Whether you consider yourself more of a Shakira (“my breasts are small and humble so you don’t confuse them with mountains”) or a Nicki Minaj (“Ooooh boobs boobs boobs boobs lotta boobs”), the chances are that you’ve probably changed bra size at some point in your life. Suddenly your chest decides to shrink/grow one day, you have to buy a whole new bra-drobe and you’re left with only the knickers to your matching sets. It’s an emotional roller coaster and enough to put anyone off being a grownup and getting themselves measured.
I for one am massively guilty of not having actually known my bra size until recently. I kind of just…guessed. Surprise, surprise: estimating was nowhere near as accurate as actually getting measured by a professional. It turned out that I had been living my life as someone a whole two cup sizes smaller than I am. But as if buying the new bras wasn’t enough, I was also left with the question of how to dispose of my old ones responsibly. Since embarking on my journey to living more ethically, I’ve learnt that 3/4 of consumers send their old textiles straight to landfill instead of choosing a more sustainable option. I didn’t want to add to that statistic. So, I got researching. I’ve found some pretty bloody incredible ways that we can all stop our uncomfortable, ill-fitting or falling-to-pieces bras from going to a landfill and I thought that I would share.
New(ish) Bras: Make your chest charitable
If your bras are still in good shape, the charity Smalls For All accepts any that fall into the category of “gently worn”. They collect them up, alongside new bras and pants, and give them to women and children in Africa that need them. Not only does this help with health and hygiene problems in poorer communities, but the website describes how underwear is also seen as a “status symbol”, offering a degree of security to women and preventing them from being seen as vulnerable. Since a lot of mine had only been worn a handful of times (I’m usually in the no bra club), I decided to package my bras up and send them their way.
You can also look into whether your local charity shops or women’s shelters accept bras.
Old/worn out bras: Recycle those boulder holders
Bras, like most clothes, can also be put into the textile waste section of household recycling centres. That means that the fabrics they’re made of could end up as anything from furniture padding to loudspeaker cones. Of course, this is a process that takes a lot of energy, so try to reserve it for those that aren’t suitable for donation.