Thousands of discarded toiletries – shampoos, creams, deodorants, pastes and gels – left behind by passengers at Belfast International Airport are being collected and handed over to the charity, Christians Against Poverty, for distribution to people in need.
Under Department of Transport airport security rules, passengers have to leave the items behind as they go through the Central Search area on their way to their departure gates.
ICTS aviation security company staff collect the toiletries if they are over 100mls. The items are held for a time before being earmarked for disposal.
Wendy Davison, centre manager at the Larne-based Christians Against Poverty (CAP), was presented with the first batch of toiletries by Chris Armstrong, ICTS, and Uel Hoey, Business Development Director, Belfast International Airport.
Ms Davison said: “I would like to thank ICTS and the airport for this initiative and engaging with us. I think it’s fantastic that they’re willing to donate all these items which are going to have a huge impact in our local community.
“We work with people who have debt issues and we help them build a budget around their income and expenditure. Food is the first priority and comes before toiletries.
So, getting regular consignments of toiletries from the airport for people who cannot afford to buy them will have a very positive effect in struggling households.
“You’d have no idea of the volume of items collected on a weekly basis. We were totally surprised. Anything over and above what we can’t use, we’ll share with other organisations such as the Simon Community, the Trustle Trust Food Bank and the Salvation Army, so everything we get will find a good home.”
Chris Armstrong, ICTS, said: “We collect hundreds of items every day, enough to fill three black bags. Passengers simply forget what they can and cannot take through to their departure gates.
“The ‘mountain’ of material we collect will now be put to very good use, and we’re delighted to be involved in this very worthwhile effort.
“Given the list of organisations working with CAP, I know all of what we collect and hand over will help make life that little bit easier for people struggling to make ends meet.”
Belfast International Airport Business Development Director, Uel Hoey, said: “We’re delighted to help in whatever way we can. Toiletries are expensive and for many people who are hard-pressed, they are luxuries in the household. Now, these shampoos, pastes, creams can be put to good use and not be discarded as before.”