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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

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Guidance on managing periods on Nights Away activities

FS120357 (Published April 2022)

Good hygiene practices on camp minimises the risk of anyone becoming ill and contributes to all enjoying their camping experience.

Volunteers are encouraged to discuss good personal hygiene with young people, from washing to the use of periods products (these are the products used to catch menstrual flow, such as pads, cloths, tampons or cups). This guidance focusses on the key considerations relating to menstrual hygiene on Nights Away activities.

It's best if young people provide their preferred products themselves while on a camp, but it is helpful to make additional period products available (including sanitary disposals bags), as well as supportive products for menstrual health more broadly (such as soap, underwear and pain relief).

Ensure everyone is aware of how they can access and use these products if they need additional guidance.

The term ‘sanitary waste disposal’ primarily refers to the disposal of period products. 

Commercial campsites are legally required to adhere to a range of sanitary waste disposal regulations.

Campsite toilets and washrooms have to provide appropriate toilets for disposal of human waste and sanitary waste disposal bins for used period products, along with hand washing facilities.

  • Hand washing or use of hand sanitiser is essential to help maintain effective personal hygiene. This should be done before and after the use of a period product as well as after its disposal.
  • For used period products, use a sanitary bin where provided for disposal.
  • If a sanitary bin is not available, then use sanitary bags and dispose of in a general rubbish bin.
  • If sanitary bags are not available wrap some toilet paper around the period product and dispose of in a general rubbish waste bin. Hopefully this is avoidable by forward planning and taking bags on camp with you.
  • Ensure any general waste bins used for disposal of any used period products have a bin liner in them and are not full. 
  • You may want to consider bin locations for disposing of period products discreetly. For example, people shouldn't need to use an office bin.
  • Do not flush any period products down the toilet or place into any chemical or compost toilets.
  • Any period products will need to be ‘packed out’. To aid this process use a sanitary bag or wrap in toilet paper and place into a dedicated pack out container, double zipped lock bag or small dry bag and store this in a rucksack.
  • Carry it out or pack out - this is the way of containing waste to transport it back to a safe place of disposal. It includes toilet paper, menstrual products even poo. Usually gathered in a small bag then put into a sealable, leak-proof container, such as zip-lock bag, Tupperware or equivalent.
  • Do not bury any period products as this has a long term impact on the environment and animals may dig up the period products.
  • Waste from a period cup should be disposed into a ‘cat hole’ (dug about 20 cm deep) and the cup cleaned carefully after.
  • Where there is limited availability to toilets or washing facilities, ensure there are wipes available to maintain good personal hygiene.

Nights away guidance

Nights away and camping