Let’s chat today about bra recycling, and specifically how to recycle bras for charity.
Did you know you’re supposed to be measured for a bra every 6 months to ensure you’re wearing the correct size? Whilst I don’t get measured that frequently (I’ve found a trick to make your bra last longer!), I once got measured after a prolonged break. Here, I found out I was wearing the completely wrong sized bra. Right enough, the correct sized bra was a huge improvement. However, it left me with a small collection of gently used unsuitably sized bras that I had no idea what to do with.
And again, when I was pregnant with my daughter, my correctly sized bras quickly became ill-fitting. I saved them until after I had my daughter and finished breastfeeding. However, by then my shape had changed so much I had to buy new bras. Again, a collection of gently used bras that no longer fitted but were by no means at the end of their life cycle.
What Can You Do With Unwanted Bras?
So what do you do with old bras? Sell them on eBay? Donate to the charity shop? But who wants to buy used bras? I’m happy to buy most things secondhand, but secondhand underwear is one area that personally gives me the shivers. Textile recycling? There’s so little fabric on bras that is it even worth recycling them in textile banks? Put them in the bin? Bras aren’t cheap to buy and it seems a terrible waste to send them to landfill.
I was a bit stumped on bra recycling until my friend shared on Facebook about an amazing charity based in West Lothian, where I live. This charity, Smalls For All, specialises in bra recycling. As such, Smalls For All take in gently used bras, as well as new bras and pants from all over the UK. After quality checking them, the bras then get sent out to girls and women in both Africa and the UK.
In Africa, Smalls for All help those living in orphanages, slums, IDP (internally displaced persons) camps, and schools. Donations also go to those in hospitals suffering from medical conditions like obstetric fistula – a post-birth complication.
Their underwear has gone to many countries in Africa, including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.
Within the UK, Smalls for All help charities that focus on alleviating poverty in the UK by providing them with underwear.
Where to Send Your Bras
You can post your gently worn unwanted and freshly laundered bras to:
Smalls For All
Five Sisters Business Park
This is the updated address as of January 2021.
Please note, I receive a HUGE volume of emails asking me if I’m still collecting bras. I am not connected to the charity. I am simply using this article to spread the word about this bra recycling initiative. As such, I personally don’t collect bras. Please make sure you direct your query to Smalls for All.
As well as gently worn bras in all sizes, Smalls for All also gladly accept new and unworn pants in children’s sizes age 3-15 years, UK ladies sizes 8-14, and mens sizes XS-L. All colours of pants are collected, however, the ladies’ pants in greatest demand are black – in full brief, midi, mini or high leg styles.
How Else Can You Help?
If you’d like to set up a collection point in your local community then you can download posters for your workplace, sports club, school, etc. You can also donate money if you’d prefer, and you can connect with Smalls for All via Facebook and Twitter.
PS: if you have changed bra size, then I have a guide to ethical underwear that you might be interested in.