Sanitary Bins: The Success Of Sanitation
A History Of Female Waste Management The disposal of female sanitary products has come a long way over the last century, from environmenstrual campaigning to changes in legislation. The need for women to have a safe and discreet way to dispose of their sanitary products is not a new problem, yet it is only in the last few decades that sanitary bins have become the recognised solution. In the early twentieth century, buildings that were frequented by women used a system called Southall’s cremators to burn their sanitary items. But for those places where cremators weren’t installed, the options were either to hide, flush or take home their sanitary items. During the Second World War, the Medical Women’s Federation discovered that 75 of 112 schools had no method of waste management for sanitary items. Since then, the situation has improved enormously. WEN’s Environmenstrual Campaigns During the 1970s, the female workforce was booming, at a time where menstrual product use was now preferred over washable alternatives. As sanitary bins found their place in the market, the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) started to research and campaign for better waste management methods. It’s a sad fact that as far back as 50 years ago, environmentalists were already attempting to raise awareness of the impact that our actions have on landfill usage and the oceans. Recognising the problems that women faced in discreetly disposing of an embarrassing product, the WEN launched their environmenstrual campaign which was heavily covered by British media and urged women to stop flushing. Focus On Hygiene In 1979, Rentokil carried out a bacteria survey of 400 sanitary products where it was discovered that in excess of 70% contained traces of faecal matter and other bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus. Along with increasing research and concern about the spread of HIV in the 1980s, employers were motivated to provide solutions to aid in the disposal of female products. Sanitary bins lined with chemicals became a normal fixture in any workplace and public bathroom. This was solidified by changes to legislation that came into effect during the early 1990s. In particular, the 1991 Water Industries Act specified that no sanitary waste should be disposed of with toilet flushing as it could cause potential damage to a sewer or drain. Furthermore, the 1992 Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulation encouraged all businesses to stock sanitary waste solutions in all of their female toilets. The Future Of Sanitary Disposal Although the sanitary disposal situation has improved immensely over the last century, it’s thought that around 39% of women have had to resort to flushing away tampons or sanitary pads at some point. Therefore, it’s essential that companies are vigilant in providing discreet methods of waste management to assist women. Ideally, sanitary bins should be found in each toilet cubicle, so that women are not forced to dispose of their items in front of others using the communal washroom. Sanitary bag dispensers are also a convenient way to encourage that these items are wrapped safely to prevent the possibility of germs being spread. Finally, the latest design in bins allows for them to be either automatic or pedal-operated, so that there’s no need to touch the surface of the bin – this removes the likelihood of bacterial cross-contamination. With the existence of sanitary bin collection services that are fully eco-friendly and promise zero to landfill, it’s fair to say that employers have no excuse but to look after their female employees and invest in both hygiene and the environment whilst doing so!