How to manage dirty diapers when only one garbage bag a week is permitted at the curb

With the looming change to garbage pick-up in Sudbury, the city is reminding residents of its support programs, including those for parents who have young children in diapers.

Greater Sudbury providing exemptions and rebates to help families with diaper disposal

For parents who use disposable diapers, the City of Greater Sudbury offers a diaper waste exemption. Households must apply, and if approved, will be allowed to put one clear bag of dirty diapers with garbage pick-up, for every child under the age of 4. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

Dirty diapers can add up after a week, leaving some parents in Sudbury wondering about how they'll manage to keep their household waste down to just one bag.

The one garbage bag per household rule takes effect Oct. 1.

However there's good news for parents with children in diapers. They can apply for an exemption, says Renee Brownlee, manager of recycling and collection with the City of Greater Sudbury.

"For every approved child that's under the age of four years old on the program they will be allowed a clear bag of diapers only."
Renee Brownlee is the manager of recycling and collection at the City of Greater Sudbury. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Brownlee says the one bag limit for garbage is meant to help residents maximize their diversion and use all of the city's programs: blue box recycling, green cart organics, leaf and yard lawn trimmings and furniture and appliances.

"It's not there to punish people who may have some temporary circumstances, such as young children in diapers."

Benefits for using cloth diapers

For those parents who choose cloth diapers for their babies, the city has a rebate they can tap into.

Brownlee says parents can apply for up to $100, to offset the purchase cost of the cloth diapers.

"There are people using it and it's exciting to see that it's growing in popularity," says Jennifer Babin-Fenske, coordinator with EarthCare Sudbury.

She calls the cloth diaper rebate a great option for parents looking to save money and help the environment.

"Many years ago cloth diapers were the norm and then disposable became the norm and so it's nice to see that flow and the transition back to more interest in cloth diapers."

Brownlee reminds any Sudbury resident wanting to take advantage of these support programs that they must apply first, whether it's for the cloth diaper rebate or the diaper waste exemption for garbage pick-up.

"Each circumstance is different and we leave it up to the parent to choose which is better for their family, lifestyle or child and that's why we have both available."

Other support programs for medical or pet exemption

Brownlee adds the city has other support programs designed to help residents who may have temporary or extraordinary circumstances that may require a waste exemption, for example medical circumstances.

Starting Sept. 1, the city will be launching its pet waste exemption program, which will allow pet owners an additional clear bag of pet waste to be placed with their one weekly bag of garbage.

Residents must apply for all exemptions, and to be eligible, households must be taking part in other diversion programs like recycling and composting.

About the Author

Angela Gemmill


Angela Gemmill is a CBC journalist who has covered news in Sudbury, Ont., for 13 years. Connect with her on Twitter @AngelaGemmill. Send story ideas to


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