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

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Abstract

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

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