In the spring of 2013, shortly before my son was born, I made the choice to eventually use cloth rather than disposable diapers and purchased a variety of sizes and styles of secondhand diaper covers and diaper inserts through Kijiji. Based on the recommendation of a close friend and fellow cloth-diapering mama, most of my purchases ended up being a brand of diaper called AppleCheeks™.
AppleCheeks™ (or “AC” as they are called by their savvier online fans) is a Montreal-based company established in 2008 by two moms, Amy Appleton Venu and Ilana Grostern, which gained particular fame and fortune when they were featured on CBC Television’s Dragon’s Den reality show in 2012. Their “fabulous washable diapering system” boasts advantages beyond being locally designed and manufactured: they offer two different sizes (providing a more generous and longer lasting fit) and a unique envelope cover design, similar to a pocket diaper, that allows absorbent inserts to come right out in the wash (meaning less contact with the pleasant bodily gifts bestowed upon us by our babies!).
Over and above their practical use, though, these AC ladies have successfully established their brand as a trendy must-have for any cloth-diapering parent, specifically through the crafty marketing of their wide selection of diaper cover colours (sold in-store and online for approximately $20 CAD each through retailers across Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia). With strategically planned and widely promoted online release events every few months, an attractive selection of limited edition prints and colours, and the regular ‘retirement’ of older colours (resulting in a crazy world of discontinued and therefore hard-to-find or “HTF” diapers), AC have created an immense customer and fan base resulting in some unbelievable and unprecedented milestones. Case in point: a used size 2 diaper cover in the very-much-sought-after HTF colour of ‘Samoa’ (a pinky-coral) recently sold through an online auction site for an astonishing $455.
If you’re like me, you have probably begun calculating how many brand new diaper covers/car payments/meals/bottles of wine one could have purchased for that amount of money. Did I mention that this was a second-hand diaper, an item that is intended to catch and has on many occasions already caught the urine and feces of at least one child? I wrestle with a mix of awe and disdain but I have to applaud AC—either way, sales such as this clearly demonstrate that they know how to effectively market a product, but they have also, in turn, succeeded in convincing many parents in Canada and around the world to make the more sustainable choice of cloth diapering.
Cost and health benefits often factor into a parent’s decision to cloth diaper, but for many of us, whether we are AC addicts or cloth diaper converts of another persuasion, one of the driving forces behind our choice is the goal of reducing our ecological footprint. Cloth diapering is arguably a more sustainable alternative to using disposable diapers, to which a growing volume of research can attest. It takes an estimated 250-500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose in a landfill, and according to Environment Canada, over four million of these single-use diapers are disposed of in Canada every day. The cumulative volume of this diapering practice is staggering—just imagine the diaper waste facing our children’s children years from now, and the potential environmental hazards that can result when the human and chemical waste of all of those diapers begins assaulting natural resources like our local groundwater supply. Research shows that through conscientious in-home laundering of cloth diapers (such as washing larger loads in natural laundry detergent using a high-efficiency washer during off-peak times and line-drying), individuals can reduce the environmental impact of diapering even further.
AppleCheeks™ have also done their research, and have made it available on their website and blog to support cloth diapering initiatives, as well as a consumer’s choice in their products. Furthermore, the founders of AC also advocate for environmental conservation by naming the David Suzuki Foundation their company Charity of Choice—any AC charity event plus a percentage of any profits will go to support this Canadian organization and their solution-focused efforts.
So whether parents select AppleCheeks™ in order to reduce the environmental impact of diapering their children, or they choose AppleCheeks™ because the pink of their Samoa diaper cover matches the ruffles on their child’s clothes and would be a perfect combination for their next baby photo shoot/Instagram post/Facebook profile picture, in either case their support of this company will carry a range of benefits for parent, child, and potentially even generations to come.