Hygienic and dignified washrooms are something that everybody should have access to and whether it is in a workplace, restaurant, school or public area – there is no excuse for inadequate bathrooms.

It is the responsibility of the owner, designated manager or employer to ensure that all washrooms provide suitable facilities for clean and hygienic use of the toilet and handwashing as well as appropriate feminine hygiene units.

Failure to provide facilities with these in place can not only lead to poor hygiene but unhappy employees, customers, visitors and additional environmental, legal and financial consequences.

What is a sanitary bin or unit?

Sanitary bins encourage the discrete and hygienic disposal of sanitary products in washrooms. These usually come in the form of small, enclosed bins that sit beside the toilet and come in a range of styles such as manual, automatic and pedal.

They need to be emptied regularly by an accredited, licensed company to ensure that all disposal is properly regulated and that there is a comprehensive paper trail.

Why are sanitary disposal bins so important?

  • Sanitary bins are crucial for the comfort, dignity and hygiene of females using the washroom to ensure that they have a clean and discrete way to dispose of sanitary products.
  • When there are no alternative means of disposal, most women have no choice except to flush it down the toilet. This can be harmful to drains and sewers causing issues with plumbing that are costly to repair.
  • Flushing sanitary products is not environmentally friendly because they often end up in the sea polluting the water. Even tampons which most people believe are fine to flush actually take around 6 months to dissolve. Sanitary pads or towels can take anywhere between 500-800 years to fully break down. 

Are sanitary bins a legal requirement?

As a building owner, manager, business owner or designated facilities manager it will be your legal responsibility to provide and adhere to sanitary waste disposal regulations. These include;

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulation 1992 – This recommends that all female toilet facilities contain an appropriate bin or unit for sanitary waste.

The Water Industries Act 1991 – States that sanitary waste should not be flushed down the toilets due to the harm it can cause to the sewer system or drains and that a suitable alternative (bin) must be in place to prevent this happening.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 – This imposes a ‘Duty of Care’ on individual, businesses and organisations, holding them responsible for the correct management of their waste, right up to the point of final disposal.

There is a risk of significant penalties for businesses, owners and individuals who do not take the necessary steps to conform to the required legislations.

No female should have to worry about disposing of their sanitary products and it’s important to put in place necessary measures to provide a clean, discreet, hygienic and convenient method of disposal no matter where the washroom is, be it an office, school, restaurant or high street.