Don't Throw Away Your Old Bras — Donate Them to These Organizations

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Oct. 12 2023, Updated 12:40 p.m. ET

Woman in black bralette
Source: iStock

About 85 percent of textiles produced in the U.S. end up in landfills on an annual basis — and yes, that includes bras. Oftentimes, people feel uncomfortable donating such private pieces of clothing for someone else to wear, so instead, they throw them away.

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However, bras are often made of synthetic fibers, as well as many components of varying materials, and could literally take 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; luckily, there are several companies and organizations that take old brassieres and bralettes for resale, reuse, and recycling purposes. You can donate your bras to the following awesome places.

Harper Wilde

Since many clothing donation centers don't actually accept worn bras — and often throw them in the trash — Harper Wilde's Recycle, Bra program takes old bras and underwear 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.

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If you've never shopped from Harper Wilde before, sign up here to receive bra recycling instructions; note that you'll have to pay for shipping yourself.

If you have shopped from Harper Wilde, enter your order number here to receive a free shipping label.

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The Bra Recyclers

The Bra Recyclers has donated millions of bras to nonprofit organizations across the globe. The social enterprise specializes in educating consumers on getting the most out of what they buy, and being mindful of what happens to your clothing items after you get rid of them.

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To participate in the group's bra recycling program, make sure to first wash your bras (regular, sports bras, and nursing bras are all accepted, as well as new panties, boxers, and briefs). Then, fill out the online recycling form, and pay for a shipping label to mail your bras in.

But first, check The Bra Recycler's map of hundreds of drop-off locations across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada, where you can drop off your bras free of charge.

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Model in white bra and underwear lays on bed with Subset logo
Source: Subset

Subset, a brand that makes organic cotton bralettes, underwear, and more, also offers a recycling program, powered by SuperCircle. The program accepts bras, underwear, socks, and even tights of any condition, and upcycles them as secondary textiles, for anything from insulation to mattress batting to rags.

To participate, download a free shipping label from the website. Fill any packaging you have at home with all your items, and send it back. In exchange, Subset will give you $15 off your next order.

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I Support the Girls

The organization I Support the Girls (ISTG) collects donations of new and gently-used bras (as well as new underwear with tags, individually sealed menstrual hygiene products, and sealed toiletries). Then, ISTG distributes them to women and girls experiencing homelessness, with help from its many local organization partners.

You can bring your bras and other items at one of ISTG's drop-off boxes (located in seven countries, including the U.S.). Or, using your own shipping materials, mail them to one of the addresses on this page on ISTG's website.

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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 to get started with coordinating a donation. However, as of October 2023, the charity is on sabbatical.

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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.

This article, originally published on Jan. 29, 2021, has been updated.

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