1Do you take nearly full or barely used toiletries?
Unfortunately, we only accept new or unused complete products. We know this seems wasteful but can't accept open or used products due to health and safety restrictions. We also believe in empowering dignity; just as you wouldn't give an already used product as a gift, we want to show our recipients the same respect. We can however accept part multipacks of items that are individually packaged.
2Do you take open packs of tampons?
No. The lifespan of a tampon is said to be 5 years, but a wrapped tampon after its expiry date has passed looks the same as one bought more recently. Tampons are not sterile items when wrapped and so can be susceptible to mould and infection (this can be unseen in the applicator). This can cause irritation and infection and in more serious cases, onset of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Some brands such as Carefree do not use expiry dates whilst Tampax show two dates on their boxes: one is the production date and the other is the expiry date. Currently, organic tampon brands do not have to state their expiry date. As you can see, it is all a little confusing so to be safe, we must err on the side of caution.
3Do you take open packs of disposable nappies?
Yes. It is not unusual for a baby or toddler to grow out of a size of nappy part- way through a packet or box of nappies. Parents may have tried or accidentally purchased a new brand which didn’t suit their child, or they might have left spare nappies in a different bag, in the car or at the grandparents’ house only to find that once again their child had grown out of them. Rather than throw them away we’ll distribute them to support families in crisis or in need such as women’s shelters and refuges, mothers facing homelessness, parenting support organisations and community organisations. Please donate any loose nappies bagged up.
4Do you accept cloth nappies and reusable period pads?
We are happy to accept cloth nappies and reusable period pads, cups and pants. These products can be a huge support to many individuals, reducing monthly costs ongoing. However, these products can be unsuitable for some, so our teams will work with their community partners to distribute the items accordingly. Nappies: The use of nappies each week requires a significant cost and time commitment to laundering. Many families and girls we assist are already facing very stressful circumstances, so we aim to provide them with the easiest options possible. Many of those in temporary accommodation or homeless don't have frequent access to the cleaning and sanitation facilities required for reusable products. Period products: Some religious groups and cultures do not accept or encourage internal methods of protection. Many of our users are young girls and most public and school loos have washing facilities outside of the cubicle.
5Do you accept make-up?
We love make-up! These items are always greatly appreciated and can make a huge difference to someone's wellbeing and confidence. For health and safety reasons we can only take new and unused make-up.
6What products don't you accept?
We cannot take health supplements and vitamins, body slimming and weight loss/gain products. We cannot accept any used product. We cannot accept out of date product. We cannot take any over the counter medical creams, ointments or products. We cannot accept anything other than personal hygiene or household cleaning products. A good rule of thumb is: if you use something in your own personal hygiene or home-cleaning routine, chances are someone living in hygiene poverty will appreciate it too.
7Do you take hairdryers, electric styling products and shavers?
Yes, but again due to health and safety restrictions these must be brand new, in their original packaging and pre-fitted with a UK plug. If you want to donate a larger electrical item such as a washing machine, please get in touch and we can work to pair you with a community partner or schools partner nearby.
8Why do you give out products that aren't environmentally friendly, contribute to the plastic problem or aren't cruelty-free?
While we work hard to be environmentally and ecologically aware in our own lives and try to apply ethical and sustainable practices with the charity's resources, we know that these choices are a privilege not everyone can afford to make. We are here to make lives easier and divert unwanted product from landfill to places where there is need. . Therefore, we appreciate all donations. However, we do recognise that many everyday essentials from toilet paper packaging, plastic bottles, toothbrushes, deodorant and cotton buds are not environmentally or animal friendly. We are looking at ways to mitigate the harm and appreciate suggestions from our supporters. Many donations are given to us in plastic bags and rather than dispose of these bags they are reused to distribute goods to our charity partners. We are also working with sustainable brands such as Smol, to support the efforts across the UK to reduce our environmental impact and use of plastics.
9How do you know the need is genuine?
Hygiene poverty is a hidden crisis, affecting people in the UK. Many of those are in work, but simply do not have enough to cover the basics that many of us take for granted. We also know that hygiene poverty disproportionately affects young people, and those with a disability. Many are making impossible choices between putting the heating on for a few minutes or buying toothpaste. In addition, unexpected events can change the course of any of our lives. Losing a job, an accident or long-term health condition, or the breakdown of a relationship can plunge us into debt and erode the security we have relied on. Hygiene poverty is uniquely oppressive because it stops people accessing education and going for job interviews – things that help people to solve their difficulties. At The Hygiene Bank, we believe that everyone deserves to feel clean and that our support – with your help - can be part of the safety net people need to stop them falling further into poverty. Our model ensures we only support organisations who in turn have their referral policies in place. Every community partner we support meets our criteria, which can be found and read on our ‘get products’ page. Working with frontline agencies also ensures that all end users receive the necessary ongoing support.