Sanitary bins for primary schools

Bin it, don’t flush it. That’s the message that is promoted to women with regards to sanitary products. But what do you do if you’re an eight year old at school, you need to change your sanitary pad and there’s no bin to dispose of it?

Don’t flush it!

Sanitary pads, liners and tampons are bad for our sewage system. The materials used in them do not break down sufficiently in the water and tend to clog up pipes, as well as adding to the ‘solid waste’ that needs to be removed by treatment plants.

Not many people would consider flushing a big, bulky pad down the loo but there has always been a certain amount of doubt about tampons. Despite what you may have been told, or what you may believe, tampons are not supposed to be flushed. All sanitary products should be disposed of in household rubbish.

Calls for sanitary bins for primary schools

With correct disposal in mind, now consider young girls who are suffering the initial clumsiness of dealing with periods and how they go about disposing of used sanitary products when no bin is immediately available.

Data released by the Ministry of Health in their 2014/15 NZ Health Survey reveals that the age at which girls are getting their first period is decreasing. In fact, one in 16 girls in NZ will get their period while at primary school – some as young as eight years old.

This has led to calls for sanitary bins to be provided in all primary schools. Some parents have spoken about how their daughters have to use the staff toilets when they are menstruating so they can dispose of their sanitary products.

Does your child’s school have sanitary bins? Have you or your child had to make ‘alternative’ arrangements for disposal? Join our discussion in the comments below.

Period poverty

As well as a lack of facilities to dispose of sanitary products, NZ families are also finding it difficult to afford those products in the first place. ‘Period poverty’ leads to hundreds of girls missing several days at school every month, as their family can not afford to buy sanitary products. This can affect their learning and limit their educational opportunities. It is also what drives many girls and women to use unhygienic or dangerous substitute items such as rags and newspaper.

Want to help? You can donate to any of the following organisations around New Zealand who are working to collect and distribute sanitary supplies to young women in need, either through donation or a Buy One Give One system:

SPINZs (Sanitary Products in New Zealand Schools)

The Salvation Army Foodbank Project (Women’s hygiene bundle)

Go With The Flow (Wellington)

Feel Good Period (Auckland)

KidsCan (Health for Kids)

Shine (Auckland)

MyCup (Donate a cup)

Lumii (Donate a cup – Auckland)

Oi (Buy one give one)

Dignity (Buy one give one for businesses)

United Sustainable Sisters (Auckland)

Read more on Kidspot:


  1. Alezandra 31/10/2018 at 10:24 pm

    I realised that Sanitary products are indeed expensive here in NZ. Why is that when women, girls all had to go through having to use them? It’s cheaper to buy a bag of chips than to buy a pack of sanitary pads. Gosh…I know there’s cost involved in producing them but where I originally came from which is in Singapore / Philippines…the cost here is almost 50% higher — when it’s all the same or at least similar functionality. It just sounds like there’s a period tax somewhere…taxed coz you have a period…

  2. Shelz69 31/10/2018 at 1:44 pm

    I think they should be in every girls toilet in primary school. My daughter feels awkward as it is without having to go to a special block of toilets and all the kids would know. Period poverty is terrible as well, they are so expensive and I know of many families that are using alternatives or missing school because there parents can’t afford it. I am glad that times seem to be changing and there are places to help but some people are just to ashamed to asked.

  3. Kjgee 27/10/2018 at 8:17 pm

    My kids go to a full primary school, there is one year 7/8 class which have their own toilets and they have disposal bins, but none of the other toilets do. This would mean if girls in younger classes needed to, they would have to go to the older kids class, and would be very obvious for them to do so the way the school + toilets are set out. My daughter is 11 and not yet needing to, but has said she would be embarrassed to walk over to the class

  4. MuddledUpMolly 23/10/2018 at 9:30 pm

    I think this is a fantastic idea as girls of any age can get their periods and it should be known from this age of the appropriate way in which to dispose of sanitary items. I know adults who only have recently found out you shouldn’t flush tampons so it would be great to educate our young ladies earlier.

  5. Shorrty4life1 20/10/2018 at 7:41 pm

    My daughters primary school has no sanitary bins for pads and tampons. She’s only 7 so we haven’t had to deal with what to do just yet but definitely something that we will discuss when it comes to it. I believe primary schools should definitely have sanitary bins because some people start periods very early these days. Children are growing up too fast.

  6. dawnblyth 16/10/2018 at 10:39 pm

    Period poverty is such a shame – having your period is part of life when you are a female and so having access to them, whether cheaper in the supermarkets or funded through your doctor (or other providers) should be available. I also think that sanitary bins should be available somewhere in a school, where it is easily accessible and not a teacher’s toilet. The young girl having her period should not feel even more embarassed or upset by having to go into the teacher’s block to use their toilets.

  7. Bevik1971 15/10/2018 at 10:44 am

    I think it’s a great idea – I got my period when I was 10, wasn’t nice and the pads we used then were terrible, big and bulky and smelt like baby powder! I used to think everyone knew when I was wearing one haha. But a lot of young girls are getting their periods very early, so putting the bins in primary schools are a good idea. It’s just sad that some parents are unable to afford to purchase sanitary items for their girls when needed 🙁

  8. Mands1980 13/10/2018 at 9:10 pm

    I think it is essential that they are in primary schools I have a 10 year old and am talking to her about all of this and have been for a while. It’s bad enough getting your period young from personal experience to having to worry about where to put used products. I hope primary schools all get them I think it’s really important.

  9. SarahBlair 12/10/2018 at 11:02 pm

    The bins should be in the toilets at primary schools, especially in the senior block, even if the girls aren’t needing them it will pique their interest and get that conversation started, which is very important

  10. kymmage 12/10/2018 at 7:54 pm

    I asked my 11 year old about disposal bins at her primary (she isn’t at that stage herself) she said they only have them n in the hall toilets. So it would be an issue if you couldn’t access them. Thanks for the info on period poverty. A subject very close to my heart. I have increased my financial support to kKdscan as a result!

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