Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

The Red Liner Bag

September 15th, 2011 by Heather Dillaway

Menstruating while traveling is always interesting. It involves many in-the-moment decisions and also some significant planning at times (both before and during trips). But, it also means noticing various details about your surroundings. I was in a rest area bathroom this summer in the middle of Pennsylvania as I was coming home from Washington, D.C., and saw something so refreshing: a bright red plastic liner bag for a tampon & pad receptacle in a public restroom. In every stall of every public restroom in the U.S., there is a receptacle for throwing away disposal feminine hygiene products and we’ve all seen thousands of them (if not more). Usually those receptacles are lined with white plastic bags or brown paper bags. Never in my life — until this summer in a bathroom at a highway rest area —  have I ever seen a bright red one. It was so refreshing to see such a bright color, and red for that matter! I thought right away, “Why aren’t they red more often?” Especially in the age of colored reusable pads and the neon-colored line of UbyKotex products, perhaps we should be pushing color (and expecting color) on other menstruation-related products? The color red was surprising and validating at the same time, as if finally someone realized exactly what color that liner bag should really be. I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has seen these red liner bag. Has anybody else seen red?


7 responses to “The Red Liner Bag”

  1. Laura Wershler says:

    I’m off to Arizona for two weeks. I’ll keep an eye out for red liner bags! Haven’t seen any in Canada,yet. Brilliant idea.

  2. Heather D says:

    Great! Or any other unexpected color!

  3. Mindy Erchull says:

    Just to add another perspective to things – red is a color used for biohazard bags. That could be why that color was used for a liner bag….

  4. Heather D says:

    Interesting and something I did not even think of, Mindy. Not sure why I didn’t think of that, and of course that makes perfect sense. So, possibly yet another example of the negative meanings attached to menstruation and women’s bodies. Wow.

  5. Cindy Schickendantz says:

    I am certain they are biohazard bags Heather but you can think of it exactly the way you want to think of it. Bright red bags are great if you think they’re great. I love the who-said-it(?) quote: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I like the idea of putting a positive spin on the negative aspects surrounding menstruation – Do it whenever we can and watch what happens….. Hey, its an idea….

  6. Heather D says:

    You’re absolutely right, Cindy. But how do we make sure the more positive spin on this actually gets out there?

  7. Cindy Schickendantz says:

    I believe in the “Hundreth Monkey” theory, (google Jean Shinoda Bolen and the hundreth monkey). Eventually all will catch a new way of thinking. Revolution from a grassroots beginning is an effective way to create change but it is a subtle change that grows exponentially and will not be blatantly apparent. Watch for the subtle changes around you, they are there. I have learned that I can’t hit people over the head with my belief system, as that only creates resistance. But I am seeing a growing interest in women participating in a Red Tent projects, as they want something different for themselves and their daughters. And as always the negative stuff gets the press so that is what you will see and hear the most in the media. The positive spin will come from me and you and the women we interact with and the change will come over time (maybe not in my lifetime, but it has to start somewhere).

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