Contrary to popular belief, underwear and bras do not have an expiration date. There we said it!
Do you spend a lot of time looking for that perfect bra and panty, with no holes and suitable elastic? We understand how annoying it could be to find lingerie that genuinely fits, from the old bra and panty pile. This clearly means that you need new underwear; but what are the things to do with the old underwear and bras, you may wonder.
If you’ve considered reading this post about things to do with old underwear and bras, kudos on doing your bit for the environment by not adding to landfills. So, today, we’ll discuss what to do with old bras, how to recycle underpants, and where to donate used bras.
Donate old bras and undies
In the United States, 85% of textiles are dumped in landfills or burned. Unfortunately, many of these also include brassieres. In addition, unethically-made bras are made of synthetic fibers, and biodegradation can take tens to hundreds of years. Thus, finding a suitable bra disposal plan is vital. Fortunately, if you’re wondering about things to do with old underwear and bras, various organizations accept used bras that reuse or recycle them.
1. The Bra Recyclers
The Bra Recyclers have donated over 4 million bras to women in need, by partnering with over 100 non-profits worldwide. The organization gives out gently-used bras and undies to women in need and ships worn bras to proper textile recycling facilities. They accept various bra styles as well as panties. The Bra Recyclers has multiple drop-off locations, but you can also mail your lingerie to them for recycling.
2. Fab Scrap
Fab Scrap is a New York-based non-profit dedicated to reducing fabric waste in landfills. They organize, collect, and repurpose textile scraps from the city’s design offices to avoid landfilling or burning as much leftover material as possible. If you want to use Fabscrap’s service, you can join up online and fill bags with your donated fabrics. The bags are then collected and delivered to the nonprofit’s Brooklyn offices, where the items are weighed and sorted for reuse or recycling.
Knickey is a lingerie hub that recycles bras, tights, and socks. So, note that throwing out old underwear is a one-way trip to the landfill. Instead, simply return your ready-to-retire underpants to Knickey’s Recycling Program, and recycle them into new materials like furniture batting, carpet padding, and insulation. As a token of thanks for recycling your bras and underpants, you will receive a pair of free Knickeys with your next order.
4. Hanky Panky
Lingeriecycle is a sustainability initiative established by Hanky Panky, a lingerie retailer, to keep outdated undergarments out of landfills. Fabric components are turned into carpet padding, while metal pieces are transferred to metal recyclers. When you place an order with Hanky Panky, you can ask for five envelopes to send in old underwear; you can add more to your cart to receive more envelopes.
5. Support The Girls
Once your old bras (in good condition) are received, Support The Girls will distribute them to the homeless women in need. They also distribute underwear and menstrual hygiene products. However, ensure that the underwear you donate is brand new with tags or in their packaging, as they do not accept used underwear (hygiene issues.) They gladly welcome plus-size briefs as well. There are numerous drop-off places around the United States, but donations can also be mailed across.
6. Free The Girls
Free The Girls works with women who have been freed from human trafficking, around the globe. Used bras are distributed and donated to assist these women in starting their own secondhand clothing businesses. For example, you can provide a living wage for a woman in the El Salvador program by donating four bras. For a woman in Mozambique, 200 bras donated by your company, church, or group of friends, is half a month’s inventory.
Compost old used underwear
When you thought there were no other things to do with old underwear and bra, here comes the most eco-friendly option: composting. You can compost your old underwear if it is made of natural fibers like wool, silk, or cotton. Simply snip the elastic off and then cut the undies into smaller pieces to make them easier to break down. Make sure your old underwear or bra is made of natural fibers; however, even if they have a small amount of synthetic fabric, you can still compost it.
Recycle old bras and undies
If you need to know what other things to do with old underwear and bras, if it is too worn to donate, then consider recycling them. Along with the organizations listed above that accept old bras and undies:
- The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association database can also help you locate a textile recycling group in your area.
- Check out Ridwell and Simple Recycling; these two for-profit businesses that accept textile recycling in select areas.
- Look for Earth911 Recycling Search to donate used bras.
- TerraCycle, a company that believes everything can be recycled and makes it happen, can help you. In their program, you need to purchase a TerraCycle Fabrics and Clothing Zero Waste Box, which you can then fill and return to the company.
Stuff pillows with old underwear
When recycling or composting is overwhelming for you, a quick DIY is one of the best things to do with old underwear and bra. Using old underwear to stuff pillows is a great way to save money on stuffing materials. Use the clean, non-stained bits from your old underwear as pillow stuffing. Simply cut it into little pieces and fill the cushions. If you have some very cute fabric that you don’t want to hide away, you can put the remnants on the outside of the pillow.
Sell old underwear and bras online
Wondering about the other things to do with old underwear and bra? We get it. Consider selling your old underwear and bras online, while they are still usable. Fortunately, many platforms accept clean bras and nursing bras that are ready to wear. Let’s see:
- Give your gently-worn bras to ThredUp. Simply order a bag (that includes prepaid shipping), return it with your excess clothing, and leave the rest to them. Just make sure the bras are in good condition and from a reputable brand, or eventually, ThredUp will donate them.
- eBay is the OG online marketplace for used items. Used bras can be sold on the site, but they must be in good condition and not be modeled by any person.
- Poshmark, a pioneer in the industry, accepts old bras for recycling. Simply download their app, take some pictures, and start selling immediately!
We know breakups are hard, and we’re proud of you for (responsibly) getting rid of the undies that no longer serve you. So, instead of throwing them away, try recycling, reusing, donating, or composting them.
Also, tell us which of these suggested things to do with old underwear and bra changed the life of your lingerie, and how?
If you’re on the road to sustainability, here are some sustainable underwears for a better period.