What to do with old bras – don’t bin them, donate them!

Don't just throw them away....
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Here’s what to do with old bras so you can make a difference…

    Bras. We buy them, wear them, love them, maybe sometimes even hate them (underwired bras we’re looking at you) but one thing we all do is keep them even after we’ve stopped wearing them.

    Many of us are bra hoarders, there. We said it. Whether it’s the strapless ‘going out-out’ bra you wore once two years ago, or your grey, fraying old faithful that is so comfy you can’t bear to part from it. Ultimately bras are worn every day, so they should feel comfortable and make you feel confident… if you can’t say this about your current bra situation, then you need to let those bras go.

    Plus, with sustainable fashion an important movement for 2020 and the 2019 Marie Kondo trend still rippling through the nation, many bras ‘not sparking joy’ are removed from rotation, in a bid for a more minimalist way of living… but, what can we do with them?

    Credit: Getty images

    UK based charity shops won’t take worn underwear, and with almost 30 pieces of material to make just one bra, it’s proving tricky to recycle them, which leaves a lot piling up in landfills.

    However, a viral post about what to do with your old or unwanted bras could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Posted by Marie Mitchell Pothwell on Facebook, the idea has been shared hundreds of thousands of times. Why not declutter and donate!

    In the post, Marie points out that charity shops are a ‘no-go’ for old bars, as they won’t accept them.

    However, UK based charity ‘Smalls For All’ will take them. Founded in 2010, the charity a uses old, donated bras to help those living in orphanages, slums and IDP camps. They also carry out educational projects to help children in schools.

    The charity points out that, “while people living in Western Society tend to have easy access to underwear and take it for granted, in many more remote or poorer parts of Africa… underwear is a luxury that many people just cannot afford or it isn’t easily available.”

    The company will donate any of your ‘gently worn’ bras to their various projects in Lusaka and Kafue in Zambia. However, if you’ve got a well-worn and previously loved bra in the back of your wardrobe – don’t throw that away either!

    If your old bra is too worn to donate, the charity will organise for the bra to be recycled. They can then use the material and metal to raise money. The money is put towards buying people they help new knickers, as well as provide them with bras.

    Want to help?

    Find out how you can get involved by clicking HERE.

    Or, send your smalls to:

    Smalls For All
    108 Buchanan Crescent,
    Eliburn, Livingston, EH54 7EF

    Where else can you donate your old bars?

    Although ‘Smalls For All’ isn’t the only charity to take your old bras and provide for those in need in Africa, it is certainly a worthwhile cause.

    The M&S Shwopping campaign also allows you to donate any old or unwanted clothes, shoes and bras to many of their stores all over the UK.

    They ensure that absolutely none of those items end up in landfill. Working with Oxfam, M&S guarantees that the clothes will go where there’s a demand, or are recycled. Around 1 billion items of clothing end up in landfill each year. So, it’s a worthwhile scheme to get involved in!

    Recycle bras via the lingerie brand, Bravvisimo. Its shops have bins for unwanted, old or damaged bras in its stores. For every kilogram they receive, they make a donation to Mind for their amazing work – so the bigger the bra, the better! All the bras donated are recycled for good use.

    Those which are in a useable condition go directly to women in developing countries across the world. Those bras which can’t be used are broken down into parts which are also recycled.

    So next time you open have a bra clear-out, remember the above schemes. Your old bras can make a real difference to someone else’s life.