Category

Fashion

Fashion, Life & Style

Bra Recycling for Charity

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 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 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. Quite the opposite actually

bra recycling uk

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.

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.

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 helps charities that focus on alleviating poverty in the UK by providing them with underwear, including your good quality recycled bras.

how to recycle your 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

Westwood

West Calder

West Lothian

EH55 9PN

This is the updated address as of May 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.

It’s not just about bra recycling. 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 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.  

Fashion, Life & Style

Your Ethical Style: Hanna from Hanna’s Places

ethical fashion blog

It’s been a little while since our last Ethical Style post. However, I’m bringing it back right now with this brilliant Your Ethical Style feature from Dusseldorf based sustainability blogger, Hanna.  Hanna blogs at Hanna’s Places. If you haven’t stopped by there before then you’re in for a treat.  Thought-provoking and interesting articles and gorgeous photography – it’s a treat for both mind and eye!

Over to Hanna!

hanna's places

 Hanna wears: Jacket – Kleiderkreisel; Top – People Tree; Jeans-  Really old H&M: Necklace: People Tree

Hi Hanna, can you share with us three facts about you?

1)  I am a Social Sciences student from Germany and I would love to work in development aid or sustainability one day.
2)  I love to travel and the list of places I want to go is never-ending.  The highest up are Iceland, Chile, and Canada.
3)  I’ve committed to only shop for clothing sustainably and ethically in 2015.  So far it’s going great (and I’ve started buying way less of these ‘I’m in the mood to shop but don’t actually need anything’ pieces).

2.  Where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?

Where I’m from, it’s still pretty hard to find actual stores that sell ethical clothing, so I’m mostly shopping online.  My favourite places are a great German online boutique of only ethical brands called glore, and People Tree*.  There’s also a great platform here in Germany called Kleiderkreisel where girls sell their unwanted clothing – I’ve found quite a few gems there!

3. What’s the last ethical item that you bought?

I recently bought my first pair of Nudie Jeans after looking at them online for ages!  I got one of the dry ones – you are not supposed to wash them for six months so they get your personal shap. I’m not sure I’m going to do that though, still sounds a bit gross! I love Nudie’s commitment to sustainability and great style and that you can get your jeans repaired for free.

4.  Is there anything secondhand or ethical that you are lusting over at the moment?

I’m really really lusting after a Matt+Nat backpack, they are so pretty and still vegan (though you don’t even notice!).  Well, I’m basically after about every bag in their collection.  Soon!

ethical fashion blog

5.  Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?

Really think about your style and what you need and like before buying anything.  Ethical clothing tends to be a bit more expensive, so you should buy something that really fits your style.  Put together a Pinterest board of your favourite looks – after a few weeks you can see what kind of pieces you are pinning again and again and you can start hunting those down.  After you’ve established a ‘basic wardrobe’ like that, have fun at thrift shops and vintage boutiques

6.  Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?

Apart from the price point (which I think you can deal with if you just buy less), I believe the biggest difficulty is that there are just less styles available.  If you want a specific piece you’ve seen somewhere, it can get really difficult to hunt down something similar that is produced ethically.  Thrifting platforms like Kleiderkreisel help, because you are ‘allowed’ to shop at a non-sustainable brand (since it’s a secondhand item)

7.  Where do you get your style inspiration from?

I’ve mentioned it before, one of my biggest style inspiration is probably Pinterest.  I now rarely buy magazines, but I have a board for summer fashion, winter fashion, little details, and everything else you can wear everyday.  Instagram and fashion blogs are a great inspiration, too.

breton top

8.  What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?

I bought some Veja sneakers a few weeks ago and I’m wearing them non-stop at the moment.  They are produced with Fair Trade standards and use sustainable materials from the Brazilian rain forest.  Pretty cool and still the comfiest shoes ever!

9.  What would be your ultimate thrifted find?

That would actually be the jacket I’m wearing right now!  I have no idea what the brand is because the tag is missing, but it’s so soft and comfy (people are actually commenting on the softness of my jacket on a regular basis) and I still feel put together and stylish every time I wear it.  Double-win!  PS: It’s also from Kleiderkreisel.

ethical style blog

Hanna wears: Jacket – H&M really old; Jeans – H&M really old; Scarf – Handmade

10.  Finally Hanna, can you share with us your top three style tricks/DIYs?

I don’t think I’m stylish enough to give any tips or tricks, but I’ll try!  

First, raiding your dad’s, grandpa’s, or boyfriend’s closet works wonders (over-sized shirts and sweaters, old jeans that can be worked into shorts, the possibilities are endless!).  

Second, never throw anything away, just put it away neatly.  No matter what everyone says about cleaning out your closet – put everything in clean boxes, you will find something in there after a few years, trust me!  

And thirdly, one that I still want to work on this year: learn to sew!  There are so many items that could be great with a little work, so it’s really high on my list of useful things to try!

Thanks for taking part Hanna!  You can visit Hanna’s blog, and find her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  New to Moral Fibres?  You can also check out the other Your Ethical Style posts!

Do you want to share your ethical style with Moral Fibres readers?  Whatever your age, sex, size, style, budget or location I’d love to feature you to show that ethical fashion is for everyone!  Get in touch via moralfibres@gmail.com to take part in Your Ethical Style!  There are no barriers to taking part – you don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!