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Baby bums lead to new service

Entrepreneurs: Couple looking for diaper-delivery company decides to start their own business

Posted: November 10, 2010 5:23 p.m.
Updated: November 11, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 


With experts warning that disposable diapers are filling landfills at alarming rates, one local couple — expecting their first child any day — decided to launch a business dedicated to meeting both family and environmental needs.

 “We wanted to use a diaper-delivery service,” said Christopher Walker, 31. “But we couldn’t find a local business that provided the service.”

The husband-and-wife team founded Blessed Bums, an organic cloth-diaper-delivery service.

Laura Gately, 26, handles the accounting and inventory. Her husband, Christopher, operates the pick-up and delivery service. Together, they manage the diaper-sanitizing process and jointly run the business.

A full-time student, Walker is a war veteran who has performed multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The former Army Ranger says his grandmother laughs when she hears him spewing facts about organic diapers.

Hospitality background
Both Walker and Gately have a background in the hospitality business, providing them with the customer-service training needed to run a successful business. Walker, a graduate of Saugus High School, worked with several major restaurant chains. Gately was the catering manager at J.W. Marriott in Las Vegas.

“We both liked working with and talking to people,” Walker said.

Raised in Seattle, a very environmentally conscious city, Gately wanted to use organic-cloth diapers with her own baby. The couple couldn’t find any U.S. companies that produced organic diapers.

Most firms produced the diapers in Pakistan, India or China, Walker said. So the two opted to use Bummis diapers, produced by a Canadian firm.

As any parent knows, the cost for diapers in the first two years of a baby’s life can tally up quickly. But Walker and Gately say their organic diaper service is comparable in cost to name-brand disposable diapers.

Organic cotton diapers

Blessed Bums reports that organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment.

Organic cotton farmers build up soil using natural methods such as compost and crop rotation rather than relying on synthetic — and often environmentally toxic — pesticides and fertilizers.

Some of the chemicals used in producing conventional cotton include toxins that are found to be many times more toxic that DDT, a harmful synthetic pesticide that has been banned in many forms and in many countries.

Blessed Bums believes organic cotton is a better choice for babies’ sensitive skin, as well as for the environment.

Disposable diapers
Disposable diapers contain toxic chemicals and compounds such as dioxin, tributyl-tin and sodium polyacrylate, all said to have negative impacts on health, according to Blessed Bums.

Environmentally, the company states that based on current population and the percentage of households using disposable diapers, the Santa Clarita Valley uses approximately 26 million disposable diapers every year. Disposable diapers are the third largest item in landfills.

Over 25 billion disposables are used yearly in the United States, and the majority of these diapers end up in landfills; each one will take between 250 and 500 years to decompose, Walker said.

He added that manufacturing disposable diapers requires the use of more than 70,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees every year. Each single diaper uses two-thirds cup of petroleum to manufacture.

Walker said the city explored a recycling program for disposable diapers in 2003 to divert the plastic materials from landfills. It found it wasn’t economically feasible, he said.

Convenient to use
The days of soaking cloth diapers and fastening them with safety pins are gone.

To begin, parents order durable water-resistant diaper covers made from an ultra-soft polyester fabric that is more breathable than plastic or vinyl. The diaper covers come in prints for boys and girls.

For $22 a week, Blessed Bums delivers prefolded organic-cloth diapers to the parents’ home. The cloth diaper sits inside the diaper cover. The diaper covers have closures that allow the cloth diaper and cover to be closed at once, just as with disposable diapers.

Blessed Bums picks up the soiled diapers, replacing them with fresh diapers. Parents do not need to rinse or soak the dirty diapers, and they are provided with a reusable pail liner for storage.

The company also offers other baby products.

Blessed Bums has a pre-set sanitization process for the dirty diapers, including  warm-water rinses, soaking, hot washes, two rinses and even a natural sun-bleaching process for stubborn stains.

Considerate of sensitive baby skins, the company uses oxygenated bleaches that do not contain chlorines. The multiple rinses are to ensure all soap is removed from the diapers.

Expecting any day
Gately, nine months pregnant, is expecting their first child any day. The couple plan to deliver the baby naturally using a midwife.

Blessed Bums can be at (661) 755-6982 and products and services can be found at www.blessedbums.com.

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