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Cloth diapers more environmentally safe

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Hannah McLeod/The Explorer

Tonya Scott displays her online store baby products while holding her one-year-old son, Marshall Scott, in a baby carrier. Scott launched her online website called Green Baby Elephant in 2010.

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In an age where the Internet floods consumers with an excess amount of information, new moms are often left overwhelmed when trying to find the best and most affordable baby products. Wanting to make moms’ lives a bit easier, Tonya Scott, a mother of three boys, launched her own baby product website called Green Baby Elephant.

The fact Scott is now running a business that primarily sells cloth diapers is a bit of an irony. Before starting her website three years ago, Scott was using disposable diapers and laughed at the idea of using cloth diapers – a suggestion that was made by her in-laws.

“I was not too enthusiastic because I’d heard horror stories before and didn’t want to do it,” said Scott. “Now it’s a big joke among my friends because I’ve turned it into a business.”

After using a cloth diaper Scott was hooked. She soon found that there were no stores in town that sold them so she looked online. Not knowing which brand to buy, Scott started to do some in-depth research and in turn tried numerous types of brands to see which worked best.

Soon enough, Scott realized that she wanted to sell baby products and started Green Baby Elephant in 2010.

The store sells cloth diapers that have snaps or a hook and loop (like Velcro) for newborns to three-year-olds. Baby carriers and natural body products such as lotions, deodorant, and hand sanitizer are also available. Two of Scott’s favorite brands are Thirsties and GroVia made by KiwiPie boutique line. Both brands are made from mills in the U.S.

“I carry a lot of brands that are made in the U.S. or by factories in China that have good practices for their factory workers,” said Scott. “You want a cloth diaper that is a good fit, easy to use, comfortable, and good colors and print so it looks cute.”

Scott can meet with people face-to-face at shopping events or vendor fairs. She has hosted two events of her own and has participated in the Baby Fair at the Tucson Convention Center. A frequent question Scott receives is: Why cloth diapers over disposable? According to Scott, the answer lies in the statistics, which covers three main categories of cost, environment and health and safety.

On average, a person will spend $2,000 on disposable diapers each year in comparison to $500 on cloth diapers. Also, each year the U.S. throws away 20 billion disposable diapers, which is enough diapers to circle the globe 90 times. Lastly, disposable diapers contain a variety of chemicals such as petroleum, plastic, bleach and dioxins, which can be harmful to a baby’s skin.

“Cloth diapers are better for a baby’s skin and our environment,” said Scott. “I think a lot more people are open to it now and more aware, which is great.”

3 images

Hannah McLeod/The Explorer

Tonya Scott displays her online store baby products while holding her one-year-old son, Marshall Scott, in a baby carrier. Scott launched her online website called Green Baby Elephant in 2010.

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