Period Dignity in Public Bathrooms: No More Metal Blood Boxes

metal wall box

Updated on January 29, 2024

Tell us if this sounds familiar.  You want your public washrooms to:

✓ meet public health and safety standards

✓ be cost-effective for your business to maintain

✓ make your staff and customers happy

If you’re a property maintenance manager, a business owner, or a restaurant owner, you may be reading this blog because your public washrooms aren’t ticking ✓ all those boxes.

If so, you’ve come to the right place.

One of the best ways to achieve all three of these points is to focus on period dignity and creating period positive spaces in your public bathrooms.

What is period dignity?

Period dignity, also known as menstrual dignity, refers to shame-free and affordable access to everything a menstruator needs to manage their periods and menstrual health – from period products to hygienic menstrual waste disposal solutions.

Period dignity initiatives focus on:

  • Inclusivity
  • Access
  • Education
  • Privacy

Almost all menstrual dignity movements are hyper-focused on putting an end to period poverty and building more inclusive and equitable period positive spaces.

What is the Menstrual Dignity Act?

The Menstrual Dignity Act was signed into law with the goal and focus to combat period poverty in students through the provision of free pads and tampons in school bathrooms.

The Menstrual Dignity Act was created in Oregon to alleviate both the barriers and experience of shame that often limit menstruating students from accessing their education.

Oregon now joins a lengthening list of states that are requiring schools, businesses and public spaces to offer freely accessible period products like free-vend pads and tampons.
Visit Aunt Flow to download a legislation map with current legislation updates around period and menstrual dignity.

Also Read – Free Menstrual Products: What You Need To Know About The New Legislation Changes in Canada

Global Standards and Regulations

International standards for menstrual hygiene disposal in public washrooms are aimed at ensuring safe and hygienic practices for the disposal of menstrual waste. These standards focus on providing appropriate facilities and infrastructure to manage menstrual hygiene effectively. While there is no specific global standard for menstrual hygiene disposal in public washrooms, various organizations and initiatives have developed guidelines and recommendations to promote proper disposal practices.

The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the need for safe and convenient facilities for the disposal of used menstrual management materials. They recommend the provision of covered waste bins in public toilets and washrooms to ensure proper disposal [2].

Menstrual Hygiene Day, an annual awareness day, also advocates for improved menstrual hygiene management, including proper disposal practices. They emphasize the need for accessible and hygienic facilities with waste disposal mechanisms [3].

Different countries are adapting to these international standards and regulations in various ways. Some countries have implemented specific regulations and guidelines for menstrual hygiene disposal in public washrooms.

However, it is important to note that the implementation of these standards and regulations may vary across countries due to cultural, social, and economic factors. Some countries may face challenges in providing adequate infrastructure and resources for proper menstrual hygiene disposal.

Additionally, cultural taboos and stigmas surrounding menstruation can also influence disposal practices. Countries are adapting to these standards in different ways, considering their specific contexts and challenges. Continued efforts are needed to raise awareness, improve infrastructure, and ensure proper disposal practices for menstrual waste worldwide.


Menstrual and public washroom hygiene standards have evolved 

Ancient Times to the 19th Century

In ancient civilizations, menstrual hygiene was often shrouded in taboos and myths, with limited access to effective and hygienic menstrual products. Women commonly used materials like moss, leaves, or rags, which were rudimentary and offered minimal comfort or hygiene. In many societies, menstruating women were isolated due to misconceptions about impurity.

The 20th Century: A Turning Point

The 20th century marked a turning point in menstrual hygiene management. In Australia, from 1940-1970, there was a notable shift in menstrual ideologies and technologies. This period saw the promotion of disposable pads and tampons, encouraging women to engage in a full range of activities during menstruation. This shift raised questions about whether such changes liberated women or subjected them to more rigorous hygienic expectations (Pascoe, 2014).The introduction of commercial sanitary pads in the early 1900s revolutionized menstrual care, offering women a more hygienic and convenient option. These pads were initially made of cotton and were washable, making them a reusable option. However, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that disposable pads gained popularity, driven by advancements in materials and manufacturing processes.

Tampons, introduced in the 1930s, offered an alternative to pads, providing discretion and greater freedom of movement. However, their adoption was slower due to cultural hesitations and lack of awareness.

Menstrual Disposal Methods: A Parallel Evolution

Parallel to the evolution of menstrual products, disposal methods have also seen significant changes. Initially, the disposal of menstrual products was rarely discussed, often leading to unsanitary practices. The advent of disposable menstrual products necessitated the development of proper disposal methods.

Public restrooms, historically, did not cater to menstrual disposal needs. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that menstrual waste bins became a common feature in public washrooms, addressing both hygiene and convenience concerns.

The 21st Century: Towards Sustainability and Dignity

In the 21st century, there’s been a growing emphasis on sustainable menstrual products like menstrual cups, reusable pads, and period panties. These eco-friendly options reflect a growing environmental consciousness and the desire for cost-effective menstrual solutions.

