What To Do With Old Bras
By: DAISY HEMMEN
Ever wonder what you can do with old underwear, and more specifically bras? Experts recommend that you replace your old and unwearable bras every six months or after 180 wears.1Ultimately, you want a new bra that is well-made and utilizes long-lasting materials like bamboo viscose. You’ll extend the life cycle of your bra and reduce your carbon footprint. You might be surprised at how easy it is to incorporate sustainable fashion practices into your wardrobe. Get started by understanding what bamboo viscose is and how it is an eco-friendly alternative to other traditional materials.
Now, before you go racing to your favorite store or website to replace your faded, old underwear with new bra types, take a moment to think about where your unwearable bras will end up.
Did you know you can recycle old and gently worn bras?
Recycling your bras, really?
Absolutely! According to Resource Recycling Systems2, 84% of textile waste is sent to landfills at a cost of $3.7 billion.
To break this cycle of waste, consider recycling your older bras.
Depending on the condition of your unwanted bra, you may be able to recycle, resell, or repurpose the garment.3 A barely worn bra—whether it no longer fits or is not your style—can be donated to someone in need, while your much-used underpinnings can be sent to a recycling center to be recycled or repurposed.
How to recycle bras
So you’ve decided it’s time to let go of your college era undergarments.
Again, you’ll want to assess the condition of your bra before deciding which recycling route you want to take. A threadbare garment should probably never be worn again, while a bra in decent or even good condition could have a second life.
When you’re ready to recycle your bra, consider the following options:
- Donate your unwanted bra. Donating your gently worn bras is good for your closet, the environment, and for women in less fortunate situations. Numerous organizations accept bra donations, such as a charity shop, bra bank, or homeless shelter thrift store that will accept gently used items, which we'll detail below. There is also a textile recycler specifically for bras called The Bra Recyclers (we’ll talk about them more later on!).
- Take your bra to a textile recycling center. Use the website Recycle Now3 to find clothing recycling locations near you.
Send your bra to an eco-conscious brand.4 Companies like Knickey, Patagonia WornWear, Brass Clothing, and more will take care of recycling your bra donation for you.
Crafty? Repurpose your gently used bra at home. 5If you’re big into DIY projects, you may want to try and repurpose your used bra at home. The padding of an old bra can be used as shoe inserts for too-big shoes, for example, or you may be able to turn your gently used bra into a new, funky purse.
Why you should recycle bras
Recycled bras can help those in need more than you know. If your bra has been worn but is still in good condition, you can donate it to organizations like Against Breast Cancer and Free the Girls.
Against Breast Cancer has bra banks that raise funds for cancer research. The bras that the organization receives also go to help support small businesses in Africa, giving bras a new “lease on life” before they hit recycling plants. For every ton of bras that Against Breast Cancer receives, the UK-based organization receives almost $850 U.S. dollars for cancer research.
Free the Girls is an organization that helps girls rescued from sex trafficking to "live a life of freedom." Here’s how their bra recycling works: The bras you donate to Free the Girls are used by survivors in Central America and Africa to start their own business selling secondhand clothes. There are bra dropoff locations at stores around the country, and you can even learn how to host your own bra drive with family and friends. Wouldn't it be nice to know your donated bras are put to good use?
You can also donate your bras to companies like The Bra Recyclers8, which will take these used bras and funnel them to over 100 nonprofits worldwide. All in all, bra recycling doesn’t take much effort on your part, but can make a world of difference for someone else.
When to replace your bra
Maybe you go bra-less more often than not, or maybe you’ve never been fitted by an expert to determine exactly what your cup size is, so you end up cycling through dozens of bras without finding the perfect fit.
Don’t worry—you're not alone.
Finding the perfect bra is not an exact science, and it’s normal for our bodies to change over time, making your once beloved bra a now discarded piece.
Consider the following questions if you’re wondering if it’s high time you replaced your brassiere:1
- Is the back stretched out?
- Are the cups gaping?
- Are you spilling out over your cups?
- Are the straps loose?
- Is the underwire painful?
- Is the color faded beyond recognition?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, it may be time to think about recycling your bra.
Invest in the best—Boody Eco Wear
Here at Boody Eco Wear, we make it our mission to create affordable, comfortable, timeless essentials that you can wear over and over again.
Boody Eco Wear’s sustainable bras are crafted from bamboo viscose. These bras are not only soft and ideal for sensitive skin, but also environmentally friendly—bamboo farms are regenerative, use very little water, and can be successful in almost any climate.
After you recycle or repurpose your old bra that no longer serves you, head to Boody Eco Wear to find the womens bamboo clothing garments you’ll never want to let go of.
About the Author:
Daisy Hemmen is a San Diego State University Fowler College of Business alumni. Based in Encinitas, California, Daisy is a part of the marketing team at Boody North America. She is passionate about learning the ins and outs of living a happy and healthy lifestyle that benefits both people and the planet, and enjoys sharing her bountiful findings with the community.
