Sian Walkling, Marketing Manager, Initial Washroom Hygiene
Last month, Scotland became the first country in the world to make free sanitary products available to all pupils and students, thanks to a new £5.2 million scheme for schools, colleges and universities. The move made by the Scottish government seeks to address the scourge of ‘period poverty,’ when girls and women struggle to afford basic sanitary products each month, which can in turn have a major effect on their hygiene, health and wellbeing.
While a more severe problem in the developing world, it is remarkable how many girls and women in developed nations have experienced or are experiencing ‘period poverty.’ This is still happening across the UK and is described as a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. In fact, a survey by Plan International UK revealed that 10% of girls have struggled to afford sanitary products; while 12% reported having to improvise sanitary wear due to affordability issues.
Ensuring access to sanitary products is not an issue unique to schools, colleges and universities. In the workplace, facilities managers and employers also have a duty of care towards their visitors and employees to ensure they provide appropriate washroom facilities.
Taking a step towards ending Period Poverty
Increasingly, certain organisations are focusing on the fact that female sanitary products are as essential an item in the washroom as soap, hand dryers and toilet paper, and some facilities including a number of football clubs are now offering complimentary tampons and sanitary towels in their female washrooms.
One way to offer free sanitary products to female washroom users can be to place a basket of products within the washroom. Another option is to provide access to products via a small dispenser within the cubicle, giving women the opportunity to dispense products for free and in private. Housed in a discrete, compact unit, typically located alongside the toilet roll holder, washroom users who cannot afford them or who have simply been caught unaware are provided with easy and free access to sanitary products.
In 2017, 350,000 UK women and girls missed a day of work or school because they did not have access to sanitary protection when they required it. In the future, it is hoped that girls and women will be able to leave the house with the confidence that they can rely on the necessary facilities to provide everything they need to go about their day in comfort.
Customer care doesn’t stop at provision
While providing access to products essential for sanitary hygiene, attention should also be given to providing a discrete and hygienic disposal service. Providing female washroom visitors with sanitary disposal units is a vital consideration for the maintenance of a clean and pleasant washroom environment. Available in a range of styles, including manual, pedal, and automatic, these units have been designed to sit conveniently beside the toilet. To enhance washroom facilities further, Initial’s hygienic sanitary units contain a unique insert, called ‘Biofresh.’ This offers exceptional control of any bad odours, as well as containing an anti-microbial solution, insect repellent and a pleasant citrus fragrance.
Ensuring you provide the right facilities within your washroom cubicles will also encourage proper waste disposal. Hygiene units with automatic, or no-touch capabilities help to make sanitary disposal quick and easy, ensuring users can dispose of their waste in the most ecological way possible, rather than flushing potentially harmful waste down the toilet.
Out of sight, out of mind, out of trouble
Where waste disposal units are required, it’s essential that collected waste can be disposed of both efficiently and sustainably. By employing a feminine hygiene waste disposal service, businesses can help to dispose of sanitary waste in a secure, sensitive and environmentally friendly way. It is also important to check that the approach you choose is fully compliant with UK regulations.
Sanitary waste disposal within the UK is governed by legislation, and UK businesses need to be sure they are compliant with this. Adhering to sanitary waste disposal regulations ensures businesses comply with the safe disposal of sanitary waste according to The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992), The Water Industries Act (1991), and the Environmental Protection Act (1990).
Providing complimentary sanitary products takes care of one basic need that many girls and women have, and installing a compact and discrete dispenser, located inside the cubicle itself helps preserve dignity and privacy. School and work days shouldn’t be missed because of a lack of sanitary protection. Offering free sanitary hygiene products is a small and relatively easy step that can be taken to prevent this happening in the future.
For more information please feel free to contact us or call us on 0808 231 9212, and we will be more than happy to help.