Making cloth diapers for environment

March 2, 2022

Sharan Kumari Gurung, a young mother of three makes reusable cloth diapers for living and to save environment

Sharan Kumari Gurung is a proud owner of Dhoriri, a green business that makes reusable cloth baby diapers. The growing waste problem has always bothered the mother of three and she wanted to do something about it.  An idea struck her in 2017 after she gave birth to her twin sons.

“There would be 10-12 soiled diapers going to the waste bin at home every day. It became clear that I must find an alternative," Sharan said.

This is how the idea of reusable cloth diaper came into being. And there has been no looking back since.

Sharan with her children

In August 2019, Sharan applied for Loden-UNDP Call for Business Proposal and was selected for support. “I wasn’t sure how people would react to my proposal. Receiving this support from Loden Foundation and UNDP has helped boost my confidence,” she said.

Sharan launched her business in 2021 and her reusable cloth diapers hit the stores by March 2021. Besides baby diapers, Sharan also makes reusable nursing pads and pillows for infants. She is all set to launch reusable cloth sanitary pads soon. 

One of many diapers designed by Sharan. This one is called Karma, Nima and Dawa, which means star, sun and moon in Bhutan's national language, Dzongkha.


Why reusable diapers?

Sharan says by opting for cloth diapers, parents help to: 

Reduce non-biodegradable waste. Urban families use around 2500 imported disposable diapers per child in the first year alone. In a child’s entire diapering period, about 4500- 6000 disposable diapers are used. This is around 1200 – 1300 kilograms of waste going to the landfill. What is worse is that diaper waste take more than 500 years to decompose.

Reusable diapers would increase water usage. However, research has shown that producing disposable diaper requires far more water.

Save costs. Using imported disposable diapers can cost a family around Nu 65,000 to Nu 80, 000 per baby in two-and-half to three-years of diapering period.

And it’s a healthier option. Cloth diapers are toxin free and gentle on baby’s delicate skin.

Check out Sharan's work HERE.

This story is part of our 'Women for Climate' series, which celebrates women and girls taking climate action in the lead of the International Women’s Day 2022. The theme for the day is “Gender equality for sustainable tomorrow”.

Studies have shown that climate change impacts women more than men. This is largely because women constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most.

At the same time, women are major actors in coping and adapting to the impacts of climate change, but their voices are not heard. Therefore, empowering women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality.

Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.

About Loden-UNDP Call for Business Porposal

Loden-UNDP collaboration that helped Sharan turn her business ideas into a reality was initiated to support innovative, climate friendly business proposals from youth and women entrepreneurs.  

The initiative was supported by the Gender-Responsive Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Implementation Project of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The project is implemented by the National Environment Commission (NEC) and National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) with fund support from the European Union (EU) and the Governments of Germany and Spain, the NDC Partnership and technical support from UNDP. It is aimed at supporting Bhutan in meeting its Paris Agreement commitments by scaling by investments in inclusive, gender-responsive climate actions. 

Also read:

Reducing Waste One Diaper at a Time

Mainstreaming gender in climate action