Sanitary Bin Waste – Why do I need a Service?
Having a sanitary waste facility is a crucial part of your “Duty of Care” to ensure the well-being and safety of your female employees, visitors, patients, and others. It is not just a matter of convenience but also a legal requirement under the ‘Duty of Care’ Act 1990, specifically section 34.
Failure to provide a proper facility for the disposal and collection of sanitary waste may result in a violation of the law. In fact, 96% of companies and organizations comply with this requirement by utilizing a licensed waste contractor’s Sanitary Bin service, which includes a waste transfer note for each collection. Retaining these waste transfer notes for three years demonstrates responsible management and treatment of sanitary waste.
Alternatively, you can opt for an in-house solution by providing a pedal bin with a treated liner to contain any odors and potential infections. However, it is essential to ensure that this waste is handled and disposed of correctly.
It’s worth noting that the ‘Duty of Care’ Act 1990 section 34 is supported by the Water Industries Act 1991, which prohibits flushing sanitary waste down toilets to prevent blockages in the sewer or drain. Additionally, it’s important to recognise that there are no soluble sanitary towels or tampons, and flushing them can lead to blocked drains and increased costs for your business.
Is a Sanitary Bin Waste Service a Legal Requirement?
In the UK, sanitary waste disposal is governed by legislation aimed at ensuring safe and hygienic waste management. The following laws are relevant:
- The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulation 1992 recommends that all businesses provide appropriate units/bins for disposing of sanitary waste in female toilets.
- The Water Industries Act 1991 prohibits flushing sanitary waste that may harm the sewer system or drains.
- The Environmental Protection Act 1990 imposes a Duty of Care on businesses that produce, keep, or dispose of controlled waste, including sanitary waste.
Understanding Duty of Care
Duty of Care is a legal requirement for waste handlers to take reasonable steps to ensure the safe management of waste. As a business, you are responsible for producing, storing, transporting, and disposing of your waste without causing harm to the environment. This duty has no time limit and extends throughout the waste management chain.
To fulfill your duty of care, you must:
- Segregate, store, and transport waste appropriately and securely to prevent pollution and harm to human health.
- Ensure that waste is handled and transported by authorized individuals or businesses.
- Complete waste transfer notes accurately, providing a detailed description of the waste, and retain them for at least two years.
You must also verify that any waste carrier you engage is authorized to accept your waste.
Understanding Waste Transfer Notes
As a waste producer, you have a legal obligation to certify that your offensive/sanitary/incontinence waste is managed compliantly and without harming the environment. This certification is known as a Waste Transfer Note (WTN). A licensed waste service provider should collect and transport your waste, issuing a WTN for each consignment. These WTNs serve as a record of the waste’s transfer, which should be retained for at least two years.
WTNs ensure a clear audit trail from waste production to disposal, and failure to produce them when requested by environmental regulators or local councils can result in fines.
WTNs should contain detailed information, including a description of the waste, any processes it has undergone, how it is packaged, the quantity, the place and date of transfer, and the names and addresses of both parties. Additionally, the WTN should include the permit, license, or exemption details of the recipient and the appropriate European Waste Catalogue (EWC) code for the waste.
Managing Offensive/Sanitary Waste and Reducing Risks
Offensive waste, including sanitary waste, can pose health risks if not managed properly. Skin/eye infections and gastroenteritis are potential effects of exposure to such waste. To minimize these risks:
- Employers should follow the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) to assess and prevent exposure to harmful substances or microorganisms.
- Clean washrooms regularly using sanitizers that comply with EN 1276 standards to kill bacteria.
- Use enclosed sanitary bins with “No Touch” operation (foot pedal or electronic sensor) and antimicrobial liners to prevent bacterial build-up and malodors.
- Arrange regular servicing and cleaning of sanitary bins, typically on a monthly basis, and ensure only trained licensed operatives handle them.
Protecting Against Blood born Pathogens
In washrooms, particularly ladies’ toilets, exposure to bloodborne pathogens is a concern. Improper treatment of sanitary waste can increase the risk of exposure to diseases such as Hepatitis B & C, HIV, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, E.coli, and MRSA.
To keep washrooms safe from bloodborne infections:
- Clean washrooms regularly with effective sanitizers.
- Ensure proper treatment and disposal of sanitary waste by using appropriate sanitary bins with antimicrobial liners.
- Schedule regular servicing and cleaning of sanitary bins by trained licensed operatives.
By adhering to these practices, you can help protect the health and safety of your employees and reduce potential risks in your washrooms.