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Bobrick expands line of free-vend machines for feminine products to meet new access laws


Bobrick  launched a new collection of token-operated feminine product vendors, expanding its selection of free-vend solutions for tampon and sanitary napkin dispensers in commercial restrooms.

The new offerings come as a reaction to legislation enacted in recent years that requires some public facilities to provide occupants with free access to feminine hygiene products. These new laws primarily affect public schools and create a new market demand for feminine product vending solutions that do not require monetary payment from end-users.

“From legislators to social advocacy groups to end-users, many are asking, ‘If toilet paper is provided for free in restrooms, how are feminine hygiene products any different?” says Bobrick Business Unit Director, Accessories, Nilofar Yagana. “Bobrick’s new offerings are a reaction to these evolving preferences, laws and market demands.”

Many states have also exempted feminine hygiene products from sales tax in recent years, reducing the long-term outlay required of facilities who wish to employ free-vend solutions.

Bobrick currently offers the largest selection of both free-vend and token-vend products among all North American washroom accessory manufacturers. The collection spans 13 models across three design series (ClassicSeries®, TrimLineSeriesand ConturaSeries®) and three mounting types (surface-mounted, semi-recessed and recessed).

The new token-vend products allow cost-conscious facilities to meet the needs of its female occupants while still controlling usage rates.

“There are several ways that a facility can execute a free-vend strategy,” adds Yagana. “Whatever a facility’s budgetary, aesthetic or functional needs are, Bobrick has the widest range of solutions currently on the market.”

Research indicates a critical market need for free access to feminine products in public restrooms. Studies conducted by advocacy group Free the Tampons have revealed that 86 percent of women have experienced an event in which they did not have the required supplies while in public.

In 2016, New York City passed a legislative package requiring free feminine hygiene products be available to students in all city public schools, shelters and correctional facilities. In 2017, the Illinois State Legislature passed a law requiring bathrooms in schools with grades 6 through 12 to make tampons and sanitary napkins available at no cost. In 2018, a new law took effect in California requiring public schools serving grades 6 through 12 where 40 percent of students fall below the poverty line, to stock at least half of their bathrooms with free feminine products—approximately 4,000 schools meet this criteria, including about 1,200 students within the Los Angeles Unified School District. Meanwhile, a Wisconsin legislator has reintroduced a bill that would make free tampons and sanitary napkins a requirement in restrooms in government buildings.

As advocacy groups actively petition legislators to pass similar laws, several other states and municipalities are currently considering new access requirements.

Bobrick’s sanitary/napkin tampon vendors feature superior durability compared to competitive products, and larger capacities to support economical, labor-saving operation. Bobrick’s sanitary napkin/tampon vendors also include the only fully ADA-compliant solutions currently available. All units operate easily and intuitively with less than 5 lbs. force, without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist; Bobrick’s recessed and semi-recessed models also satisfy the ADA 4″ protruding objects requirement.