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18 April 2019
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Sian Walkling
Sian Walkling

4 December 2018 Sian Walkling

Sian Walkling argues for free sanitary products for women in washrooms. 

Last month Scotland became the first country in the world to make free sanitary products available to pupils and students, thanks to a new £5.2 million scheme for schools, colleges and universities. 

The goal is to end ‘period poverty’ – when girls and women struggle to afford sanitary products each month, which can affect their health and well-being. 


While it’s a more severe problem in the developing world, a survey by Plan International UK revealed that across the UK, 10 per cent of girls have struggled to afford sanitary products and 12 per cent have improvised sanitary wear due to affordability issues.

And in 2017, 350,000 UK women and girls missed a day of work or school because they lacked access to sanitary protection. 

It’s clear that facilities managers and employers have a duty of care to provide washroom facilities at workplaces. Female sanitary products are as essential in the washroom as soap, hand dryers and toilet paper.

Provision is as simple as placing products in a basket in the washroom or installing a small dispenser within the cubicle. But just as provision is vital, so too is adequate disposal options. These units can be manual, pedal, or automatic, and fit conveniently beside the toilet.

Hygiene units with automatic, or no-touch capabilities help to make sanitary disposal quick and easy, so users can dispose of their waste in the most ecological way possible, rather than flushing potentially harmful waste down the toilet. 

Businesses should procure a feminine hygiene waste disposal service to dispose of sanitary waste in a secure and environmentally friendly way. But the service provider must comply with UK rules such as the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations (1992), The Water Industries Act (1991), and the Environmental Protection Act (1990).

Sian Walkling is marketing manager at Initial Washroom Hygiene