If your charity or voluntary group supports vulnerable people who need toiletries and sanitary products, you can list your specific requests on a specialist web directory called Toiletries Amnesty.
Local people with spare, unwanted toiletries can then use the directory to find their nearest donation point, reducing waste and helping nearby causes, such as groups benefitting the homeless, sex workers, refugees, people fleeing domestic abuse, and anyone on a limited income. This also reduces the amount of toiletries being thrown away when they are in good condition.
Hygiene poverty is a growing concern; whilst food banks have sprung up in many towns and cities, and there are drop-off points in supermarkets for donated goods, people’s basic hygiene needs can often be overlooked.
Toiletries Amnesty has listings from 100 charities across the UK and beyond, but so far has two listings in Bristol and none in Bath, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire. It is free to add your charity or organisation to the site (you just need to register for an account), and you can add plenty of detail about the items you need, as well as anything you can’t use.
Some of the most popular items include shampoo, toothpaste, shower gel and tampons, but less obvious items range from lip balm and hair brushes to sun cream and underwear.
Each charity will have its own requirements for donations – for example, homeless shelters may prefer disposable razors and spray deodorants, because a razor or roll-on deodorant can’t be shared between people. Vulnerable families fleeing domestic abuse will have taken very little with them, especially toiletries, so they can make use of larger products.
Some charities will accept partly used or opened toiletries, but others can only take brand new products. By being specific in your listing, you make sure nothing goes to waste.
People wishing to donate toiletries can use your listing to find the best donation point and your opening hours (Toiletries Amnesty is a signposting service only, and cannot receive goods). The next few months are a particularly good time to ask for toiletry donations – people may have spare hotel miniatures from their summer holiday, and at Christmas they may receive toiletries or cosmetics they don’t want, but it can be a nightmare trying to return them to shops.
Add your organisation to the Toiletries Amnesty directory and prepare to see the donations come flooding in.