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October 2019

3 good reasons why Initial should be managing your sanitary waste

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Medical Waste and Waste Disposal, Feminine Hygiene

In previous blog posts, we’ve looked at whether your company has to provide sanitary bins for female employees, as well as how to ask your boss that awkward question about new sanitary bins.  It’s safe to say that we firmly believe that every business that has female colleagues or customers should be looking carefully at how they manage the feminine hygiene waste created on their premises and should invest in an external hygiene services provider to do so for them.

But one of the pieces of feedback I receive from the field time and time again is that many businesses think they can manage their feminine hygiene waste themselves.  I couldn’t disagree more, so in an effort to convince you, here are my top 3 reasons why you should let Initial manage your sanitary waste: 

1. Your cleaning staff will thank you…

If your workplace doesn’t provide serviced feminine hygiene units for female employees, the only options left to female colleagues are to flush their tampons down the toilet or to wrap up their sanitary towels and dispose of them in the bathroom bin.  Can you imagine how unpleasant it would be for your daily cleaner to have to empty, clean and then disinfect a bin that has contained sanitary waste? 

And in addition to unpleasant, it’s downright dangerous, because sanitary waste is a blood product, which means it may contain bloodborne pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis B.  This means that your cleaners - who have to empty and clean these waste bins - are at risk of infection and illness. So employing the services of hygiene experts like Initial, whose trained and PPE-equipped staff will manage and dispose of your sanitary waste means your cleaning staff don't have to take that risk!

2. Your plumbing (and by extension, the building manager) will thank you...

Whilst there is no legal prohibition on flushing tampons down the toilet, common sense says that this is definitely a sub-optimal solution, especially in a busy office.  Tampons are a major cause of plumbing problems, as they cause blockages which usually require the services of a plumber to resolve. Tampons are specifically made to absorb liquid and expand, so they’re doing quite the opposite of what toilet paper does (which is break down) once you flush them.

Tampon manufacturers agree, with major tampon brands Tampax and Kotex explicitly stating that consumers should not flush their products.  “You might clog up the plumbing system and it’s bad for the environment,” Kotex states, while Tampax says, “Tampons cannot be processed by wastewater-treatment facilities and they can harm septic systems.”

And of course, sanitary pads should never be flushed down the toilet - doing so will definitely cause a plumbing disaster. 

However, as stated above, flushing is the only option available to women in offices where serviced feminine hygiene units are not provided. Well, that and wrapping them up in a tissue and taking them home ...

3. Your female colleagues and customers will thank you...

Like the rest of the Signature range, Initial’s Signature feminine hygiene units contain silver ion technology. This means that the surface of our feminine hygiene units have antibacterial silver ions embedded into the plastic and painted coatings. 

Silver ions make surfaces resistant to bacterial contamination and therefore provide hygienic protection for users on key touchable surfaces.  That means that female users don't have to worry about the risk of cross-contamination when touching the feminine hygiene unit. The antibacterial properties of silver ions have been evaluated to meet global standards for antibacterial plastics (ISO22196 and AATCC147 or JIS Z 2801).

So not only will your female colleagues and customers not have to flush sanitary waste, put it in the bin, or take it home, but they can rest assured that when they dispose of their sanitary waste in an Initial FHU, they are protected from the risks of cross-contamination.

Download our Feminine Hygiene Unit (FHu) posters and ensure everyone in your office dispose of their sanitary products properly. 

And a 4th - bonus  - point:

4. The environment will thank you...

Used, flushed tampons also land up on beaches, creating a horrible pollution problem.
And if sanitary waste is disposed of in a regular bathroom waste bin, and then disposed of by your daily cleaner into the municipal waste stream, it gets dumped at uncertified landfills in an untreated state. Untreated waste poses a significant risk to the environment via groundwater contamination,  should rain happen to fall on that untreated sanitary waste. 

Initial is a registered Waste Carrier and will provide you with a Certificate of disposal for your feminine hygiene waste - that means you’ll know that it's been disposed of at the correct landfill and in the manner that has the least environmental impact.  

Our feminine hygiene service is a proactive and multi-layered approach to the management of sanitary waste. Contact Initial for a free survey today. 

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

I joined Rentokil Initial South Africa in 2004 as the PA to the MD, and after 6 months maternity leave I re-joined the Company in 2009 as the Marketing Co-ordinator for Rentokil. I'm now the Marketing Communication Manager for Rentokil Initial. I'm still terrified of cockroaches (Americana's only!) but the rest of the creepy crawlies we deal with don't really bug me (see what I did there?), so I guess I'm in the right industry! I am passionate about what we do here at Rentokil Initial and also write for our Hygiene Blog, which can be found at blog.initial.co.za, and our Ambius blog - https://www.ambius.co.za/blog. Life outside of Rentokil Initial mostly revolves around my daughter, who has just turned twelve, and my husband (who is a bit older). I love living in Cape Town and wouldn't trade living here for anywhere else in the world.

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The Ultimate Guide to Safe Sanitary Waste Disposal from the experts in hygiene, Initial Hygiene South Africa

Download our Ultimate Guide to Safe Sanitary Waste Disposal

Ensure that your organisation meets the legal requirements for the disposal of sanitary waste by learning what constitutes sanitary waste and how you should dispose of it, in this comprehensive guide on the subject.
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