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

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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

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