Category Archives: Projects & Goals

Why Does RDIA Emphasize Diaper Services?

Diaper Service discussion

Jennifer Moore Temple (Clean Bee Laundry) and other diaper service owners at 2010 RDIA Cloth Diaper Business Conference

Yesterday someone asked why the association puts so much emphasis on diaper services. I love this question, because the answer gets to the core of how we get things done.

In September 2009, after one year of operation, RDIA had 26 diaper service members. Most of those members joined after a heroic spring/summer effort by Jennifer Moore Temple (Clean Bee Laundry). She was a board member who took it upon herself to recruit diaper services and tell them why they needed a trade association. Jennifer wrote personal notes to diaper services all over North America. Some of you may have joined because you received one of Jennifer’s postcards. We went from 6 diaper services at 6 months to 26 diaper services at 12 months. Now, 36 months after starting, we have 76 diaper services. They are our largest category by far. We are voting on a bylaw change this year to acknowledge their numbers and need for representation.

Back to the question posed, why do we emphasize diaper services? We value diaper services, certainly, but we don’t emphasize them over any other category. Diaper service members themselves make the difference. The board representatives and many volunteers have determined that they are going to improve business conditions. They use their meeting time at the RDIA conference well. They discuss needs and plan projects around those needs.

Two years ago, they established a diaper service business group—completely on their own—to plan projects and get them started. They took project proposals to the board to get support, and they made those projects happen. They saw that our #1 inquiry over the first year was  (and still is) how to locate a diaper service, so they created a directory of diaper services and a diaper service mini website to host it. They found that potential new business owners had a lot of questions about how to start a diaper service, so they created a kit with essential information for a diaper service start-up. The kit is well worth its price tag, and the income helps support the work they and other volunteers do. Diaper service volunteers were also active on the cloth diapers in daycare project because they heard from their customers that parents need cloth diaper resources to take to childcare providers. They created a tip sheet and guide for parents.

This past year, diaper services were more ambitious. They set a goal to investigate an accreditation program for diaper services. They didn’t just investigate, though. They have created the program, and it will be launched at the conference in two weeks. They saw that customers want reassurance of safe, clean diapers, so they set standards businesses can follow to be sure their processing results in safe, clean diapers. Members have to pay to be part of the program, but they save money on testing through a group discount. Again, they saw the need, and they focused on how to meet it. They were ambitious, and their volunteers gave a lot of hours to create a professional program.

Cloth diaper industry members graphic

In two and a half years, we have seen diaper services go from a minor part of the trade association to 46% of our membership. The board of directors didn’t make a plan for this specifically. When volunteers came forward to say that they were prepared to grow their category and meet their needs, the board of directors supported them, paid for the minor expenses of the projects, and provided our administrator for support.

Members made this change. Members became volunteers, and volunteers became leaders.

If you want to witness how far diaper services have come, please attend the Diaper Service Accreditation presentation Tuesday afternoon. If you look closely, you will notice that the chair of this project was not even a diaper service member, but a very active Associate member, Kim Webb of Rockin’ Green. We don’t have to stay within boundaries on our projects. We follow our interests and skills. We are all pulling in the same direction.

If you want to see a change in emphasis within the association, make it happen! The RDIA board would love to support a transformation like this in every member category. Be the change you want to see. Step up to plan and execute projects. On Tuesday, September 28, after the annual meeting of members, members in each category will meet separately to discuss their needs as a group and their plans for the upcoming year. Do you want to talk about specific needs within your category or a project you are ready to make happen? If you want to put the focus within RDIA on your category, your project, or just on recruiting more members, you can.

Just step up and lead the change.

Announcing the Cloth-Diaper-Friendly Daycare Directory!

Finding good daycare for your children is hard. You want to find one with a similar approach to caring for your child, experience in handling a broad range of children and problems, and staffed by people you trust to take a major role in your child’s daily life. Hearing Marisa L. Tobey, owner of Ready, Set, Go! Learning Center in Portland, Maine talk about using cloth diapers on the children in her care would definitely sway me towards her center. She said,

“Teaching children healthy habits is especially important at the age when they’re learning basic life skills. We teach them to compost, recycle, respect nature, eat healthy and organic/local, grow their own food, conserve water and reduce waste. Using cloth diapers in our daycare center is a huge part of practicing what we teach…and we produce so much less waste than other centers. We’re teaching social responsibility.”

Unfortunately, not all daycare providers see cloth diapers quite this way – yet. The Real Diaper Association and the Real Diaper Industry Association have been working on several related activities to facilitate the use of cloth diapers in daycare. A big step is recognizing that there are a lot of daycare providers already using or accepting cloth diapers. Finding those daycares, though, frequently takes a lot of effort – – until now…

The new Cloth-Diaper-Friendly Daycare Directory is now live and ready for you to use!

While RDA received some tips in their 2007 survey about cloth diapers in daycare, the information is old so we need your help in finding cloth-diaper-friendly daycare providers to include in the directory. This directory is ready to fill a major need that we’ve been hearing about at RDA since our founding. But it is absolutely reliant on the public to populate the data and make it as useful as it can be!!!

WE NEED YOUR INFORMATION!

  • If your child wears (or wore) cloth diapers in daycare, take a minute to add as much information as you can about that daycare to the directory.
  • If you know someone who uses cloth diapers in daycare, go to the directory and click on the Share links at the bottom of the page to send an email or Facebook message to that person asking them to contribute information to the directory.
  • If you are a daycare provider who accepts children in cloth diapers – or, better, PROVIDES cloth diapers for the children in your care – BY ALL MEANS, add your information to this directory!
  • If you own a diaper service proving cloth diapers to a local daycare provider(s), add their information to the directory, or share the link with them (daycare.realdiaperindustry.org) so they can add themselves.
  • If you are merely sympathetic to the cause of cloth diapers in daycare, share the link to the directory (daycare.realdiaperindustry.org) in any way you can.

