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Smart Washrooms 4 Feminine Hygiene Care Units

A wide family of microbes, including bacteria, viruses and parasites thrive specially in female washrooms due to the disposable of sanitary pads, it is therefore important to know the existence of the invisible danger lurking in washrooms.

We have seven male and four female staff in our office. It is a small office and the common toilet is at the end of the room. Even if I carry a small packet in my hand in or out of the toilet, it obviously gets noticed. We have a very small dustbin in the toilet. We have no choice but to wrap the waste in a newspaper and put it in the bin. But if the bin is full, we are forced to further pack it in a plastic bag and carry it in our handbag back home. We had told our boss for a bigger bin but since we could not explain the reason he didn’t agree,” said an employee from an industrial area. This is probably the state of affairs in most small offices with common washroom.

In another case, where there are separate toilets for men and women, the situation is equally worse. “It’s awful using the washroom in our office. We are eight of us using the washroom. We have a hand dryer, toilet tissue and liquid soap dispensers installed but the floor area is pathetic. The washroom stinks of sanitary waste. A few of my colleagues just wouldn’t listen and toss the soiled waste without neatly wrapping it in newspapers. They wrap it in toilet tissues so loosely that half the time the tissue is hanging out of the bin. Even though we have two dust bins, it’s just not enough. It’s all so messy. The very thought of using the washroom is repulsive.” Probably they are not aware that there is a solution.

“FHC units are said to be so well sanitised that they can sustain the sanitary waste until 30 days.” – RK Aggarwal

RK Aggarwal, General Manager, Indian Habitat Centre, said that it was a common practice at his centre too with the ladies to use the common bins for disposal of sanitary waste. “They also used the toilet to flush out waste which could lead to sewer choke ups. We got regular sewer maintenance done by the housekeeping to ensure there were no problems of blocked lines. In either case there were problems. Where the common bins were concerned, the possibility of cleaning staff noticing sanitary waste or having to handle was embarrassing. Moreover, with such waste lying in the common bin there were always chances of microorganism spreading,leading to health problems. But we did not have any other choice.”

However, the centre came to know about the FHC units a year back and got them installed on a trial basis. The safety of having such bins in the washroom without being cleaned on a daily basis was a concern. “We were then given to understand that FHC units are so well sanitised that it is not harmful to keep the bins even for 30 days. The women staff members are now relieved and FHC units have become a part of the toilet,” he explained. The Indian Habitat Centre has about 40 FHC units installed and serviced by Washroom Hygiene Concepts Pvt Ltd, a part of Lion Services.

“Once the FHC units were in place, the women staff sighed in relief. They felt more secure because they were bieng cared for.” – Nishtha Naik

FHC units have been installed by Washroom Hygiene Concepts at Pepsico Beverages Unit too. “We just can’t imagine being without the sanibins,” said Nishtha Naik, Head Facilities. “One and a half years back when we came to know about FHC units and the office had decided to install them, it was something all the women staff were looking forward to. It was more of an event and when it happened and the FHC units were in place, women just sighed in relief. With around 22 units in different Pepsico offices, women feel more secure because they are being cared for. It is not embarrassing anymore to walk across to the toilet any number of time or when the housekeeping boy enters the ladies’ toilets.”

“When women are comfortable, satisfied and given a clean surronding their productivity increases.” – Aarti Oberoi

“FHC units are now becoming a must not just for Smart Washrooms but also for any women’s toilet, in an office or industrial area,” insisted Aarti Oberoi, AGM-Housekeeping, Dishman Pharmaceuticals. When women are given a clean surrounding, their productivity increases and they feel comfortable.”

Located in the outskirts of the Ahmedabad city, two of the buildings of Dishman Pharmaceuticals have a women staff strength of around 100 and as of now two FHC units are installed which is serviced by BPW every fortnight. These units are considered as a solution to sewer line choke ups and contaminated washrooms.

In India, FHC units could be looked at as a revolution in washroom hygiene but better awareness about usage and maintenance can yield better results.

The sanitary disposal unit is a free standing container made of a high density plastic, designed to suit all types and sizes of washrooms. The unit should be placed next to the WC to provide easy access, privacy, and to control contamination. Self-explanatory stickers should be placed on the walls to make the user understand about the right disposal methods. A brief interactive session on this can also help.

Servicing Process

The servicing of a sanitary disposal unit is conducted at weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, depending upon the usages, based on the survey, ratio between the number of female employees and the number of washrooms.

During the service, the unit is replaced by a freshly cleaned and sanitized unit which is laced with a fresh swab of Activap, which is explained below.

The unit is collected only by trained staff and carried out in a specially designed bag to conceal the unit. The special unit is then transported to the Service Station.

Anti-bacterial lining

Activap is a new generation germicide that is totally safe and non toxic. It contains active natural ingredients that pose no threat to the environment and human. It is also registered by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) USA, COE (Council of Europe) and tested by National Micro Biological Laboratories in India. The result is an anti-bacterial system that targets infection and odour causing bacteria, rendering them harmless even those as hazardous as Hepatitis B & C and HIV.

Activap reduces the levels of bacteria in the waste by 99.9999% and unlike other germicides, it is as effective at the end of the service cycle as it is at the start.

The moment the sanitary waste is disposed off inside the unit, the vaporization process begins. When the rising vapours hit the cold surfaces of the stainless steel tray, they form droplets of liquid which drop back into the unit. The cycle continues for 48 days and keeps the entire waste harmless from top to bottom.

Activap destroys offensive smells and kills bacteria in the headspace of the unit. It gives off a pleasant aromatic perfume to freshen the atmosphere and is effective for up to six weeks.

Even though Activap is effective for six weeks, the unit is replaced every 30 days in order to ensure that the sanitary waste remains decontaminated until it reaches its destination. The waste is handed over to the municipal authorities for disposal. Hence, Activap’s remains active for another 18 days until the time the waste reaches the landfill.

Service Station

The used units brought to the Service Station are washed and cleaned for reuse. The unit is detachable into three portions – the top lid, the paddle and the base. All the portions of the units are washed with

high pressure water jet at 60PSI pressure and specialiSed cleaning agents.

They are then rinsed with solution of water and germicide like Baccilocid, Micro Quart, Sodium Hypo Chloride, Oxivir, Virex II 256 (or any other equivalent rinsing solution).

The germicide is changed every four months to avoid immunity of the bacteria to the chemicals.

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