How to Donate and Recycle Bras
Who among us doesn’t own at least a few barely worn bras, that never really made it into the daily rotation? If they’re still in great shape, consider donating that random zebra-stripe bralette or too-small strapless number — turns out, there are plenty of worthwhile reasons beyond simply freeing up precious space in your lingerie drawer.
For starters, tossing them out is terrible for the environment. The EPA estimates that the average U.S. citizen discards about 70 pounds of clothing and textiles every year — that’s waste that occupies nearly 5% of all landfills.
Instead, several organizations aim to extend the life cycle of lingerie, while also helping women in need and raising global awareness of the benefits of salvaging and repurposing textile waste.
True&Co donates extra inventory and samples to many of these charitable institutions — but you can do the same. Before clearing out your intimates wardrobe, choose among these meaningful and sensible donation options. Ready to restock? Take our Fit Quiz to determine the best new bras to replace the ones you’ve contributed to those in need.
Free The Girls
Free The Girls (FTG) helps the survivors of sex trafficking reintegrate back into their own communities by earning an income safely, selling bras in the second-hand market. Along with partner organizations in El Salvador, Mozambique and Costa Rica, the company enables women to establish their own businesses with donations of new and gently used bras. These are accepted via drop-off boxes, by direct-mailing FTG or by virtual bra drives you can host with friends and family.
I Support The Girls
I Support The Girls helps homeless, impoverished and distressed women around the world live with dignity by supplying them with daily essentials including bras, underwear and feminine hygiene products. The organization believes that “a woman shouldn’t have to choose between feeding herself and her personal health.”
To join the effort, donate bras by directly mailing the company, which has 47 U.S.-based and 7 global affiliates or, sign up to host a donation drive so that the impact is felt locally in your community.
The Bra Recyclers
The Bra Recyclers’ tagline “If It Doesn’t Fit …. Recycle It!” says it all. The group has facilitated the donation of nearly 2 million gently used bras to over 100 domestic and international organizations that support women and girls in dire circumstances. Survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and underinsured women fighting breast cancer have all benefited from their support.
The organization’s Bra Recycling Ambassadors (BRA) program also helps raise awareness of all the post-consumer textiles that end up in landfills, with donations directly supporting efforts to repurpose and upcycle these into other products.
While policies vary by location, most Goodwill drop-off centers will accept clean and gently used bras for resale. Some will even send unwearable bras through their recycling programs, which keep about 45 million pounds of household goods out of landfills each year.
Donate Your Bra
On a mission to “reshape the lives of women one bra at a time,” Donate Your Bra supports breast cancer survivors as well as women in shelters and distressed living situations.
Started by a father whose three daughters underwent mastectomies after being diagnosed with the BRCA 1 genetic mutation, the group helps women restore their dignity following breast cancer surgery. In addition to donations by mail of new and gently used bras, the organization also accepts breast prostheses, wigs, swimsuits, nightgowns, camisoles, slips and lingerie.
But what about the bottoms?
The contributions don’t have to stop at just bras. As it happens, intimates and underwear have a place in the recycling rotation, too.
Compost: 100% cotton undies can go directly into compost bins as long as the elastic, tags and embellishments are first removed.
All-purpose rags: the soft fabric can be cut into strips and used for household and gardening projects.
Textile Recycling Programs: local companies and larger groups like USAgain or give unwearable used items new life, repurposing them into materials such as insulation. Look for these special donation drop-off boxes in your area.
Of course, if it’s pairs of new, never-before-worn panties you’re hoarding, know that they’re among the most under-donated undergarment — and there are definitely those in need. Check out The Undies Project, a group that distributes underwear to low-income community members, as it aims to improve lives by promoting dignity and self-esteem.