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Business owners are legally required to adhere to a range of sanitary waste disposal regulations, benefitting health and safety as well as the environment.



What is a sanitary bin? 

A sanitary bin is a type of bin provided, normally within toilet facilities, which allows the hygienic disposal of feminine hygiene products.


The bins should be fully enclosed so that the users cannot view any waste contained within the bin and operate a no-touch system for example with a foot pedal or sensor.


Sanitary bins can also contain an antibacterial liner to protect against germ build-ups and prevent any malodour from entering washroom facilities.



What are the regulations?


  • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations Act 1992
  • The Water Industries Act 1991
  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990


All three acts impose regulations on a business owner which makes providing sanitary bins a legal requirement.


This relates to businesses of any size and sector, for the welfare of employees, customers and visitors, and the environment.


The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations Act 1992 states that employers have a duty to ensure that toilet areas are kept clean and that waste does not accumulate.


The Act also specifies that all companies are required to provide a suitable means for the disposal of sanitary dressings in ladies washrooms.


This means cubicles should contain a sanitary unit, and if a bin is not available in every cubicle an indication should show where one is provided.


Under the Water Industries Act 1991, no items should be flushed that could cause harm within the sewer or drain or major plumbing and blockage problems.


Of course, it is also within the best interest of the business to avoid any costly water issues.


Prior to the introduction of the Act, it was common practice for sanitary waste to be flushed as disposal units tended to be in the communal area of washrooms rather than private cubicles.


Despite adherence by many, according to research by the Marine Conservation Society, between 1.5 billion and 2 billion of sanitary items are still flushed down the toilet annually.


For those in the hotel business, this regulation means that although they are technically only required to provide sanitary bins in public and staff restrooms, they must provide at least a waste bin in guest bedrooms for the safe disposal of sanitary products.


The final regulation for businesses to be aware of is the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 


Section 34 of the act imposes a Duty of Care on persons concerned with handling waste.


Under the Duty of Care, there is a legal requirement for a business to manage sanitary waste to the point of disposal.


The disposal of all sanitary waste must also be handled by a licensed carrier.



How do you dispose of sanitary waste? 

The Duty of Care therefore demands a business is responsible for the correct disposal of sanitary waste and must use a licensed waste management company to handle disposal.


The business is also required to complete a ‘waste transfer note’ alongside the carrier and failure to comply or produce the note when asked could result in large fines and even imprisonment.


The Government label sanitary waste as municipal offensive waste.


Offensive waste is non-clinical waste that is non-infectious and does not contain pharmaceutical or chemical substances but may be unpleasant to anyone who comes into contact with it.


If a business has produced less than 7kgs of municipal offensive waste it can be disposed of it within regular general waste.


If more than 7kgs has been produced or a business has more than one bag within a collection period, then it must be segregated from general waste.


It is generally best practice to have regular collections if a large amount of sanitary waste is produced.


CheaperWaste are a fully licensed waste management company able to provide sanitary bins and dispose of waste. Get in touch for a free, no obligations quote today.

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