When You Cut Trash Collection To Every Two Weeks, Parents Will Still Find A Way To Get Rid Of Dirty Diapers

In Oct. 2011, Portland, Oregon, switched from weekly trash pickups to an every other week system, which is fine for many people who probably just needed to invest in another garbage can or two to hold that additional refuse. Additionally, the city had a weekly pickup for recycling and its new composting program, so smelly bottles, cans, and food scraps were being hauled away every seven days. But some parents of babies with stinky diapers are not waiting for that next garbage truck to swing by, and are instead tossing out the dirty diapers with the recycling.

See, Portland continues to do weekly recycling pickups, and all those empty cereal boxes and soup cans provide all the nooks and crevices a desperate parent might need to stash a dirty diaper and rid their house of the stink without having to wait another week.

“It started when the city went to every other week garbage pickup,” the president of Far West Fibers, which handles much of the curbside recycling for Portland, tells Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Prior to that you’d get a dirty diaper maybe once a month. Now we get 60 pounds per shift. It’s not pretty.”

So that once-monthly dirty diaper has grown into 120 pounds per day.

And it used to be worse when the twice-monthly garbage collection schedule began — 90 pounds per shift (presumably 180 pounds per day). But efforts to tag and cite recycling bins full of trash have helped somewhat.

“In the grand scheme of things, the amount of dirty diapers we get is an extremely small percentage, but it’s by far the most disgusting percentage,” said the Far West Fibers president. “It’s never a good idea to expose your employees to dirty diapers. It’s nothing I ever thought I’d have to do, nor do I want to keep doing it.”