Infuriating actions by large corporations are often the impetus for new business ventures, including green ones.
When UK mom, Sarah Bennett, potty-trained her two toddlers she decided to sell her pre-owned cloth diapers on E-Bay. She was surprised and annoyed to find that E-bay had changed their policy, refusing to allow their sale and reclassifying them as “adult material”. (Go figure.)
Turning to classified ads, she found them frustrating as many ads were not removed after sale, she had little information about the seller and arranging for pick up and payment was time consuming. And so, she started an auction site for used diapers from her kitchen table. And was an immediate success.
Ms. Bennett, in an e-mail, told me :
We launched Used Nappies (nappy is the British term for diaper!) last April and it’s been more successful than we possibly imagined – over 7000 auctions have completed in the nine months since we launched.
Now Ms Bennett has expanded her service to the United States and launched My Used Diapers. The auction website enables sale of both diapers and diaper covers and uses Paypal to complete transactions. In the first few weeks the site has received over 6000 hits with new users registering every day, though Bennett has had to do some tinkering with the site. Bennett explained:
We’ve found there are some cultural differences in the U.S. with a greater concern of ‘scammers’, so after a customer made a suggestion we have added the ability for customers to import their eBay feedback to give confidence to buyers and sellers.
In the US, close to 20% of all diapering is done with cloth. Moms make the choice primarily for health reasons, cloth diapers tend to be more comfortable for baby and prevent some skin irritation. It’s also considered the more environmentally friendly choice…though that is up for debate. (While disposable diapers go into landfills, cloth diapers use up more natural resources in the laundering process.)
Recycling cloth diapers however definitely tips the scales to the ecologically sound side.
Washable cloth diapers offer parents an alternative to disposables, providing a real opportunity to reduce waste and the impact on the environment. The Real Diaper Association estimate that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the U.S. with over 92% of all single-use diapers ending up in landfill(s)…
Ms Bennett’s goals however, are more direct; provide a service that parents need.
We’re never going to make our fortune doing this… We just want to make it easy for parents to buy and sell used diapers.
Related posts:Saving The Planet One Diaper at a Time
Photo courtesy of http://www.myuseddiapers.com/