About 85 percent of textiles produced in the U.S. end up in landfills on an annual basis, and one of the more ubiquitous landfill finds happen to be bras. Oftentimes, people feel uncomfortable donating such private pieces of clothing for someone else to wear; however, most bras are made of synthetic fibers, and could take tens to hundreds of years to fully biodegrade. Therefore, finding a proper bra disposal method is absolutely crucial.
Tossing bras in the trash or recycling bin definitely isn't the way to go, but luckily, there are several organizations that take old brassieres for reuse and recycling purposes. You can donate your bras to the following awesome organizations.
Free The Girls
Free The Girls is a charity organization that takes clean, gently used bra donations. The bras are shipped to human trafficking survivors in Mozambique, El Salvador and Costa Rica, so they can sell them and establish secondhand apparel resale businesses, ultimately as a longterm source of income. Find a drop-off location near you, or if you have over five bras, ship them to 1552 Pioneer Trail, Chesterton, IN 46304.
Since most donation centers don't actually accept worn bras — and often throw them in the trash — Harper Wilde's Recycle, Bra program takes old bras of any size or color, and breaks them down. The materials are then upcycled, or they're made into brand new fibers, to be used for clothes, rugs, cleaning textiles, or even building insulation. And, when you need a new one, they offer pieces that are entirely made of upcycled plastic bottles.
The Bra Recyclers
The Bra Recyclers have donated millions of bras to non-profit organizations across the globe. They specialize in educating consumers on getting the most out of what they buy, and being mindful of what happens to your clothing after you get rid of them. To participate in the program, all you need to do is wash your bra, and fill out the online recycling form. The Bra Recyclers will then email you a paid mailing label, so you can ship it or take it to one of their drop-off locations nationwide.
Knickey's recycling program accepts women's, men's and kid's bras, underwear, socks, and even tights, and upcycles them as secondary textiles, for anything from insulation to mattress batting to rags. After filling out a basic form, Knickey's will send you a shipping label. Then, as a reward for your mindfulness, the company gives you a free pair of underwear. What a deal!
Be a Dear and Donate a Brassiere
Be a Dear and Donate a Brassiere is a Bay Area-based charity that was started in 2014 as part of an SJ Women's Club organization. The group provides bras and underwear to women in need, accepting all sizes, styles, and colors. Email BAD@sjwomansclub.org to get started with coordinating a donation.
There are so many ways to properly dispose of your bras, and trust us, taking that extra step will make a difference environmentally, and in some cases, for other people in need.