“It's a challenge, but it's worth it,” says Better Bottoms Diapers co-owner, Michelle Vargas, when asked about her experience as a sustainable business owner in New Orleans. Better Bottoms is a family owned and operated cloth diaper service that believes quality, comfort and performance are essential to cloth diapering. Better Bottoms strives to meet these requirements by offering convenient cloth diaper pick-up and drop off service, as well as providing a large variety of excellent diapering options, ranging from prefolds to all-in-ones, and all the necessary accessories in between. The practice of cloth diapering provides families with a healthy and natural option for babies while also decreasing the incredible environmental impact of disposable diapers. This impact amounts to over 20 billion disposable diapers dumped into landfills each year in the US alone resulting in more than 3.5 million tons of waste (statistics reported by the E.P.A.). Furthermore, 200,000 trees each year are lost to the manufacture of disposable diapers in addition to the 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil it takes to make the diapers. While most disposable diapers are said to be biodegradable, there is debate to how successfully diapers decompose in landfills without ideal conditions. Above and beyond their service and products, Better Bottoms strives to incorporate sustainable practices into their business systems and environment. Their office and facility has energy efficient lighting, power management software, and water-efficient washers. They have also reduced their waste by eliminating plastic bags, introducing recycling, and recently moving to a paperless billing system. Learn more about their social and environmental impacts on their Impact Directory Profile (http://mylifecity.com/organization/better-bottoms/). Interested in learning more about cloth diapering as an option for your family? On April 21st, Better Bottoms Diapers is partnering with Zuka Baby, another LifeCity Business Member, to raise awareness for cloth diapers by participating in the “Great Cloth Diaper Change.” Last Year, these two businesses contributed to setting a world record for the most babies changed into cloth diapers at the same time. Last year’s record was set at 8,251 babies changed in almost 200 locations on 4 different continents worldwide. LifeCity had the opportunity to sit down with Better Bottoms Diapers Co-owner, Michelle Vargas, to ask her about her experience as a green business in New Orleans. 1) What are some of your proudest moments as owner of Better Bottoms Diapers? “The best part of my job is when I get to interact with our babies! When they come into the shop for merchandise or just to say hi, it's always great to get to hold the babies. One of my proudest moments was when I realized that in our 4+ years in business we have kept over 175,000 diapers out of area landfills, which is over 35 tons of waste. We LOVE to claim those numbers!” 2) What are some of the greatest challenges Better Bottoms faces in accomplishing its mission? “Preconceived stereotypes of cloth diapers are definitely the greatest challenge we face, and they are all outdated and incorrect. We are always working to educate parents on the benefits of cloth and letting them know that new inventions have made cloth just as dependable and leak free as disposables.” 3) How does your business go about improving your social and environmental impacts? What kind of social and environmental impact do you hope to accomplish in the Green Games this year? “We take pride in the fact that we diaper so many New Orleans area babies. And along with their parents, we keep tons of waste out of our landfills. In addition, we have recently switched to paperless billing, which we are very excited about. It was one of the last cost effective changes left for us to make and one of our goals set as a LifeCity Business Member.” 4) What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a business? “We have partnered with LifeCity because we needed someone to look at our business from the outside and see the simple things we could change that we had overlooked. A perfect example was switching our invoicing system to a paperless one. It was so simple, and so necessary, but we just didn't see it.” 5) If you had a magic wand to change one thing that would make it easier for your business to make a difference, what would that thing be? “I would love for more day care providers to give cloth a chance! When our parents have to go back to work, they are forced to purchase disposables for their day care providers, when research shows that when a day care gives the cloth a chance, they typically realize how easy it is and don't have a problem allowing their cloth users to continue. It all goes back to the inaccurate stereotypes about cloth diapers.” 6) What advice would you give to other organizations or businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit our City? “It's a challenge, but it's worth it. Our city and our families are worth it.” LifeCity thanks Better Bottoms Diapers for embodying our mission of sustainability by improving our community’s environmental and social impacts one cloth-diapered baby at a time. Good luck in the Green Games this year!