If you’re looking for a daycare in your area that accepts your cloth diapers and nothing appears in the directory for your area (yet), the joint RDA/RDIA project team published a tip sheet for parents about how to ensure a caretakers’ acceptance and use of cloth diapers for a child in their care. Hopefully, it will result in acceptance of your cloth diapers, and you’ll be able to soon return to the directory to add your provider!

Heather McNamara
Executive Director, Real Diaper Association (Associate Member)
Chair, RDA/RDIA Cloth Diapers in Daycare Project

Cross-posted with RDA.

Diaper Service Info Site

The diaper service committee of the RDIA has been hard at work developing the content for the Cloth Diaper Service Info section, the newest component of the RDIA website.

  • We are happy to announce that the eagerly anticipated Find a Diaper Service page is live with all the members in the diaper service category of the RDIA listed. Already, over 1,000 consumers looking for a diaper service have been directed to this URL, and it is proving to be the most viewed and requested page within the RDIA site.
  • The second most popular page in the new diaper service section is the How To Start a Diaper Service Business of your own. We’ve been averaging several inquiries each week with over 100 inquiries since the site went live.
  • There is also consumer information available in the Why a Diaper Service section. We are hoping this will encourage inquiries to consider the benefits of using a diaper service.

Although websites are a work in progress, and the Cloth Diaper Service Info section is certainly no exception, the diaper service committee is pleased with this accomplishment and gearing up for the next goals that the diaper service membership identified during the 2009 annual meeting, including:

  • the development of laundry standards,
  • a marketing plan, and
  • the development of a kit addressing how to start a diaper service business of your own.

As always, we are looking for eager volunteers to join our committees and bring their expertise to the table regarding these topics. If you are from a diaper service, please consider volunteering. If you believe the adage, you get out of something what you put into it, then we’ll have 100% participation within our diaper service membership! To volunteer, contact committee chairs or write to info at realdiaperindustry dot org.

Diaper Service Business Committee Volunteers have been:

Judy Aagard (Tiny Tots Diaper Service & Baby Boutique)
Jennifer Moore Temple (Buzzie Bee Diapers)
Peter Allen (Do Good Diapers)
Dennis Frederick (All Together Diaper)
Lori Taylor (Fuzbaby and Firefly Diapers)

Tips for getting your cloth diapers into daycare

For our family, finding a daycare provider willing to use cloth diapers on our baby would be an absolute requirement. Any reasonable daycare provider would either accept our diapers without question or be willing to learn to use them even if they had never seen them before. If they were not reasonable on this matter, I would be concerned about how well we’d work together and about whether they would respect our parenting decisions on other matters as well.

Having said that, I haven’t used daycare for my children, so when it came time to put together recommendations for the many parents who contact us about information to use in daycare selection conversations, the best sources were the moms who had done it. The Real Diaper Association (RDA) conducted a survey on the use of cloth diapers in daycare facilities. We received over 250 detailed responses. The responders were largely parents who had talked with daycare providers about their willingness to use cloth diapers on their children while caring for them. We culled the best advice they had, and came up with this tip sheet for using reusable cloth diapers in daycare.

The tip sheet includes practical advice about finding a daycare provider and talking with them about cloth diapers, and specific options you could consider to make it work for both of you. It also has links for parents to inform themselves about state daycare regulations and about proper sanitation practices for changing diapers in a daycare facility.

This tip sheet represents the first step in a joint project by volunteers from RDA (Real Diaper Association) and RDIA (Real Diaper Industry Association). Follow ongoing efforts to facilitate the use of cloth diapers in daycare at the RDA website or on this blog. Many thanks go to Ann Maclean, Northern Virginia Real Diaper Circle Leader, and RDA volunteers Angie Gregory and Ada Vaughan for all the work they did in putting it together.

Heather McNamara
Executive Director, Real Diaper Association
Chair, RDA/RDIA joint committee on Cloth Diapers in Daycare

Cloth Diapers in Daycare cross-posted at Real Diaper Events, the Real Diaper Association blog.

RDIA Detergent Determinator – Up and Running!

Detergent DeterminatorWe are so excited to announce the launch of a great new online cloth diaper detergent search tool from the Real Diaper Industry Association that will help make it even easier to figure out your diaper washing routine – the Detergent Determinator!

It’s a nifty tool that lets you find out which detergents contain what, and it was created especially to make things easier for cloth diapering folks!


Browse Detergents by Name

Here’s how it works. First, go to the Detergent Determinator page. Then:

  1. Type in the name of the detergent you want information about
  2. Click Submit
  3. And voila! You can see if that detergent contains enzymes, brighteners, dyes, fragrance, or fabric softeners. Then, you can compare that result to whatever your diaper manufacturer suggests avoiding.


Browse detergents by characteristic

Or you can also browse by detergent characteristics using the Detergent Determinator:

  1. Check the additives you want to find or avoid
  2. Choose any other filters you’d like (HE certified, liquid, Canadian availability etc)
  3. Click Submit
  4. And bam! Couldn’t be easier. Now you have a list of detergents fitting your criteria.

The important part is to always check what your diaper manufacturer recommends, and avoid any additives or ingredients that they prohibit.

So, enjoy! It’s easy, and chock full of information.


A few notes on the RDIA and detergents in general

Please keep in mind that this is only a reference tool and detergent manufacturers often change ingredients without informing the public (or us!). Additionally, detergents react differently based on many factors including quantity of detergent, quantity of water, and water hardness. If your baby ever develops a rash which can not be explained, please consider that it may be the detergent or your wash routine.

Contact the manufacturer of your diapers for advice if you are unsure. They are always willing to help.