers as we expand our range to cater for kids up to age 6! We’ll be children’s clothing from Pure Kids (i.e. Purebaby children’s range) as well as larger sizes from Baobab and Willy Wagtail. We’re rolling out many improvements to our webstore too including filters for products based on gender and age.
Thankyou so much for being part of my Good For You, Good For the Earth series Laura. I am looking forward to watching Sustainababy go from strength to strength in the years ahead.
If you want to learn more about the products Sustainababy have on offer make sure you check out the store (don't forget about that discount code). You can also find lots of information on the Sustainababy blog about raising children and the environment.
Hope that everyone is having a lovely weekend!