Written by Hope Browne
Across workplace WCs worldwide, businesses are still breaking key laws as many employers have not stopped to think, are sanitary bins a legal requirement?
Meanwhile, some employers who have asked the question still fall foul of the law due to misunderstanding their legal duties.
Whether you are a small, medium, or large business, you must understand the laws that apply to you and how to comply with the sanitary bins legal requirements.
Does your company require sanitary bins?
If you have any female employees or a likelihood of female visitors, then YES, the UK law requires a sanitary bin, or an adequate means of disposing of sanitary products in bathrooms. This includes disabled and unisex bathrooms. Here’s why:
There are three laws that all business owners are legally required to comply with in terms of sanitary waste disposal legislation.
- Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 – this specifies that all businesses must provide a suitable means for sanitary product disposal in every ladies’ washroom.
- Water Industries Act 1991 – this states that no items that could cause build-up or blockage in a sewer or drain system should be flushed down the toilet. As tampons and pads are not dissolvable, when flushed they can lead to drain system blockages. Not providing sanitary bins, or a ‘suitable means’ for disposal, means flushing products is often the only option, and therefore your bathroom environment is violating the law.
- Environmental Protection Act 1990 – the “duty of care” policy in this act states that it is each business’ responsibility to correctly collect, store, and dispose of waste produced on the premises, including sanitary waste, and that employees should not be responsible for the management of this sanitary waste. Therefore, a means of collection and storage, aka a bin of some sort, must be provided.
All three laws intersect to undisputedly demonstrate that all businesses legally require some form of bin in any toilet used by a female. The worrying truth for those employers who are not providing a means of sanitary disposal is that they are breaking three pieces of sanitary waste disposal legislation simultaneously, risking large legal fines.
As some trans men and non-binary people menstruate, it is also important to provide a bin in male gendered bathrooms so that you are accommodating for the needs of clients and employees as well as abiding by the laws.
Another important question companies tend to ask concerning the sanitary bin requirement is:
"when is a simple bathroom bin OK, when do I need to hire a specialized contractor, and is feminine hygiene waste hazardous?"
Well the answer is quite simple, the three laws above show that, in any case, some form of sanitary bin is required. Yet, the quantity of waste per collection cycle decides what type of bin is legally required, how the waste must be disposed of, and by whom.
Sanitary Bins for Small/Medium Businesses
Sanitary waste is considered ‘offensive waste’, but low quantities of offensive waste are acceptable. The law states, if you produce under 7kg of sanitary waste per collection period (meaning each time your black bins are collected), you are not legally required to segregate your sanitary waste from your normal ‘black bag’ waste. ‘Black bag’ waste is discarded as normal, including the sanitary products, in the mixed municipal waste stream.
As a business, you can take the decision to hire a sanitary bin contractor and segregate the waste if you wish, but this is not legally required. However, every business must still provide a means of disposing of sanitary waste in order to comply with the aforementioned laws.
Sanitary Bins for Large Businesses
For quantities of over 7kg of sanitary waste per collection period, the law is more complex. It requires you to segregate sanitary waste from the mixed municipal waste. In other words, sanitary waste cannot simply go in the normal ‘black bag’ waste. Therefore, you must have a feminine hygiene unit, and engage a specialist washroom provider to ensure it is collected, stored, and disposed of properly.
Employing sanitary disposal experts is the norm, as they take control to ensure that sanitary waste disposal legislation is followed. This legislation includes effectively segregating, packaging, and labelling the sanitary waste produced, supplying feminine hygiene units and sanitary bags, maintaining and cleaning these units in between emptying, and documenting the audit trail, which must then be available and kept for two years after collection.
So, are Sanitary bins fab or not?
Of course they are!!!
All bathrooms that may be used by females must have an adequate bin for sanitary disposal. If you have a large footfall, then get a sanitary bin. If not, any bin will do. In both cases, FabLittleBag makes the experience of disposing of used pads and tampons a whole lot better, is more hygienic, and keeps the bins contamination free. Importantly the bags also help to educate and convert the FLUSHERS into BINNERS, therefore reducing costly blockages and keeping period pollution out the rivers and oceans.
Good for YOU; Good for BUSINESS; Good for OCEANS
THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN BY THE FABULOUS HOPE BROWNE
Providing bins and FabLittleBags, our very own sustainable disposal bags, is also in the interest of a business, and not simply due to avoiding fines.
Providing sanitary disposal bags will result in:
- Fewer blockages
- Fewer Out of Order loos
- Positively reducing the pollution in oceans
- Better experience
- Keeps bins clean and hygienic
- No bad smells
For restaurants especially, having clean and tidy toilets that are free from mal-odors is an essential consideration for a positive customer experience.