Newcastle Student Council to vote on introducing ‘menstrual care bins’ in student halls

The motion says not providing them is a health hazard

The next NUSU Student Council meeting will debate a motion proposing that ‘menstrual care bins’ should be installed in every shared accommodation bathroom in student halls of residence.

NUSU’s Welfare and Equality Officer, Rachael Kitching, put forward the motion, which notes that the British Toilet Association (BTA) requires that “all women’s cubicles should contain a suitable container for the disposal of sanitary waste”.

Rachael said: ‘’In my opinion, university-managed halls of residence should be kept at the same health and safety standard as other public areas.

“This is a health concern, because menstrual care is a basic health need for all those who have periods. It is also a safety issue because infections such as Hepatitis B are quite often contracted through menstrual blood, and so it is unsafe and unreasonable to require building service operator staff to remove menstrual products from undesignated areas, which will undoubtedly happen if menstrual care bins are not installed.

The Government Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also sets out the legal requirements for the handling of ‘hygiene waste’, which includes menstrual care. This stipulates that hygiene waste should be segregated from other materials, in ‘designated areas before treatment or disposal’.

The motion argues that the fact that waste bins are normally situated in public areas puts ‘undue onus on the student to dispose of used menstrual care hygienically’.

The policy would, the motion claims, protect cleaning staff who maintain the bins, and students from the potential threat of Hepatitis B spreading through improper disposal of waste products.

If the motion is passed when the Council meet on 8th December, the NUSU Education Officer will be mandated to lobby the University to enact the policy.