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 are 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.



  • “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.


Washroom Site Analysis for Safe and Sanitary Disposal of Menstrual Care Product

Environmental Monitoring Assessment