Thistles is helping to lift the lid on male incontinence issues by installing sanitary waste bins in all male toilets

  • Thistles, Stirling is Scotland’s first shopping centre to support the ‘Boys Need Bins’ campaign, led by Prostate Cancer UK, which calls on the government to change existing legislation so that sanitary bins are provided in all men’s toilets.
  • A survey of men living with incontinence revealed that 95% feel anxiety due to a lack of sanitary bins in men’s toilets for disposing of pads hygienically.
  • 1 in 3 men over 65 in the UK experience urinary incontinence, and 1 in 20 men aged 60 and over live with bowel incontinence.

Thistles shopping centre in Stirling is proud to pledge its support to Prostate Cancer UK’s ‘Boys Need Bins’ campaign.

The ‘Boys Need Bins’ alarming report launched on 5th September 2023 revealed most men living with incontinence experience poor mental health because they can’t access a sanitary bin in men’s toilets. As of this month, Thistles, Stirling will be the first Scottish shopping centre to back the campaign by providing sanitary bins in both female and male toilets throughout the centre.

95% of men surveyed said that they feel anxiety and stress, because they might not be able to dispose of their pad, pouch, stoma, or other incontinence products hygienically in an appropriate sanitary bin in a cubicle, when they go out.

Worryingly, around half of the men (44%) stated that they now reduce the amount of time they spend out of the house due to incontinence.

Because of the lack of sanitary bins in men’s toilets, almost a third of those surveyed shared that they have been forced to carry their own waste in a bag, so that they can either dispose of it in a public litter bin or take it home with them.

When senior management at Thistles, Stirling became aware of the campaign, they didn’t think twice to ensure sanitary bins could be easily accessed by male visitors to the shopping centre.

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director at Thistles, Stirling said: “It genuinely wasn’t an issue I had considered before, as sanitary bins are traditionally considered a female requirement, but as soon as I heard the shocking statistics and understood more about the issues and challenges facing men living with incontinence, I knew we had to implement a change straight away. When our new contract with the supplier of our sanitary bins came into effect, we added an extra supply of bins to ensure there is adequate access to sanitary bins for everyone who needs to use them.

“I hope this small change has a big impact on anyone suffering with male incontinence in our community and I’d like to thank Prostate Cancer UK for bringing the issue to our attention. It was an easy decision for us to make and I would urge other businesses in the area to get onboard and support the Boys Need Bins campaign.”

Lubna Latif Curtis, Senior Health Influencing Officer at Prostate Cancer UK, said:

“A man living with incontinence deserves the freedom to go shopping without worrying about whether he can get rid of his used pads hygienically and discreetly.

“Despite the fact that 1 in 3 men over 65 experience urinary incontinence, there’s a dire lack of sanitary bins in gents’ toilets and a taboo surrounding the issue. We’ve found that almost all these men feel anxiety about leaving the house, with many telling us they’ve had to carry their soiled pads around in a bag.

“I’m delighted that Thistles shopping centre is backing our Boys Need Bins campaign and introducing sanitary bins in their men’s loos. While we’re pushing to get the law changed, so that every man has access to a proper bin, in the meantime it’s exciting that real progress is happening here in Scotland and across the UK.

“As a charity we’re working to reach as many men in Scotland as possible, because too many are getting a prostate cancer diagnosis that’s too late for a cure. Prostate cancer often has no symptoms and the earlier you find it, the easier it is to treat. You can check your risk in 30 seconds using our Risk Checker on the Prostate Cancer UK website.”

Stirling Councillor Rachel Nunn said “I am so proud of the leadership that Stirling Thistles Centre is showing in providing bins for men. The Thistles Centre has been a positive influencer bringing a wide range of practical supports and solutions to social issues in the past, I am delighted that they are adding this to their list of achievements.”