What to Do With Worn Out Bras or Bras That No Longer Fit
Bras are one of the most worn items in many women’s closets. Whether a t-shirt bra, a sports bra, or a lightweight bralette, everyone has their favorite style that they reach for.
But what should you do when you can’t wear them anymore? What if you’ve changed sizes? What if your bras are worn beyond their lifetime?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that more than 11 million tons of textile waste went to landfills in 2018 — and you don’t want to simply throw your bras in the garbage to add to that waste. Instead, you can donate, recycle, repurpose, or even compost them if they’re made from organic, natural materials.
Donate Gently Worn Bras to Help Other Women
If your bras are still in great condition and you simply don’t wear them because you changed sizes,or are wearing a different style donate them to an organization or shelter to help other women in need.
A few places to consider include:
- Local women’s shelters: Bras are often one of the most needed items at shelters. Contact domestic violence or homeless shelters in your area to see if they accept donations.
- Free the Girls: This organization supports women who are victims of trafficking start their own businesses by giving them bras to sell.
- Donate Your Bra: This distribution center sends bras and other items to breast cancer patients and survivors at shelters, support groups, and other charities.
- I Support The Girls: This group collects items like bras, underwear, and menstrual products to distribute to those in need.
- The Bra Recyclers: Bras are sent to nonprofit organizations that support women, many of who are escaping domestic violence and human trafficking.
Only 10-15% of clothing ends up in secondhand markets or is recycled — and much of what is donated to mass thrift stores and other companies may still end up as waste. While it’s always great to donate your clothes, consider skipping thrift stores and instead send your bras to organizations that ensure they directly go to women and those who need them.
Recycle Worn Bras Into New Products or Fibers
The EPA estimates that only around 15% of all textiles are recycled each year. If your bras are worn beyond wear or repair, send them to an organization that ensures the material will be properly recycled into new materials — rather than ending up in a landfill.
- The Bra Recycling Agency: Old bras are shredded and turned into carpet. The metal and underwire are sold to recyclers, and the profits are donated to breast cancer research.
- Harper Wilde: In a move to give bras new life, Harper Wilde recycles old bra parts into yarns, fibers, rugs, cleaning textiles, and building insulation.
Search for other textile recycling centers in your area, and if in doubt, ask to see if bras are on their approved list.
Repurpose Them With New Life
If you’re crafty and love taking on DIY projects, consider turning your bra into something new!
- Make a padded top or dress: You can cut up your bra and repurpose the cups to make a top or dress have a built-in bra.
- Create an entirely new top: Head to the fabric store — or better yet, use fabric from another worn-out top or garment at home — and get sewing to make an entirely new top! Your bra can serve as the base, and you can get creative with your sewing skills to create the rest of your design.
- Use your old bra pads as shoe inserts: Have a pair of shoes that need some extra cushion? Repurpose your old bra pads to give the backs of your heels or the balls of your feet a little extra comfort.
Tap into your creativity and find unique ways to reuse the straps, pads, and all other parts of your old bras to give them new life.
Compost Natural Fiber Bras Back to the Planet
If your bras are wire-free and made from natural fibers — like cotton, bamboo, linen, or silk — they can likely be composted and go back to the planet.
Simply cut your bra into smaller pieces, and compost it as you would any other natural biodegradable item!
When you compost your organic fabrics like those from Blue Canoe, you have peace of mind knowing that your old garments are helping the planet as the material returns back to the earth’s natural systems — free of harmful pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers.
Organic, Sustainable Bras Made for You and the Planet
At Blue Canoe, we create everything with your body and the planet in mind. Not only are our bras made with 100% organic fiber cotton and bamboo, but they’re also made to be comfortable, breathable, and non-binding.
Whether you choose a bralette, yoga, active, wireless, or another style bra, you know it’s made to be the best possible for you and the earth.
They’re made to be comfortable on your body — and good for the planet when they return there.