The hygiene bin – secret superhero in cleaning up our rivers

How the humble hygiene bin is key in helping to clean up England’s waterways 

Funny how all it takes is the disruption of a famous sporting event to draw attention to a serious issue. 

Remember the suffragettes throwing themselves under horses at the Grand National? Or the ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters chaining themselves to jumps at the Epsom Derby? Or the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics taking place on artificial snow because of global warming?

In short, if you want to get people’s attention, do it at a major sporting event.

This year it was the Oxford v Cambridge boat race which hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. – drawing the nation’s focus sharply on the sorry state of England’s rivers and waterways. 

In a timely PR campaign, River Action UK issued guidance before the event warning participants to avoid contact with the water during the race, and to abandon the tradition of throwing the cox into the river afterwards.

That came after a series of tests near Hammersmith Bridge showed an average level of E. coli colony forming units nearly three times higher than the Environment Agency’s quality standards for bathing in inland water. At its peak, the results showed it nearly 10 times the limit.

The news was compounded after Environment Agency figures released one week before revealed that raw sewage was poured into England’s rivers, lakes and coastal areas for 3.6 million hours last year, making 2023 the worst year on record for sewage spills.

Within these spills are human waste, wet wipes and sanitary products which can pose a serious risk to anyone in the water. 

We’re all part of the solution 

Whilst the water companies who control sewage overflows are taking the brunt of the criticism (and rightly so), it’s important to realise we ALL have a part to play in keeping our rivers clean: We are all part of the solution. 

Every time a wet wipe or sanitary product is dropped into the toilet, it joins the sewage system. And whilst we can’t control the amount of human waste that goes down the toilet, we absolutely can make the choice to dispose of sanitary products and wet wipes elsewhere.

Put it in the bin – it’s not meant to swim!

This is where the humble hygiene bin comes in. It’s undoubtedly the secret ‘super-hero’ of keeping our waterways clean.

Every time our Simply hygiene bins are used, sanitary waste is being diverted away from our waterways. This means swimmers, rowers, and your kids paddling on the shoreline are less likely to come across soiled tampons, sanitary pads and wet wipes. 

We continue to see many businesses that still don’t provide proper hygiene bins for staff and customers. Not only does this make your washroom facilities unhygienic, but it also reduces the likelihood of people making the correct choice about how to dispose of sanitary items. 

Sadly, the hygiene bin isn’t the only solution to cleaning up our waterways – like most environmental problems, there are multiple levers that need to be pulled. But in the same way we’ve all become used to sorting our household recycling to reduce the amount of collective waste going to landfill, we can do the same every time we make the decision to dispose of sanitary waste responsibly.

So next time you’re considering what to do with used wet wipes or soiled sanitary products, remember: Put it in the bin – it’s not meant to swim!

For more information about our hygiene bins, contact or view our full Product Brochure here.