New Life for Old Bras

by Sally Stacey

Author: Sally Stacey, guest author from Chantilly.

Many of us have fallen into the trap of buying a bra in haste and then discovering it’s the wrong size. We can also grow out of our bras as our weight increases and sometimes we just fancy a change. For these reasons, millions of bras are discarded every year as items of no value. These garments are not really sellable on eBay; there is a perception that nobody would want second hand undergarments and so there is growing bra mountain in landfill which is bad for the environment and a sad waste of resources.

The truth is that bras can have a new life and it is time we stopped throwing them away.

Changing Attitudes

Your bras are a treasured resource in developing countries. In Africa it is still too expensive to produce bras and many countries lack the technical skills to make them, but they are in great demand.

BCR Global Textiles support small businesses in Africa through textile recycling. Traders can make a living selling second hand clothes, including bras, from affluent countries and thereby fulfilling the local demand whilst preventing the items from being discarded in landfill.

BCR have an innovative bra bin for collecting unwanted lingerie. These can be positioned in any public areas to make it easy for ladies to drop off their unwanted bras. BCR have now teamed up with leading charities donating £1 for every kilo of bras that the organisations can collect. Any items which are genuinely beyond all help are recycled for their fibres.

Oxfam’s Great Bra Hunt

Oxfam have also launched a new initiative called the Great Bra Hunt in order to collect high volumes of bras which are then either sold through their chain of shops in the UK, recycled or sent to Senegal to be sold to local traders, who supply eager consumers unable to afford new bras in their own country. The proceeds of the campaign are used to support Oxfam’s projects worldwide.

Help the Homeless

There is also an acute need for bras amongst the homeless population. Ironically, few people ever think of donating bras to charities for the homeless but they are probably the garment most in demand! Not all women want to wear a bra but for those who do, the gift of a bra can make all the difference to their pride and self-esteem.

If you have a bra which is in good condition, your local charities will be only too glad to take it. Attach a small label to the bra with the size written on it as this will help the bra to find the right new owner.

Beyond Repair

Even if your bras are well beyond their best and are unsuitable for re-use you still don’t need to throw them away – the textiles in bras can be recycled to use in the manufacture of new clothing. In today’s world of depleted resources it is vital that as much material as possible is recycled and that everything is kept away from landfill.

New Life, New Light

It is time that we stopped throwing away our bras! There are numerous charities which can benefit greatly from the donation of a bra, and then the garment can go on to help women in Africa and other poor countries as well.

So the next time you look at an old bra, try to see it in a whole new light and have a clear conscience when you treat yourself to new one!


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