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A change for the better

Capital District moms set out to save the environment, one cloth diaper at a time

For parents who are struggling to find ways to become more environmentally friendly while taking a natural approach to baby care, Capital District mompreneurs  Vikki Casey-Ahmed and Ashlee Phelan have two words: cloth diapering. Casey-Ahmed, the founder of Sonrise Diaper Service, and Phelan, who started Green Horizon Diaper Service, ditched disposables in favor of cloth diapers, which they believe are healthier for babies and the environment, and they are making it easier for other parents to do the same.

Both mothers started their businesses in their homes after recognizing the negative effects disposables were having on their babies and lives.

“When I had the twins, we went through, when they were first born, about 140 diapers a week,” said Casey-Ahmed. “They actually took up physical space in the garbage area of the house. I just saw how much garbage we were producing.”

Casey-Ahmed started cloth diapering her children. Soon, other people were asking her what service she was using.

“I was like, ‘my service,’” Casey-Ahmed said. She decided to start her own business, Sonrise, in July 2009.

After having her daughter, Phelan had a similar experience.

“I wanted to use cloth on her and there were no diaper services around at the time,” Phelan said. “I knew there had to be more people wanting this – everyone’s going green.”

In November 2009, Phelan began the Green Horizon Diaper Service, based in Rensselaer.

“From the second we started, we were getting all this positive feedback,” she said.

Since Sonrise’s inception, Casey-Ahmed has expanded the business to include educational outreach at the Family Life Center and Honest Weight Food Co-Op in Albany. These hands-on workshops allow her to show parents the major different types of cloth diapers available, and she has partnered in recent months with other advocates for natural baby care for workshops and seminars. She also shares brick-and-mortar space with Polkadots children's consignment store in Guilderland.

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