Having a baby comes with countless moments of joy. It also comes with many less joyful moments spent changing dirty diapers. New parents grossly underestimate the time and expense involved in keeping a baby’s bottom clean and, along with that, the smells that accompany that chore. Over the years, diaper bins have been modernized along with every other element of having a baby. As a parent, one of the most important decisions that need to be made involves the choice to use disposable or cloth diapers and the methods used to contain the mess from each choice.
Buying a diaper bin is not as simple as meets the eye.
Types of Diaper Bins
Once parents have decided on the types of diapers they will use, the decision on the type of diaper bin is pretty straightforward. However, there is some overlap in the types of diaper bins available for purchase.
Disposable Diaper Bins
Most parents these days use disposable diapers. Disposables are convenient and less work than their cloth counterparts. In addition, many more environmentally-friendly options exist that allow for composting the remains of the diapers. This means that diaper bin options for traditional disposable diapers are slightly different than for compostable diapers.
Traditional Disposable Diapers
No matter the brand each family prefers, the cheapest and most convenient option when it comes to disposable diapers is the traditional petroleum-based absorbent diapers offered by brand names. Getting rid of these diapers is as simple as throwing them in any trash can.
Diaper bins for traditional disposable diapers come in a range of sizes, but minimally should include a secure lid and a hands-free or one-handed disposal system that allows parents to hold onto a squirmy baby while tossing the waste. As baby ages, separate disposal of solid waste is recommended for odour control and sanitary reasons.
Compostable Disposable Diapers
For the busy but environmentally-conscious parent, choosing to use a disposable diaper that can be composted or flushed, can be the perfect compromise. Disposal of these diapers can be achieved through traditional diaper bins since the compostable diaper will degrade in a landfill. However, some parents may choose to add the diaper to their own compost pile, meaning that an alternative disposal system is necessary. Depending on the family’s needs and style of compost, any of the options listed here could work.
Cloth Diaper Bins
If parents decide to use cloth diapers, they are taking on a real challenge, but one with many rewards. Cloth diapers come in many shapes and models, and the way they are cleaned will differ as well. Parents can choose a wet or dry system, and either a traditional diaper bin or a laundry bag.
Before disposable diapers were available, parents had no choice of diapering system; all babies had cloth diapers. The use and laundering of these diapers was a complex task that involved pinning diapers onto baby and soaking them once soiled.
So-called wet diaper disposal systems involved first disposing of solid waste and then soaking the diapers in a solution of water, baking soda, and vinegar before moving them to the laundry. This system involved the use of a large, generally enamel pot that would sit either in the baby’s room or laundry room. These pots are still sold used; however, many modern parents who choose a wet disposal system simply use a plastic bin (either designed for disposables or cloth diapers) without a liner. The most important aspects of the wet disposal system are that the lid fits snugly on the bin and that it is left out of reach of baby.
This is the best system to use to eliminate odours. However, it is also the messiest and least convenient option. Plus, parents with older children and mobile babies may find that keeping the water away from the children is a problem.
Most parents who use cloth diapers obviously prefer the convenience of a dry disposable system. This still requires the flushing of solid waste in order to eliminate odours as well as facilitate the diaper cleaning process, however. Within the dry disposable system category there are two further options: traditional bins and laundry bags.
· Diaper Bins: Cloth diaper bins look like garbage cans. They can have either plastic or cloth liners. The cloth liners can be tossed directly into the laundry with the diapers, saving on waste.
· Laundry Bags: For parents who dislike plastic, or those who travel frequently, a laundry bag is also a great option with cloth diapers. These specially made bags are loaded from the top and then unzip from the bottom, allowing the diapers to drop directly into the laundry. The bag itself can be washed as well.
Disposable or Cloth Diaper Bins
Finally, some bins are crossovers. This means that they can be used for either disposable or cloth diapers. Many parents may not have decided on the diapering method they will use. Additionally, some may want to use disposables with newborns and then transition to cloth diapers as the baby ages and needs fewer changes. In these cases, finding a combination cloth/disposable diaper bin may be the right choice. Many of the same tips apply and the decision will depend on the parent’s needs and taste.
Diaper Bin Features
Regardless of the type of diapering system a parent chooses to use, the features of diaper bins are relatively consistent across models. However, which features may be of the most use to each family will obviously vary. Studying the available options will help make the diaper bin buying process go more smoothly.
Bags or Liners
The system that is chosen will largely dictate the liners that are used for the diaper bin. Many models, require brand-specific liners in order to work properly. Other systems may leave the option of plastic or cloth liners up to the parents. When deciding on which bin to purchase, take care to evaluate the expense of liners along with the convenience of a plastic bag versus a cloth bag system.
The frequency of trash runs will be dictated by two factors: capacity and smell. While no one can really control the latter of the two, the capacity of the diaper pail chosen is a simple choice. Be warned that many systems claim to hold many more diapers than they actually can, and that a growing baby will require growing diapers, continuing to limit each bin’s holding capacity.
This is a no-brainer. While a newborn cannot get into a diaper pail, a mobile infant and toddler can and will. Make sure that the lid on the diaper bin is secure so that the baby cannot gain access to his own waste.
The degree to which odours need to be managed will vary as baby ages. Infants who are exclusively breastfed produce less-foul-smelling waste then those who are formula fed. Once baby starts solids, all bets are off. Therefore, the need to control odours will (eventually) be very important in all households.
The most efficient and environmentally-sound way to control odours is to flush solid waste before disposing of the diaper. This should be done for disposable as well as cloth diapers since landfills really shouldn’t be home to human waste. After that, many different diaper bins offer odour control solutions that vary from air filters to antimicrobial sealants.
Buying a Diaper Bin
Once the parents have decided what type of diapering system they will use and what type of disposal system fits their needs, the buying process for a diaper bin is pretty straightforward. Most major retail outlets carry well-known brands both in stores and online. Diaper bins are generally inexpensive as compared to other baby items such as a crib or stroller and therefore make really great baby shower gifts.
Since the safety hazards of diaper bins are minimal, hand-me-downs, yard sale, and other used units are an acceptable purchase. However, it is important to make sure that the bin still has a tight, child-proof seal and, if it’s an older model with specialized liners, that the required material is still available for purchase.
Like many baby items, deciding to purchase a diaper bin is filled with several lesser choices. Parents need to consider what type of diapers they will use, disposable or cloth, and what sort of time they are willing to invest in the diaper disposal process. Diaper bins on the market today offer several features that can aid in that process which need to be considered along with the diapering system.
Once parents are ready to purchase a diaper bin, there are several places to choose from, as well as both new and used options. The variety of sellers on eBay can help parents to find the right diaper bin with ease and many times will offer bundled deals that set parents up for baby’s grand arrival.