Toiletries Amnesty

Third Sector • East Cambridgeshire

Sharing unwanted toiletries with those in need, diverting them from the waste stream and going to landfill.

  • Toiletries.
  • UK map showing places you can donate your toiletries.
  • Big Issue article featuring Toiletries Amnesty

Our story

Toiletries Amnesty works across the UK and abroad to alleviate hygiene poverty.

It all started in an airing cupboard back in September 2014. We realised that too many people were living with too many spare, unwanted or unused toiletry products, and that actually these items could be really helpful to others. The original premise was to collect spare toiletries for one homeless shelter in Cambridge, the donations kept coming and we now support over 400 organisations across the world.

We work with homeless shelters and hostels, women and children's refuges, mental health services, children and families centres, food banks, refugee support groups, NHS Trust services, schools and colleges, prison services, community groups, and other organisations who need our support.

It's true, there shouldn't be a situation where so many people are in such desperate need, but that's the situation we're in, and the best we can do is to help others in any way we can. It's not just about supporting local communities and forming more understanding relationships in society, it's about demonstrating that a small act can have a huge and positive effect on us all, as well as helping decrease our environmental impact.

When it comes to donating toiletries we wanted to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get involved, so we created a directory of those who'd really appreciate a little bit of help from us all. You can see what the organisations do, and where they are, and you can see how to get in touch with them.

In the past few years, we've seen demand grow on a huge scale. In 2019 we supported 250,000 users and by the end of 2021, this had grown to 2.25 million. With additional financial support, the scalability, positive impact on the environment and community engagement are set to only increase.

The initiative was originally set up as a directory to allow members of the public to find an organisation near them that they could donate their unwanted toiletries to, and we now also facilitate donations from brands who want to donate items in their thousands.

Small actions make big changes.

Our advice

Most directory members need basic toiletries such as shower gel, shampoo, soap, but there is also a great importance in being able to provide things like makeup and skincare too.

We've been very lucky to work with some luxury brands who want to donate items, and have heard back from the organisations that we support who say that the service users who receive these items are overwhelmed, as people often forget the positive power that a lovely product can have on our wellbeing and self-confidence.

Our metrics

Monthly questionnaires to organisations receiving donations, and donor submission forms via our website.
Also recording bulk donations made from beauty brands and PR companies.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Action Area

Circular Economy

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation

Reach

Nation

Organisation

Third Sector, less than 9 people

Shared by

Charlotte Shears

Updated Feb, 2024

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