What to do with diapers?


by Katharine Clarkson, Waste Reduction Programs Coordinator

Although the majority of our household waste can be diverted to either the blue box or the green bin, one common item cannot: Diapers.

As a result families with young children using disposable diapers will produce more waste. Luckily, there are means to reduce diaper waste and still meet the new garbage limits.

Choose reusable diapers with liners

The best and most obvious way to reduce your household waste is to replace those disposable diapers with reusable ones. Although reusable diapers are initially more expensive, they are cost effective for prolonged use.

To make using reusable diapers more convenient, consider buying disposable diaper liners to use in reusable diapers. Disposable liners will still produce waste that must go into the garbage but liner waste will be significantly less than using disposable diapers. This hybrid alternative may be enticing for those unsure about using reusable diapers.  For more information and helpful tips on using reusable diapers, visit the Real Diaper Association.

Where to find cloth diapers locally

Here are some stores and services to consider:

Take diapers to the landfill

If reusable diapers are definitely not an option for you, there are other opportunities to reduce your diaper waste. The Region of Waterloo will accept diapers in clear bags at either the Waterloo or Cambridge transfer station. While perhaps an inconvenient route for some families, directly dropping diapers off is one option to reduce your weekly household waste drastically if you are having difficulty meeting the new limits.

Aside from the free diaper drop off, there are no other free options for disposing of diapers other than in your own garbage. Nevertheless, using the blue box and green bin can reduce your household waste by over 60%, leaving plenty of room within the biweekly four-bag limit for diapers!

Minimize smell

To prepare your home and diapers for bi-weekly garbage pick up, consider using a diaper pail (Diaper Genie being a commonly known model) or another means of containment to manage the smell of soiled diapers. Emptying your diaper pail and putting the contained diapers in another bag or container is a sure way to continue to keep smells and pests away.


What do you do?

Do you have any tips to share on using cloth diapers? Or how to manage using disposables with the new rules and schedule? Share in the comment section below!

photo credit: PersonalCreations.com Baby Shower Diaper Cake via photopin (license)


  • By Laurel L. Russwurm 29 Mar 2017

    In praise of re-usable diapers:

    We happily used cloth diapers and disposable liners, and baby had almost no incidence of diaper rash. Because baby was breastfed, the odour was negligible. That is not just my subjective viewpoint– we went away for a week but forgot to empty the soiled diaper hamper beforehand. Out house sitter spent a week literally sleeping beside the full diaper hamper and never even noticed! (And was horrified to learn this fact when we we came home! 🙂

  • By [email protected] 29 Mar 2017

    Thanks for the feedback Laurel. It could help someone trying to decide if they will use cloth diapers.

  • By Emily 01 Mar 2018

    Dump solid waste from all diapers, including disposals, into the toilet, then child and wrap tightly into itself to decrease volume. I have a home day care, up to 4 in disposals, and we have one green garbage bag, total, of garbage every two weeks.

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