The Importance of Equitable Access
The Free Vend Trend
Providing access to menstrual hygiene products in public restroom, free of charge, is seen as a necessity in an equitable world. Across the country, legislation is being passed to require public facilities to meet this expectation.
Interactive Legislation Map
Highlighted states have adopted or pending legislation. Click on a highlighted state or use the drop down menu to find out more.
Laws Are Changing
Promoting Dignity & Health
Any facility looking to meet the expectations of its user base should consider how common it is for U.S. women ages 18-54 to have their period begin unexpectedly in public. The following survey results are courtesy of the Free the Tampons Foundation:
- 86% of women need access to menstrual supplies while in public
- 34% went home immediately to get supplies
- 48% obtain their supplies from a vendor in a public restroom
These takeaways underscore the importance of increasing public access to menstrual products—when users do not have the supplies they need readily available, work and school attendance can suffer.
Today, public schools in particular are using free menstrual product vendors to accommodate the health of students. In an effort to improve student health, reduce absentee rates and promote focused learning, five states and several municipalities have enacted legislation requiring free menstrual products in public schools.
In 2018, a new law took effect in California requiring public schools serving grades 6 through 12, where 40 percent of students fall below to poverty line, to stock at least half of their bathrooms with free menstrual products—approximately 4,000 schools meet this criteria.
With other states currently considering similar legislation, it is clear the free vend trend is gaining momentum.
The Value of Free
In facilities where free vend has been introduced, users consume less than two products per year, on average. As most women have a preferred brand, the free product is viewed as a “last resort” for unplanned events only.
For operators, this underscores the cost-benefit of implementing free vend—in most cases, the service benefit will far outweigh the cost of consumables. Bobrick helps facilities fulfill the expectation with an unmatched selection of free vend and token vend products.