See also  Infographic: Dr. Gerba's Research on the Risks of Poor Sanitary Disposal

Furthermore, there’s been a significant shift towards ensuring period dignity in public spaces. This includes the provision of adequate menstrual disposal facilities in public washrooms and the normalization of menstruation as a natural biological process.

Modern Hygiene Products and Practices: The introduction of modern menstrual hygiene products like tampons and sanitary pads has significantly improved menstrual management.

Citron Hygiene has been doing its research on customer behaviours in, and expectations of, public washrooms.

Ongoing Challenges: Despite advancements, challenges in menstrual hygiene management persist, particularly in low-income settings. Issues like lack of access to sanitary products, inadequate facilities, and persisting cultural taboos continue to impact women’s health and social participation

Public washroom menstrual hygiene waste disposal is ready to evolve

Think about what we use now for menstrual waste disposal: metal (or plastic) boxes bolted to the stall walls in public washrooms. Let’s be honest — those blood boxes are as cringeworthy and outdated as Lady Gaga’s meat dress back in 2010 (*shudder*).

Citron Hygiene has the technology to bring touchless technology to your entire public washroom setup, which includes menstruation-related needs. 

We provide touch-free menstrual hygiene waste disposal units that are more sanitary, more hygienic, and come with professional waste disposal and refill services.

Benefits of Upgraded Menstrual Hygiene Waste Disposal Units in Bathrooms

You may or may not have ever used a metal blood box before, so we’ll briefly fill you in:

Once you’ve removed your used menstrual product from (you know where), you must touch the lid of the box to open it and drop your waste inside.

Unfortunately, this comes with the risk of spills, leaks, stains and smears, as waste products don’t always cooperate.

Remember: this is all happening inside the stall. That means no one can wash their hands clean before they lift the lid or after they’ve finished disposing of the waste.

Your washroom users still have to rearrange their clothes and unlock that stall door before they even get close to a sink and some soap.

For these reasons, flushing tampons and pads down the toilets happens much more often than washroom maintenance crews would like.

Health benefits of Menstrual waste disposal system

Reducing the number of places dirty fingers must come into contact with in your public washrooms is a great start to eliminating the spread of germs and illnesses in your business.

If your customers have clean, sanitary options to dispose of their waste products, they’re less likely to drop them down your toilets. Many people would rather flush their sanitary napkins down the toilet than have to touch the rim of that metal blood box with their fingers.

We don’t blame them – but it’s not going to be good news for your business’s plumbing bills if that happens too often.

Flushed menstrual waste products account for two-thirds of public washroom plumbing issues.

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The benefits of touchless washroom supplies are obvious

With touch-free technology that is regularly serviced and waste disposal units that are regularly professionally cleaned, you can:

✓ Reduce or eliminate your plumbing bills due to regular clogging crises

✓ Reduce or eliminate customer and staff contact with blood-borne pathogens

✓ Reduce or eliminate odors that come from unsanitary menstrual waste units

✓ Reduce or eliminate the stains visible inside the stalls

An added bonus is that you can also reduce or eliminate the suffering of individual customers or employees with the right washrooms.

Also ReadThe Psychological Benefits of Proper Menstrual Waste Management

Menstruation-related health concerns that clean public washrooms can help eliminate:

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) Risk Factors
This is a rate but life-threatening side-effect of leaving a tampon inside for too long. TSS can cause flu symtoms, rahes, aches and pains and more Someone may leave a tampon inside too long if: 1) they have no sanitary palce to remove it. 2) They can’t afford or can’t access clean products to replace it with
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) Risk Factors
This is a rate but life-threatening side-effect of leaving a tampon inside for too long. TSS can cause flu symtoms, rahes, aches and pains and more Someone may leave a tampon inside too long if: 1) they have no sanitary palce to remove it. 2) They can’t afford or can’t access clean products to replace it with

How can your business eliminate these problems?

There’s a simple solution for businesses to help solve these problems for customers and employees:

  1. Provide touch-free sanitary waste disposal units customers are comfortable using.
  2. Provide free-vend menstrual products to help combat #PeriodPoverty
  3. Outsource your menstrual hygiene waste needs

How to invest in smart and sanitary public washroom technology – today

If you’re still looking for more reasons to invest in touchless products that come with professional sanitation services, you may want to move on to reading this blog here.

If you’re ready to start exploring your options for an elevated washroom experience, then we’re ready to give you all the answers.

Citron Hygiene products will keep your washrooms organized, tidy and save you space.  Regularly serviced and professionally maintained – check out our products here.

Book your free consultation on our website today.

Research Papers cited in this article –

Comparison of Hygiene Between Sanitary Napkin and Menstrual Cup Users(Rusdiana & Fauzi, 2022).

Challenges in Schools: Inadequate water and sanitation facilities significantly impact school-going girls’ ability to maintain menstrual hygiene, particularly in developing countries. This issue is now gaining attention from NGOs and UNICEF, highlighting the need for research and policy focus (Sommer & Şahin, 2013).

Find out how we can elevate your washroom experience today.

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