- Real Simple. 9 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Bra ASAP. https://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/shoes-accessories/lingerie-hosiery/when-to-buy-new-bra
- Resource Recycling Systems. Special Focus: Textile Recovery. https://recycle.com/whats-new/textile-recovery/
- Glamour. How to Donate and Recycle Old Bras, Lingerie, and Swimsuits.https://www.glamour.com/story/how-where-donate-bras-swimsuits
- Simply Liv and Co. A Guide to Textile Recycling: How, Why, and Where to Recycle Old Clothes. https://simplylivandco.com/blog/a-guide-to-textile-recycling
- Bustle. How to Recycle Your Old Bra. https://www.bustle.com/articles/126030-7-ways-to-recycle-your-old-bras-after-youre-through-with-them
- Against Breast Cancer.6 Bra Recycling. https://www.againstbreastcancer.org.uk/recycling/bra-recycling/
- Free the Girls.7 https://freethegirls.org
- The Bra Recyclers. https://www.brarecycling.com/
- Recycle Now. What to Do with Bras. https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/bras-1
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What is Organic Cotton?
By: Heather Bien We’re all trying to be better stewards of Mother Earth. From recycling to upcycling and eating conscientiously to dressing mindfully, our choices affect the planet. So choosing organic cotton clothing seems like an easy decision, right? Not so fast! As with all sustainable choices, it’s important to take a moment to learn a bit more about why organic cotton might win over conventional cotton—and what makes these two materials different in the first place. Read on if you’re interested in learning about organic cotton and whether it’s the best choice for you and the environment. Conventional cotton Before we get into debating modern cotton farming techniques, let’s get familiar with the plant we’re talking about: cotton. It’s soft, durable, and probably on your body right now. But what else do you really know about cotton? Here are the basics: Cotton comes from the cotton plant – The cotton plant is a warm-season woody perennial shrub from the genus Gossypium and the family Malvaceae. Cotton fabric is made from the plant’s fibrous seed-hair (which is also called a cotton boll). Cotton is one of the top agricultural crops – Traditional cotton is the most widespread and profitable non-food crop in the world. Although the plant is capable of growing in any warm-weather climate, India and China are now the top producers of cotton globally. Cotton is thirsty – A normal cotton plant requires 10 gallons of water to reach peak potential. That doesn’t sound so bad, but multiplying it outward, that means it takes about 5,000 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton fabric. Pests think it’s delicious – Not only is cotton thirsty, but it’s prone to pest infestations from bollworms, weevils, aphids, stink bugs, thrips, and spider mites. In order to combat these common pests, conventional cotton is routinely sprayed with a veritable salad-dressing of pesticides, many of which can remain in the soil and water supply for years afterward. Cotton harvesting requires defoliation – In order to quickly and efficiently harvest cotton, many commercial growers use chemical defoliants to strip the leaves from the cotton plant prior to harvesting the bolls. Like pesticides, these chemicals remain in the environment and on the cotton itself. Is organic cotton better? All of those cotton factoids point pretty compellingly to buying and wearing organic cotton fabric. But first, it’s important to understand what sets this organic alternative apart. Why exactly is “organic” cotton anyway? You might associate the word organic with your healthy fruits and veggies, but it’s not always clear what this term means when it comes to cotton. For many years, there was not a standard definition, but today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) require that any cotton product labeled “organic” meet the following criteria: Made with fibers from USDA-certified organic crops Third-party certified (ie., through the Global Organic Textile Standard) under the National Organic Program standards Has a specific percentage of organic material (depending on the crop) But this definition is a little circular, so we need also to define USDA-certified organic crops. According to the USDA, organic crop standards are defined as follows: Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least three years before the harvest of an organic crop. Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops. These can be supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials. Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used. Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available. The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. What is organic cotton? In short, it’s cotton that is farmed according to these practices and certified organic by the USDA. Why should you choose organic cotton? With fewer pesticides, fewer synthetic chemicals, and more thoughtful cultivation practices, organic cotton can certainly offer a more environmentally friendly choice when compared to regular cotton. Is organic cotton sustainable? Here are a few other reasons why organic cotton can be a better alternative for you and the earth: It’s better for our water resources – According to an analysis by the Textile Exchange, producing an organic cotton T-shirt requires 1,982 fewer gallons of water compared to a regular cotton T-shirt. Because organic cotton uses less chemicals, its production also releases fewer toxins into our aquatic ecosystems. It’s good for the soil (and our carbon footprint) – According to the Soil Association, the more natural cultivation practices and fewer pesticides used by organic cotton farmers can support healthier soil. That soil, in turn, can absorb more carbon from our atmosphere and help keep the planet healthy. It encourages biodiversity – Multiple studies have shown that organic farming practices can encourage more diversity among the animal species of our planet. Sustainability is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to plant-derived textiles, the ones which help us create a healthier world are always a better alternative. Explore the benefits of bamboo with Boody Whether you choose to purchase conventional or organic cotton clothing, the fact that you are shopping mindfully for yourself is a win for the environment. At Boody, we believe in bringing you quality, comfy, sustainable clothing basics that keep you feeling good about yourself and your personal impact on Mother Earth. From our sleepwear to our loungewear, women’s bamboo shirts to our underwear, sustainable and ethical are our touchstones. Our clothing is made of bamboo viscose, requiring less water than cotton while putting precious oxygen back into the environment. That just feels good, doesn’t it? Explore the bamboo benefits today, with Boody. Sources: Britannica. Cotton. https://www.britannica.com/topic/cotton-fibre-and-plant Cotton. The Story of Cotton - Where Cotton Grows. https://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/where.cfm World Wildlife Federation. Cotton. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton Textile Exchange. Quick Guide to Organic Cotton. https://textileexchange.org/quick-guide-to-organic-cotton Soil Association. What is organic cotton? https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/fashion-textiles/organic-cotton/ USDA. Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/02/29/conservation-and-biological-diversity-organic-production About the Author: Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.