This article is an updated and modified version of the original Cream Tea & Charity – Simple Ways to do Something Good for Others blog post written by Karen Harvey via I Don’t Like Peas on September 2, 2016.
Living in a post-pandemic world, with a rising cost of living and constant environmental change, we all need to make changes in our lives to make our present and future a better place to be.
One of the major solutions we have all become quite familiar with is the idea of sustainability and reducing waste – making sure that everything we own has a purpose, and if it doesn’t then what can we do with it to ensure it has a second life? We know we can donate clothing and bric-a-brac to our local charity shop, but where can we donate toiletries to those in need? Broken jewellery? Or even leftover foreign currency from that trip you took years ago?
To make it even easier for you to give unwanted things a second life, here’s some projects, places and organisations where you can make donations that you didn’t think were possible:
A social, ethical, and environmental organisation, Toiletries Amnesty works globally to end hygiene poverty and stop products from going to waste. In 2021, they provided access to toiletries to over 2.25 million people, whilst diverting 1000s of tonnes beauty waste from landfill and incineration through the donations of kind individuals.
Supporting over 500 organisations with their online directory, Toiletries Amnesty makes it easy to donate products directly to those who need it – beauty products to hygiene essentials, even part-used products can be sent.
“Our mission is to alleviate hygiene poverty while reducing waste by connecting donors to the places and people that need these products the most.” Karen Harvey, Toiletries Amnesty.
By taking broken and unwanted jewellery and beads, Toiletries Amnesty and the organisations they support give them a new lease of life as beautiful bracelets, transforming them into something new and unique. The first collection is hand-made by Feathers Futures and are available to buy directly from the Toiletries Amnesty website. Have you got broken jewellery sitting in the back of a drawer? Find out how to donate it here. Proceeds from the sale of these bracelets will go straight back into supporting those in need, so the cycle of kindness continues.
By donating, you’ll be helping the organisation provide support to those living in hygiene poverty around the world.
Another way you can help towards the cause is by donating any foreign currency you have hidden in the nooks and crannies of your home that you may have forgotten about from holidays long ago. Toiletries Amnesty have made it possible for you to donate any foreign bank notes or coins no matter how old they may be. All these little acts make a huge difference to your local community and help Toiletries Amnesty complete their mission. Find out how to donate your leftover foreign currency here.
Set up by Shutter Hub as an appeal to help homeless photographers, the project supports the delivery of hands-on workshops, exhibitions and print projects, allowing those involved to express their ideas and creativity which otherwise could go unseen and unheard. They work hard to build confidence, develop transferable skills, and empower people to use photography to tell their own stories, creating outcomes that benefit them and the wider community.
Camera Amnesty can accept digital and film cameras, from D/SLRs to point and shoots, camera phones, film, memory cards, bags and anything that could be of use to a photographer. Where an item can’t be used by any of the groups (due to age, damage, unsuitability etc) rather than dispose of it, they will attempt to sell it on, and any income from this will go straight back into Camera Amnesty Projects funds.
How else can you declutter your home while helping others in need and living more sustainably?
Give your bubble wrap, tissue paper, jewellery boxes, nice packaging, carrier bags to local charity shops. A lot of smaller charity shops are pleased to receive these things, and it means you’re not contributing to landfill with all your waste packaging. You could even try your local church, hospice or community groups to see if they’re at all in need.
Find new homes for your furniture and household things. Not everywhere has room to store larger things, but if you are getting rid of a fridge, cooker, bed, or useful furniture due to a move or wanting an upgrade, it’s worth giving your local refuge or hostel a call and asking if they’ve got anyone who needs it. Mostly when people move into permanent accommodation, they have little or no belongings. Curtains, bedding, anything goes a long way. Charities such as The British Heart Foundation even offer a service to collect your larger appliances or unwanted furniture.
Have enough prescription glasses or frames dotted around the house to open your own store with? Why not contact your local opticians to see if they provide a Vision Aid Overseas box where you can donate specs in any state to be repurposed for those in need abroad. Most high streets stores should be able to either receive them or have information on how else to donate them.
These are just a few ways that you can support causes that will help those most in need while contributing towards the mission of a more sustainable lifestyle. Also bear in mind that some of the organisations on Toiletries Amnesty’s directory may need some of these items as well as hygiene products, so check there too! Starting with local communities and leading to a global scale of reducing waste, small actions make big changes.
If you’d like to help support the work we’re doing at Toiletries Amnesty, please consider making a financial donation. All donations, big and small, help us cover the day-to-day running costs as well as giving us the opportunity to reach out to and support more people. If you can, please donate via Paypal using the button below. Thank you.