I read with interest Jenn Labit’s recommendations to the cloth diaper industry posted this week on her web site. Jenn is the owner of a large cloth diaper company and this piece continues her work in the diapering industry. Though not directly part of the industry, I feel compelled to respond to a part of her post:
“Interestingly, the hybrid option has been greeted with open arms by consumers, but met with opposition from within the industry, a sentiment expressed last year in a reactionary marketing campaign designed to rally support for 100% reusables. The campaign was greeted with support by bloggers and retailers within the industry, but among consumers we polled, the messaging was interpreted as potentially offensive to families unable or unwilling to use cloth diapers full time.”
Far from reactionary, the Real Diaper Association’s 100% campaign was a continuation of our longtime advocacy for 100% reusable diapers. Furthermore, any message can be “potentially” offensive, and we are unwilling to modify our message based on this sort of speculation. In fact, we were careful to administer the campaign using entirely positive language, in keeping with our organizational value of nonviolent communication.
Despite our quibbles with Jenn’s statement, it actually served to renew our dedication to reusable diaper support and also helped us confirm that we are going about our work the right way: face-to-face and nonviolently. At RDA, we focus on providing local, direct support for moms, dads, and caregivers who want or hope to use reusable diapers. This person-to-person support to overcome obstacles to cloth diapering is crucial, and this is why we feel comfortable with a strong message. Our Circle Leaders are trained in nonviolent communication and we even role-play scenarios dealing with hybrid issues. We do not criticize, in person or online, those moms, dads, and caregivers who choose any form of disposable diaper.
Nor do we denigrate those retailers and manufacturers who make and sell hybrids. Businesses frequently make decisions such as whether to make and sell hybrid diapers based on the effect such decisions will have on profits. The Real Diaper Association is not a business driven by a bottom line. Our mission is clear and we will continue to support families in realizing the benefits of cloth diapers to the environment, their babies’ health, and their wallets – - benefits that can only be achieved through 100% reusable cloth diapers.
Lastly, this mission is not driven by elitism but rather by egalitarianism – we hope to empower and support families in using (and reusing) cloth diapers, and we do all we can to change the systems that prevent them from doing so. We will continue to support all those people, businesses, and organizations engaged in reducing waste, increasing baby comfort, and being good stewards of the earth.