What to do with your old bras
Do you have old bras lying around? Don’t throw them away! Textiles, including bras, make up almost 6% of today’s solid waste in landfills. Instead, there are many ways to donate, recycle, and reuse them. Continue reading to learn how you can simultaneously do good while feeling good.
How to Donate Used Bras
If you have any gently worn bras that no longer fit you or your style well, you can donate them to others in need. There are several organizations that you can donate to:
- Local Donations. Contact your local shelters to see if bra donations would help. Many women’s and homeless shelters seek gently used bras and other clothing items. Keep your eyes open for any other local donation drives as well — for example, schools may ask for bra donations to help with clothing-insecure students. Donating back to your local community helps keep your carbon footprint small while making a big impact.
- The Bra Recyclers. This company works to ensure that girls and women in need have access to quality bras and underwear. You can donate your gently used undergarments at your nearest dropoff center, or you can mail them directly to the company. The Bra Recyclers also partners with various lingerie companies to offer you discounts so that you can replace any items you need.
- Free the Girls. This organization accepts bra donations for survivors of sex trafficking. It also helps these women attend school and start businesses. Through Free the Girls, sex trafficking victims are able to set up their own businesses selling gently used bras. This helps pull them out of poverty and connect them with other women. To donate less than five bras, go on their website to find a local dropoff station near you; to donate five or more bras, ship them directly to the organization. You can also donate money if you would like to help but don’t currently have used bras sitting around.
- I Support the Girls. This organization provides bras and period products to women going through various hardships, such as homelessness or incarceration. You can make a monetary donation, leave items at a dropoff station, or mail in your donation items.
Donating is a great way to clear up closet space while making a huge difference in others’ lives.
What are some ways to recycle old bras?
If your bras are at the end of their life but too worn to donate, you can also easily recycle them. Many bras are made from cotton or other natural, biodegradable materials, making them easy to recycle. All you have to do is take your old bras to your nearest bra recycling agency or send them through the mail. Here are some tips to recycle your bra:
- Do not put your bra in a normal recycling container. Textiles cannot be recycled in typical recycling facilities. Leaving your worn bras in normal recycling containers will result in the bra ending up in a landfill.
- Google “textile recycling near me” to find a local facility. Check with them to see if they accept worn bras. Your city/state may also provide additional information on recycling near you.
- Use earth911's recycling center locator. This is a useful tool that will help you find dropoff centers near you based on your zip code and the type of item you’re hoping to donate.
What are the benefits of recycling old bras?
Recent numbers tell us that only around 15% of bras end up being recycled.
Recycling your old bras is a more eco-friendly way to get rid of them. It allows them to be used for new purposes, and it keeps them out of landfills.
What are the dangers of not recycling old bras?
Throwing your old bras away instead of recycling them is a generally wasteful habit. Given the current levels of textile-related waste in our landfills, recycling your bras will make a positive impact on the environment.
Bras that are not recycled or donated end up going straight to a landfill—even bras made from recyclable materials.
Keeping these bras out of landfills is a key component of striving toward a clean, healthy environment.
What should be done with old bras that are not recyclable?
If you’re trying to get rid of bras that cannot be donated and are not recyclable, you have two additional options to consider.
Weird as it may sound, bras made from natural materials, such as cotton, can be composted!
The composting process will involve letting the bra fabric decay naturally. It can then be used in compost to enrich the soil for plants.
This eco-friendly option is easy, and it’s perfect for bra-wearers who also happen to garden.
There are a plethora of things you can do with the fabric or underwire from worn bras. Here are just a few ideas for you:
- Creating a face mask
- Stitching your cups into different tops
- Turning your bra into a purse
- Creating “bra art”
Recycle with ThirdLove
As you may be familiar with ThirdLove’s goal of making better bras for your boobs, we’re also dedicated to making a positive impact. We have a year round partnership with TEXAID, a global leader in sustainable solutions for used textiles & giving well-loved bras an afterlife.
Bring in your gently-worn bras to any ThirdLove location & we’ll recycle them for you (while also helping you find your next favorite bra).