Choose a sanitary bin to suit your business – not your supplier!

First decide on the service you need!

Before I get down to talking about actual sanitary bin design, let me explain that there are two types of sanitary bin service: the bin replacement service or the liner exchange service.   A bin exchange physically removes the bin from the premises every time and replaces it with another (clean?) bin.  This works fine in offices and industrial sites.  In theory it should work fine in all buildings but would you want a service company carting a dozen sanitary bins through your restaurant or hotel lobby especially at during busy times (periods doesn’t seem an appropriate word in this context).

A Liner exchange on the other hand removes the waste from the bin and it is placed in a modesty bag which is discretely removed from the premises. The bin should be cleaned and sanitised on site which means that you are guaranteed not to get a cigarette burnt old scabby bin left in place of the shiny new one you had on installation.

Most service companies that do provide a liner exchange service either use a scented antimicrobial liner which inhibits smells or use a silicate powder or sachet to do the same job.  The bin exchange companies tend to do neither.

At this point it is pretty irrelevant which bin style you choose as most bins (90%) of those on the market can be either bin or liner exchange.

Is there such a thing as a ‘designer’ sanitary bin?

Well Versace haven’t launched one yet (that I am aware of), but yes, you can get various designs dependent on your business needs.

The standard bin is a grey or white unit , but becoming more popular are the ‘green’ bins from Kennedy Hygiene – it is actually grey but made from 100% recycled plastic which does mean that every batch is a slightly different shade but it is certainly a step in the right direction and is no difference in price to a ‘standard’ bin.

Low tech designer option of sanitary bin

In the bad old days ‘designer’ bins had their lids dipped in chrome to give a shiny ‘expensive’ finish.  However with advances in coating technologies you can have any colour you wish or even a mix and match of colours – of course there is a cost but several suppliers now have an all-black bin which is the current ‘hot’ favourite.

Is there a ‘high tech’ designer option.

The short answer is yes.  Several manufacturers now sell ‘touch free’ or IR sensor bins and you can get them in various finishes.  The real star of the ‘high tech’ stakes is the wall mounted Sanipod from Pure Concepts, a New Zealand manufacturer of washroom products that has introduced an infrared bin with an integral liner which means it can be emptied safely everyday drastically reducing any risk of odour issues.  It is also wall mounted, one of only two companies (the other being Vendor in the Netherlands) who produce an ‘off the floor model’.

So what is best for me?

That is where your local washroom service provider will come in.  You can search for an IWSA approved supplier here for your area and you should get at least two companies to speak to.  The more populated the area you live in,  the bigger the choice.  However all of the above come at a cost.  It should not be surprising that servicing equipment in the washroom is labour and cost intensive, so be very afraid of anyone offering you a great service and a great looking bin for less than £50 per annum.  The economics just don’t stack up so the supplier will have to find other ways to get their money.

How to add extras onto a sanitary bin quote:

  • Duty of care note fees – should be free but some companies charge up to £250 annually so be careful and check before you sign.
  • Congestion charge fees – only applicable to London currently but be aware
  • Fuel Surcharge fees – yep some folk try anything.
  • Service avoidance – selling you a monthly service but appearing every 2 months
  • Selling bolt on services after the contract is signed – a classic is installing an air freshener and air purifier, one cancels out the other so you pay double for no effect.
  • Random price increases – the national service providers have a clause in their contracts that basically allows them to increase prices as often and by as much as they want.  This tied into a 5 year deal becomes a very expensive option.

So the simple sanitary bin is not quite as simple as you first thought and by discounting heavily to get you to sign up to a 5 year deal most national suppliers then employ an army of ‘business development managers’ whose job it is to upsell additional services and generate margin from the original loss leader.

My message is “ tread carefully and choose a bin to suit you – not your supplier!”

The Humble Toilet Brush

toilet brushes

The flushing toilet was invented by John Harrington in 1596.   However the modern plastic version of the toilet brush was not invented until 1932 by William C. Schopp (source: Wikipedia).

This begs the question how did they clean toilets in the intervening 336 years? Lets not dwell on that, this post may be unpleasant enough.

It would be fair to say that there hasn’t really been much change to the ‘modern’ toilet brush and 99% of brushes sold still use the same design.  However there is a big question that needs to be asked.  How often do you clean or replace it (the toilet brush). Mainland Europe are leading the way in the commercial sector with washroom companies offering toilet brush replacement on a 12 weekly cycle. A waste I hear some of you shout?  yes it possible is, but the cost to wash a sanitise a toilet brush head (both carbon and financial) is probably very similar to the cost to replace new. Replacement frequency like all things depend on use.. If your toilet brush looks like a hedgehog with alopecea, then I suggest you change it. Whether you clean it or replace it depends on you and what you to do. If you have a bespoke or fancy toilet brush holder finding a toilet brush to fit may be an issue and may not be cheap.  And don’t forget to clean and sanitise the very holder you keep your toilet brush in.

toilet brushA personal bug bear of mine is toilet brush holders on the floor of public toilets.  A busy cleaner invariably (not all) mops around the holder  so nit only do you have a dirty toilet brush but a dirty floor where it sits.  Vendor (Netherlands

Vendor wall mounted toilet brush and holder





However the toilet brush is evolving and the new generation of brushes are more like cooking spatulas.  Here is the Cool Blade which is you will agree very ‘cool’ as toilet brushes go!

UPDATE: (7/12/15) I have discovered that CoolBlade are crowdfunding to bring the unit to market.  Details here.  So far they have raised over £50,000!

LooBlade_21st century toilet brush
Cool Blade toilet cleaner (brush)

Toilet brushes are not your usual topic of conversation but everyone has an opinion.  They come in all shapes and sizes and prices vary from £1 in Tesco to £579 for a copper ‘Zodiac’ in Harrods.   However the thing we all agree on is the annoyance when the person before you doesn’t bother to use it!