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The most useless, yet costly, nursery item you can buy

Posted by Bryana on 8/10/2007 to Green Living

Your friends are about to throw you a baby shower. You are so excited and hop off to your local baby supercenter to register. Maybe you go to two or three places, after all this is your first, second, or fifteenth baby and YOU NEED STUFF. It is an exciting time - a time for planning and implementing, and if you're like the majority of us, a time to save where you can.

This is where I come in and offer you one piece of sage advice. The most useless and costly nursery item you can register to buy is a Diaper Genie®, or "like" contraption. I know, I know, you're thinking, "Where will I put all those stinky, smelly diapers?" No worries, I'm here for you - hear me out and you'll find this advice to be a blessing for your checkbook and meaningful for the environment your child will grow up in.

If you are considering a Diaper Genie®, most likely you are NOT considering cloth diapers. So, let's talk money first. Diaper Genie's® are NOT cheap. You say, "Well, I'm not buying it - my Aunt Martha is buying it for me." I get that, but who do you think will purchase the refills? Right - that would be YOU.

Diaper Genie® refills are not cheap at around $6.00 each (and this is if you buy online in multiples of 3 or more). I realize there are things called SALES and opportunities here and there to get a "steal", but for the most part, you are going to outlay the cost of a matinee movie ticket each time you purchase a refill. Each refill, according to the Playtex website, holds more than 30 small diapers. How much more? Well, the Diaper Genie® is not a large contraption, so you can be assured, NOT MUCH more. With that bit of knowledge, let's do the math.

If the average newborn needs anywhere from 12 to 18 diaper changes/daily, a single refill will last somewhere between 2 to 3 days. You will need no less than 2 Diaper Genie® refills/week at about $12.00/week. That is around $48.00/month on refills alone. That is $48.00 going straight to a landfill. Even if I wasn't concerned about the environment, the money outlay alone would cause me to reconsider this nursery item.

It might not be heavy on your mind, but give me a second to touch on the environmental issue of disposable diapers. The basis of the Diaper Genie® system is to wrap up your diaper and seal away odor. I've been in many nurseries that use these, including my own with my first child, and I can certainly dispell that myth right here. It doesn't matter if you have an atmospheric vacuum in your nursery - when you change a soiled diaper, the air is going to stink for a while. And if you seal a soiled diaper inside a pail of any sort, when you open that lid, it will release a stench strong enough to burn your eyebrows right off.

Read what a pro-disposable diaper, Diaper Genie® owner wrote:
"My guy friends with Diaper Genies had warned me about the smell (the pro and con Diaper Genie factions seem split by gender), and they didn't exaggerate. On warmer days, parts of our house smelled like the Tenderloin District in San Francisco. The Diaper Champ itself reeked like a dog had chased a cat that was chasing a rat inside of it, and they all died. Even when it was empty, the smell was almost as strong -- to the point where cleaning or even bleaching wouldn't matter. All this comes from someone who has broken his nose two or three times, and hasn't smelled much of anything since 1989."  ⇒The Diaper Genie: Great invention or instrument of evil?

Disposable diapers full of bodily waste WILL STINK no matter where you put them. I say "disposable diapers" because cloth diaper pails are full of cloth diapers that have been rinsed free of any bodily waste before being placed in the pail. Not to say cloth diaper pails do not retain their own smell, but the odor is significantly less acrid.

Disposable diapers contain a layer of waterproof plastic on their outer shell. By placing a disposable diaper inside a Diaper Genie®, you add yet another layer of plastic - plastic that, if you have the original version, twists the diaper up into little poop sausages. Then, when you empty the long string of poop sausages from the base of the Diaper Genie® and place it in yet another plastic bag to set at your curb for pick-up, you have successfully entombed that poop or pee diaper under three layers of plastic. Whether or not it takes 500 years for a disposable diaper to break down in landfills becomes irrelevant, because the factors necessary to break down that diaper (sun, air, etc...) will never be able to work.

If it is your desire to use disposable diapers on your child, I would encourage you to peruse online cloth diaper sites such as ours for more information on why cloth diapering is a viable alternative to disposable diapers. No matter what you do, remember that the Diaper Genie® will do you no favors and make a wiser choice in a diaper pail.