The Problem  


Health and Safety Risks

  • “Sanitary” napkin disposal receptacles are the most contaminated spot in women’s restrooms.
  • Risk of exposure to pathogenic microorganisms that are easily spread via blood and bodily fluid overlooked.
  • OSHA guidelines require practices that protect employees from direct physical contact with discarded feminine care products.
  • Universal Precautions are based on the assumption that blood and certain body fluids of all people have the potential to carry HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens.
  • Needles and other sharps are commonly discarded into stall waste receptacles which can result in sticks and punctures.

Environmental Monitoring Assessment


  • “Sanitary” napkin disposal units are usually emptied only once a day — harboring nasty odors.
  • Odor ranks as one of the most common complaints from restroom visitors and is associated with an unclean, unhealthy environment.


  • Unwrapped, discarded menstrual products in stall disposal receptacles are repulsive to view.
  • Unsightly disposal units ruin the aesthetics of even the finest restrooms.
  • The outside and inside of the receptacles are often streaked with blood and visibly dirty.


  • Clogged toilets from flushed tampons lead to unscheduled maintenance calls, costly repairs and time-consuming cleanups.
  • Septic, recreational vehicles, and marine sanitation systems are severely damaged by the flushing of tampons and other personal care products.
  • Ninety percent of plumbing problems—and costly maintenance and repairs-are caused by the flushing of feminine care products, especially tampons down toilets.


  • Sanitary pads, tampons, plastic tampon applicators, personal care wipes do not decompose in sewage treatment systems like other organic wastes.
  • Overflows from combined storm and sanitary sewer systems go into rivers, lakes and oceans.
  • Plastic debris, including plastic tampon applicators, are endangering US beaches and oceans.
  • Highly absorbent and stringy material such as tampons and wipes; prevents sewage from flowing through municipal sewer systems, causes blockages in sewer pipes, clogs sewage pumps and leads to backups as well as spills.