A year of putting a baby in disposable diapers requires 300 pounds of wood, 20 pounds of chlorine, and 50 pounds of oil products
It’s hard to argue that disposable diapers aren’t the most convenient and easy way to outfit a baby. However, the ease with which they’re procured and simply tossed away causes environmental hardships at both ends of their utility—the vast natural resources needed to create them and their resistance to biodegrading once they’re disposed of.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 20 billion diapers are discarded every year, taking as long as 500 years to break down. Creating them creates its own set of burdens, with one year of outfitting a child requiring 300 pounds of wood, 20 pounds of chlorine, and 50 pounds of petroleum stock to manufacture the supply.
Amid all the other chaos of raising a young child, the convenience of disposable diapers may, nonetheless, remain attractive. However, many parents have opted for cloth diapers or diaper services to offset the damage done by their disposable counterparts. In 1997, Jo and Guy Schanscheiff created Bambino Mio, a colorful cloth diaper line that they hoped would help new parents view cloth diapers as a real sustainable alternative, rather than some outdated throwback to earlier times.
Bambino Mio wasn’t just able to sell itself on the sustainable aspects of the switch, but also on the financial upside to forgoing expensive one-and-done diapers.
Speaking to A Plus, Guy said in an interview, “Sustainability is at the heart of cloth diapering and has always been important to us. We always ask parents if they would rather use 3,000 disposables per year or 15 cloth diapers? The difference between the two is immediately identifiable and a starting point for a lot of our conversations.”
Those numbers are hard to argue with, but Bambino Mio sought to do more than just offer practical advantages to parents and babies—they also wanted to serve as a creative alternative to the blank, austere diapers that lined the shelves of grocery and drug stores. You can see a breakdown of their current collections in this convenient chart.
The fact that the company has continued to grow for 20 years, amid a turbulent and uncertain retail climate, speaks to the demand for their product, but the biggest market—the United States.—has yet to be cracked. But nascent partnerships with U.S. retail juggernauts like Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Babies “R” Us suggest the concept that has done so well in Europe is poised for success in America as well.