Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

‘Feminine Waste Only!!!’ A History of the UK Sanitary Bin in the Twentieth Century

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Open Access permissions



Every fortnight one man enters all the women’s toilets at our university, removes and replaces the sanitary bins, and drives away in a van. Observing this system, I became curious about the grey rectangle with foot-operated pedals, ‘modesty flaps’, bearing the warning ‘for feminine waste only’, located in almost every women’s toilet in the UK. The sanitary bin turns out to be a symbol-heavy plastic object in the modern history of waste management and meaning, entangled in changing ideas about the environment, women’s role in the workplace, profit, technology, and bathroom politics


Original languageEnglish
Specialist PublicationSociety for Technology Stories Specialist Blog
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2018

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. It will take lot more than free period products to end stigma around menstruation

    Zipp, S. & Rostvik, C. M., 11 Dec 2020, The Conversation.

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

  2. Menstruation in art and visual culture

    Hughes, B. & Rostvik, C. M., 20 Jul 2020, The international encyclopaedia of gender, media, and communication. Wiley-Blackwell

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

  3. Mother Nature as brand strategy. Gender and creativity in Tampax advertising 2007-2009

    Rostvik, C. M., 5 Feb 2020, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Enterprise & Society . First View, 40 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Blood works: Judy Chicago and menstrual art since 1970

    Rostvik, C. M., 3 Dec 2019, In: Oxford Art Journal . 42, 3, p. 335-353 35 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. ‘Do not flush feminine products!’ The environmental history, biohazards and norms contained in the UK sanitary bin industry 1960-2020

    Rostvik, C. M., 1 Dec 2019, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Environment and History. Forthcoming

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 255238374