Don’t bin your bras! Did you know that there are specific bra recycling schemes, that help benefit charity too? Read on for all the information you need to know.
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 a completely wrongly 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. I certainly didn’t know about bra recycling.
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 that I had to buy new bras. Again, I was left with a few gently used bras that no longer fitted but were by no means at the end of their life cycle. Quite the opposite actually.
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 I probably wouldn’t think about.
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.
Enter Bra Recycling
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.
Smalls For All underwear has gone to many African countries, 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 helps charities that focus on alleviating poverty in the UK by providing them with underwear, including your good quality recycled bras.
Where to Send Your Bras For Recycling
You can post your gently worn unwanted and freshly laundered bras for recycling to:
Smalls For All
Five Sisters Business Park
This is the updated address as of December 2022.
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.
It’s not just about bra recycling. As well as gently worn bras in all sizes, Smalls for All also gladly accepts new and unworn pants in children’s sizes aged 3-15 years, UK ladies’ sizes 8-14, and men’s 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 bra recycling 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. And if you are clearing out your undie drawers, then do also check out my guide on how to use old socks in so many different ways.