Edinburgh City Council says it cannot currently afford to put sanitary bins in men’s toilets across its premises, after councillors agreed they should be provided for trans men and to cut the flushing of wet wipes.
The roll-out could cost an additional £30k a year, according to a new report going before councillors this week.
It comes after a motion was passed in June to agree on the principle of having sanitary bins in every toilet cubicle in schools, libraries, offices and other council buildings.
The Greens’ Alex Staniforth noted they are currently only provided in women’s and disabled toilets, adding that “trans men also needed sanitary bins to dispose of period products”.
His motion also acknowledged that some medical conditions require people to use products such as wet wipes and incontinence pads, which need to be safely disposed of.
“The flushing of these products was discouraged by Scottish Water and they were often discharged into our rivers during high rainfall events,” Cllr Staniforth added.
According to a report looking at the feasibility of introducing sanitary bins in men’s bathrooms there are currently 3,417 in 311 council buildings, with the annual cost of servicing them at £42,805.
To make the facilities available in male toilets would require extra funding of between £25k and £30k each year, which is “not currently available,” the council said, adding that it would need to considered as part of the budget setting process for 2023/24 when it’s decided in February.
The report, which will go before a full council meeting on Thursday, reads: “Any decision to roll-out sanitary units in male toilet cubicles would require funding to be made available to meet these additional costs.
“If council agrees to proceed with this, this should form part of the council’s consideration of the budget for future years.”
Council officials said the current contract for hygiene products is due to expire at the end of this month and a new one will be directly awarded shortly.
“Should the council agree to roll-out the provision of sanitary bins to all toilet cubicles across the council estate, officers will work with the contract holder to manage the roll-out and any associated planning required. It is anticipated that this will be done on a site by site basis,” they said.
They added service providers “have confirmed their commitment to reducing plastic consumption and are actively looking to offset their carbon emissions wherever possible”.
“Once the new contract is in place, officers can discuss with the successful provider if there are any further actions which can be taken to reduce carbon emissions e.g. through energy from waste processing.
“Officers consider that the provision of sanitary units in all toilet cubicles to be an extension of existing practice and therefore an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) would not be required.”