Demand for gender neutral toilets rises as firms seek to be inclusive
PUBLISHED: 15:43 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:43 24 January 2019
There has been a boom in demand for gender neutral and gender fluid toilet supplies according to a Norfolk supplier.
Active Group is a corporate bathroom service provider and says its customers – from department stores to local authorities – are increasingly asking for products like sanitary bins to be placed in both male and female toilets.
The founder and managing director of Active Group, Andrew McKay-Atkinson, said: “The demand is definitely coming from our customers; the businesses, as opposed to the customers in their shops or sites asking them.
“I think businesses want to be more forward-thinking and accommodating of the LGBQT+ community, and see their toilets as a reflection of their business as a whole.”
Of the 3,000 clients the Norwich-based company serves, Mr McKay-Atkinson says that in the past 12 months 85% of companies he works with are actively trying to improve inclusivity in their facilities.
Not only does this apply to pro-transgender changes but also companies are also demanding more eco-friendly and healthier products.
“We don’t use aerosol air fresheners anymore because they’re not as eco-friendly, and not as safe for people with asthma,” said Mr KcKay-Atkinson.
“We use blocks of air freshener that disperse scent throughout the day now, as well as hand driers that blow out cooler air and so use less electricity,” said Mr McKay-Atkinson.
Having launched in 2000, Mr McKay-Atkinson’s business now turns over in the region of £1.6m, and employs 16 drivers servicing facilities across the UK.
Mr McKay-Atkinson continued that focussing on facilities for staff and customers made good business sense: “If you have dirty toilets or toilets where you don’t feel comfortable, people will ask themselves what that means for the rest of your business.
“If people feel included then they will come back to use your facilities, increase footfall and potentially the amount of custom you get.”
Capitalising on the ethically-driven demand boom, Active Group has also launched a ‘Ruby Red range’, for every purchase of which sees proceeds donated by the company to The British Heart Foundation.