Trimming my waste: Week 11 (bra recycling) | the ReFab Diaries

Goals - Week 11:
  • Reduce my textile waste
  • Support organizations that recycle the usually un-recyclable
  • Finally get rid of 8 pairs of old bras I've been "storing"

Stretch goal: organize a bra drive!

We tend to think of jeans as hard-working items of clothing. But bras work a lot harder and demand greater care. And when they're trashed (because if you're me, you wear them until they're trashed), then what? You might be interested in repurposing parts of them. But you can't donate them. You can't compost them. So you (and me) end up trashing them. But guess what? About 95% of textiles, worn or torn, can be recycled. Right now, only 15% are actually recycled. Let's change this!

If you're in the US, here are three amazing organizations ready to take your trashy old bras off your hands:

The Bra Recyclers specialize in the recycling and reuse of used and unused bras. Bras collected are recycled and/or distributed around the world through textile recyclers, exporters or Bra Recycling Ambassadors to deserving families (for women and girls in transition, bras are one of the most requested and coveted items). Through their distribution of bras around the world, they are doing their part to reduce the amount of re-usable textiles unnecessarily going to landfills.

The Bra Recyclers also accepts:

Prosthesis and other breast forms
Mastectomy Bras
Post Surgery Camisoles
Nursing Bras
Nursing Camisoles
Only new panties

Free the Girls is a non-profit organization that partners with established after-care facilities to provide an opportunity for sex trafficking survivors to build their own business selling second-hand clothing. When you donate a bra, you give a former slave a job.

To date they’ve helped over 60 women find employment, collected and shipped over 500,000 bras donated by women all over the world. In 2016, Free The Girls is launching an ambitious expansion to their existing jobs program to provide the women they serve with even more job training, life skills mentoring and educational opportunities.

The Bra Recycling Agency (B.R.A) recycles bra's, reducing landfill, while raising money for Breast Cancer Research by selling the Underwire to metal recyclers. Their list of goals: 

  • Waste reduction
  • Reclaiming steel (underwire) for a donation to breast cancer research
  • Cleaner communities
  • Alternative use of discarded polyurethane bra’s (carpet cushion)
  • Create green jobs - we are not a charity and hope to build a business that will thrive and create new jobs
  • Responsible manufacturing end-of-life methods for intimate apparel brands

What do you do with your old bras??? 

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  1. I donate my old bras to a Battered women's shelter where they something arrive with nothing but the clothing they are wearing. They need many things and it brings me joy when I can donate to a need.


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