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Why the Law Says You Need a Nappy Bin Disposal Service

11 January 2018

At home, parents are used to disposing of their babies’ used nappies the same way they do any other domestic waste - bagging it up and sticking it in the rubbish for general collection.

But in public places, including retail, hospitality and leisure destinations, places of work and nurseries, the law is different. In these situations, it is explicitly forbidden to treat used nappies as general waste.

And the onus on ensuring the law is complied with rests with the proprietor.

That is why, if you provide baby changing facilities on your premises, you also need to arrange appropriate disposal through a licensed operator.

What the law says

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 sets out rules for the management and disposal of different types of waste. One of these categories is known as sanitary waste - products used for bodily waste which, because of the materials they are made from, cannot be flushed down a toilet. This includes disposable nappies.

Although the law makes no specific reference to sanitary waste in the home, in commercial premises the regulations are specific and clear. It places a duty of care on the proprietor to ensure that sanitary waste is disposed of in compliance with the rules. These rules require that:

  • Clearly marked disposal options are provided as an alternative to flushing sanitary products  down the toilet.
  • Use of sanitary bins is clearly earmarked with signage. 
  • Sanitary bins are emptied regularly and hygienically. 
  • Sanitary waste is only handled by individuals licensed to do so. 
  • An audit trail of sanitary waste disposal documentation must be kept for a minimum of two  years.

Breaching these regulations is a criminal offence.

Staying compliant

Baby changing facilities are common in public conveniences in supermarkets, leisure centres, pubs, restaurants, sports stadia and so on. They are also an important amenity in works creches and nurseries.

In any of these locations, the duty of care responsibility rests primarily with the proprietor and/or landlord. However, this is often delegated out to facilities management companies, in which case legal responsibility for waste disposal is passed on as part of the service contract.

From a proprietor or FM professional’s point of view, the most important part of the duty of care criteria is the requirement that only licensed personnel handle and dispose of sanitary waste. That means that if you offer baby changing facilities on site, providing nappy bins alone is not enough. You also need to arrange for emptying and disposal through a licensed operative.

The best way to do this is to outsource to a specialist sanitary waste services provider. Professional sanitary waste companies will cover everything you need to keep your baby changing facilities compliant with the law, providing nappy bins and also arranging for safe, regular emptying and disposal.

Remember, the duty of care rests with you to make sure nappy waste is only handled by those authorised to do so, so check carefully that the service provider you choose has the relevant accreditations.

Hygieneco provides a wide range of commercial bathroom services, from equipment sales to licensed waste disposal. We are proud to offer green solutions across all of our services, with a zero-to-landfill policy for all sanitary waste disposal.


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