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Fair trade/child labor and prefold diaper manufacturing

1550 Views 20 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  BCmamaof6
Does anyone know about the labor practices used in the manufacture of Chinese and Indian prefolds?

I'm trying my best to support fair trade, and I'm needing new dipes... I'd hate to think of sweatshop or slave labor producing them. Textiles are notoriously bad for this sort of thing.

Anyone got the definitive skinny on this?
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how about organic cotton ones? I love mine, and organics are supportive of fair trade
Are there any organic cotton prefolds that compare in price (like within 10%) to conventionally farmed cotton prefolds?

I am unable to pay more than about 2-3 dollars per diaper, shipped, you see.
I have wondered this too...
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I'm moving this to activism where you might be able to get some better answers.
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I also haven't seen toddler size organic prefolds.
How about buying fabric and sewing your own? Or buying them from a WAHM who sews them herself (or a WAHD who sews them himself)?

Maybe check out eBay and the Trading Post for secondhand dipes that you KNOW were fairtrade-sewn (like from a WAHM/D) if you can't afford the "fair trade" ones brand new?
IIRC the chinese prefolds are not made in china, and there is no issue of shild labor/etc. you might wanna try a seach in the diaper forum b/c i know it has been asked and i think a WAHM who buys the mass produced CPFs said she has asked.

sorry no specifics
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I am making my own, actually - I found this awesome pattern!

Anyone can sew four straight lines!
I'd say, as with many things, your most earth friendly as well as socially friendly option is to look for some used. All my CPFs are on their second or third home, and going strong. I got some from a friend, and a whole bunch of toddler size off of Freecycle. I see them often in the TP as well.
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Originally Posted by radish
IIRC the chinese prefolds are not made in china, and there is no issue of shild labor/etc. you might wanna try a seach in the diaper forum b/c i know it has been asked and i think a WAHM who buys the mass produced CPFs said she has asked.

sorry no specifics

I tried searching the diaper forum and couldn't find this. Anyone else have better luck?

Also, doesn't the production of the fabric, in addition to the sewing of the diaper, involve labor issues?

Too bad this thread got moved from diapering. I would think a lot of people would be interested in this issue over there.
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I tried searching Diapering as well, got nothing.

I think that buying used or making your own are fine semi-solutions but they don't address my original question. And yes the sewing is one part of the exploitative labor issue and the manufacture of the cloth is one part and the growing/harvesting of the cotton is one part as well. Textiles aren't quite as bad as chocolate but they're close!

I wonder how you would find out? I agree with you ZM - the WAHMs who resell prefolds in Diapering would either know about this or be able to find out, I'd think.

Perhaps a follow-up thread is in order over there.
I am pretty sure it was a a site like diaperhyena that had all of teh info about the textile manufacturer...sorry not much help. maybe try emailing green textiles directely???

I can tell you what I know of Chinese Prefolds from talking to Philippa at Green Earth Textiles. She said that although they require that their private set-up does not use child labor, and although they go and inspect - walk - a couple of times a year, there is absolutely NO WAY they can 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt, guarantee there is no child labor used.

It was an honest question that she did not skirt ... she simply laid it out there.

I would not believe anyone that said that they could guarantee there is no child labor used when a product is produced overseas. Unless they are regularly at the plant, they simply cannot KNOW.

Hope that helps.

Oh, and ...
how's that baby?
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I would go the second hand route, too. They'd be softer and you would know that you were not supporting child labor or other unfair and dehumanizing practices. Another idea would be to use some flats, which could be receiving blankets that you already have, or ones from the thrift store.
Or you could buy a few new oc prefolds now, and keep saving your money and buy a few more every month or so until you have all you need.
This is a toughie.
hi let me know where you are getting your indian prefolds and i will try to find out. i am from india and i got my cds there last time i went. of course my dd went coverless and then diaperless pretty rapidly (by american standards) so no issue of toddler size diapers which you are right, are not available in india - since toddlers are out of diapers there.

ANYWAY i am pretty sure the ones i bought would not be made with child labor jsut because it was a pretty small outfit producing and selling them. but if you have otehr sources of indian prefolds that you can tell me about i would put in some effort to find out their production conditions. i am planning to go again this winter.

thanks for raising the issue. it is very impt!! i also agree with the folks who recommended buying local / making your own -- always the fairest system.
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