Beauty Skincare

Toiletries Amnesty: Recycling Beauty Products

recycling beauty products

No one wants to toss out good stuff they don’t use. But recycling beauty products and other items has never been easier!

By Arwa Lodhi

We’ve all done it: bought a skin cream, used it for awhile, then stopped, realising it’s making us break out. Or maybe a new cosmetic, which looked great in the store, but once you try it at home, you realise that’s just not the right shade for you. Or maybe you’ve been gifted a perfume, which, after just one spray, you knew you’d never, ever wear. But now the problem of unwanted toiletries and cosmetics has been solved, thanks to a new website called Toiletries Amnesty.

The site links people with unwanted toiletries and cosmetics to an interactive directory of community causes that need them most, such as food banks, shelters and charities. Donors can find full details of the local charities and social enterprises that need their help, and then donate at the most appropriate time and location.

Recycling Toiletries – And Giving Back!

The concept is the brainchild of photographer and writer Karen Harvey, who started donating her own extra toiletries to a homeless shelter in Cambridgeshire, UK , in 2014. Like most of us, Karen had accumulated many excess toiletries as gifts, in sales, and when travelling. After having blogged about her frustration in not being able to rid herself of all these products, Karen found people across the country asking her for advice about where to donate their own unwanted products.

 “I had no idea we’d get so much support for the Toiletries Amnesty, but it’s so easy for people to get involved, it makes sense. There’s a social and an environmental aspect too, small actions make big changes!” says Karen.

Today, food banks, homeless shelters, mental health charities, refuges, schools and colleges can simply register to create an account and state which products they can and cannot accept. The most desirable items range from deodorant and soap to shower gel and toothpaste, with smaller travel-size or disposable items being particularly useful for homeless shelters.

Toiletries Amnesty aims to cut the amount of usable goods going to landfill or lingering in bathroom cupboards long past their expiry dates, and it has already been lauded for its efforts: in May 2018, they were awarded the Global X Foundation Grant in recognition of their great, waste-reducing work.

Beyond Toiletries

recycling beauty products

But it’s not just toiletries that get the boot. Too many of us are throwing out clothes, toys, and even food that could be very happily used by others.

OLIO wants to put an end to that!

Their easy-to-use app is best known for reducing food waste, by allowing people with extra to share. But the company has recently expanded!

They’ve revealed that now 20% of all their listings are actually for non-food based stuff. Thousands of items such as toiletries, cosmetics, kitchen equipment, books, toys and clothes can now also be shared between neighbours. A much better option than ending up in the bin or in a dusty attic, to be forgotten forever.

It’s so easy to do, no matter where you live!

OLIO has over 2.5 million users in over 52 countries. The company allows users to give away items they no longer want or need for free to people in their local community.

To share, users simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO. Neighbours then receive customised alerts and can request anything that takes their fancy. Pickup is arranged via private messaging within the app, and often takes place the same day. Great idea, right?

Save money, and the planet, at the same time!

Do you know of any other ways of recycling beauty products and other unwanted items? Let us know in the comments below!

And if you’d like to purge your bathroom cupboards and help those in need, visit Toiletries Amnesty on Twitter (@toiletriesam) or Facebook (@tamnesty) for more information.

Chere Di Boscio

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