How to recycle your old bras
What do you do with your clothes when you don't want them anymore? The easiest option for most of us is to bundle them into a bag and take them to the nearest charity shop. But what about old bras? Many charity shops don't accept them, so you'd be forgiven for thinking your only other option is to throw them away. Instead of adding your smalls to the rather large (and getting ever-larger) piles of landfill, give them a longer life and do good at the same time by donating to one of these brilliant causes.
Smalls for All
Can you believe that there are places in the world where girls are forced to drop out of education for something as simple as getting their period? Most of us don't think twice about the fact that we get to own underwear, but in many places around the world it's an unaffordable luxury. Since Smalls for All started up 8 years ago, they've distributed 731,061 bras and pants to women and children all over the African continent, in countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. They accept donations of new pants and new and gently used bras (including sports bras and nursing bras) by post.
Against Breast Cancer
Against Breast Cancer aims to increase the survival rates of all breast cancer patients by funding pioneering research into new treatments, tools for earlier diagnosis and advice provision. Ultimately, they want to discover a vaccine against breast cancer, and you can help fund their efforts by posting your old bras or dropping them at your nearest Bra Bank.
Schwop with M&S and Oxfam
In 2008 Marks & Spencer launched the Schwopping initiative in conjunction with Oxfam and over the last decade they've stopped over 20 million items from going to landfill. Schwopping is easy - take in any unwanted clothes (including bras) from any brand, regardless of condition, into participating M&S branches or Oxfam where they'll be sold, sent overseas to social enterprises such as Frip Ethique in Senegal to be sorted and sold to local market traders, or recycled into something new. Find out more here.
TRAID is a charity that exists to deal with the negative social and environmental impacts of the way our clothes are made, bought, and disposed of.
“Every aspect of TRAID’s work aims to minimise, improve and transform the impacts of clothes – from stopping clothes being thrown away, to extending the life of clothes in our charity shops…to delivering sustainable education, to the international development projects we fund to improve environmental and working practices in the fashion industry. Reusing clothes avoids landfill and incineration, and displaces the need to produce new clothes and all the associated environmental costs of manufacture and disposal.”
And finally, some suggestions for our friends across the pond: