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Aibu to change bin liners instead of reusing when voluntarily cleaning public restrooms

(12 Posts)
FreeCleaner Mon 26-Jan-15 17:07:28

Sorry for the long title, wanted to give some idea of what thread was about. Name changed for this.

I volunteer to clean bathrooms at our place of worship. Many more than just the congregation use them, rent for meetings, any week can have 300+ outsider people in at a time. It takes me about two hours to do this (each bathroom has multiple toilets, etc.) It's volunteers only since there is no money in the budget to hire a cleaner. They are cleaned 4 times a week, by one person usually (another volunteer). They have been looking for ages for more help but of course no one wants to do this so I wanted to help out.

My first cleaning, last week, the regular volunteer was there. She very nicely showed me where things were, how she does things, etc. But instead of changing the bin cans, she reaches her (gloved) hand in there and transfers the waste from the bin to one large bin liner in order to save money and wants me to do it this way.

I understand she is trying to save the church money. Most if not all supplies come from the congregation. I brought my own cleaning supplies for the most part last week (not bin liners). But I also know (and Don't know) what people throw in there. Yes, I have rubber gloves on but still. I told her nicely I would just replace all bin liners and she didn't say anything but I could tell she was irked by this.

When I got to the last can, I started for feel guilty, being quite frugal myself. So the last bin I reached in there and was transferring trash from the bin (large metal bins) to the bag. I almost got to the bottom, and there was a syringe lying there! That was it. I took the whole bag out and replaced it and told another woman in the head office what happened. I am not going to get jabbed by some syringe or god knows what else on a voluntary job (or any job really). I could lift the bin then empty the contents, but frankly takes so much longer - the bins are large heavy metal. I have limited time to help out and I want to get out asap. AIBU in this??

I might bring my own bin liners this week because I still feel like I am wasting. But I really don't think I'm asking too much, or am I?

FightOrFlight Mon 26-Jan-15 17:13:10

Agreed that a public toilet can have all manner of hazardous stuff bunged in there so YANBU to want to replace the liners. If you are now taking your own it's nobody else's business.

What did you do with the syringe? Did you hand it in so that it could be disposed of properly or leave it in with the rubbish?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 26-Jan-15 17:16:23

If you feel guilty buy your own bin liners. You also need to report the syringe/make sure it is properly disposed of. If syringes in the bins are a common thing volunteers should not be dealing with them in case you get a needle stick injury.

Discopanda Mon 26-Jan-15 17:16:26

Hmmm I can understand reusing bin liners a couple of times if they aren't too gross but as they're basically public toilets YANBU for wanting to change the bin liners. They might start smelling bad.

FamilyAdventure Mon 26-Jan-15 17:20:45

If the church is regularly hiring facilities and having 300+ passing though, outside of worship, it needs to charge enough to cover the cleaning IMO.

If syringes are a regular problem there needs to be a proper disposal system

PtolemysNeedle Mon 26-Jan-15 17:26:47

This woman is minging. Really. That's just disgusting behaviour.


AMumInScotland Mon 26-Jan-15 17:29:50

They should be charging enough for the hire to cover costs, and that includes paying a cleaner and providing supplies of what is needed for the cleaner to do the job. They are running a business once they start ring it out, and have to think of it that way as well as a place of worship.

It is kind of you to volunteer, and if you really feel this is something you want to contribute then that's kind of you. But at the very least they should be providing you with supplies - giving your time to an organisation is a choice, but they shouldn't leave you out of pocket just doing the job safely.

And yes, if needles are a regular problem, they should have a 'sharps' disposal box.

tiggytape Mon 26-Jan-15 17:42:30

Definitely NBU
I hope the "frugal" lady will also be told about the syringe and that her method is not a good idea. It isn't like cleaning at home - it is a public toilet for all intents and purposes. Rubber gloves don't prevent needle stick injuries and the possible complications and worry they bring.

FreeCleaner Mon 26-Jan-15 18:09:18

I'm ashamed that I didn't do anything about the syringe, I have to be honest. Next time I'll know better. I was so shocked and was trying to convince myself I was wasting that when I saw that I just immediately took the bag out and replaced it.

I agree with the fact that they should be charging more to hire a cleaner. I feel kind of funny mentioning that now to them, that I volunteered to clean ykwim? I did say that they actively needed to try to get more volunteers. The woman that usually does it (again a Very lovely woman) does it three times a week. She is retired, but still. I know she doesn't relish doing it - who would - but I did voice my opinion that I didn't think that anyone should really have to do it more than once a week unless they really Wanted to.

I bring in my own supplies because I just have stuff that works best for me, so I bring it. For instance, using those wipes is great at home in between but with really scroungy work I think they are useless. I bring my own cleaning rags because there are none supplied and I think they just work better when cleaning so many sinks, etc. I do use the wipes on the toilet, I bring my own. I don't know for sure, but I think the other volunteer uses one wipe on the counter top, double sinks, and then uses it to clean the back of the toilet seats, etc. One wipe! I wipe down all the sinks with water and a rag, then use spray cleaner and let it sit while I use wipes to wipe in back of toilets, scrub the toilets with proper cleaner, etc.

AmyLeeha Mon 26-Jan-15 18:48:15

Sounds like you'd be doing them a favour by mentioning what has been said above about hiring the rooms out properly. You could pose it as something you heard about elsewhere, or something someone suggested to you if that's more comfortable. The toilets sound like they need a professional/dedicated cleaner, no matter how well intentioned these ladies (what, no men felt like offering their time for this job, that does surprise me) are.

Good on you for volunteering and I'd say that unless the church wants them cleaned a specific way, as you're volunteering, you should just do it your way.

FreeCleaner Mon 26-Jan-15 19:11:51

Thank you, that is a good suggestion Amy

AgentProvocateur Mon 26-Jan-15 19:24:04

Even if you're a volunteer, there should be a risk assessment carried out, and syringes (and bloody sanitary wear) considered.

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