Recycling Old Bras: What To Do When You Upgrade Your Underwear

Recycling Old Bras: What To Do When You Upgrade Your Underwear

We all know there are plenty of options for reducing your clothing waste, such as donating, swap-meets, recycling and upcycling. But what can you do when you no longer use certain underwear? Whether the size is no longer correct, styles are no longer suitable or you’re just upgrading, there are plenty of options to reduce the need to put underwear in that general waste bin.


If your old bras are still in good condition, you could consider donating them to a local homeless shelter or charity. Depending on where you live, there is likely to be a local charity (or more!) that could use donations or clothing and underwear. Bras can be expensive and for some these products are simply not obtainable, that’s where you come in!

You can also check with organisations that support survivors of domestic abuse, as they often have a need for bras and other intimate apparel. 

Additionally, some organisations collect bras and distribute them to women in developing countries who may not have access to proper undergarments.

What Condition Does My Underwear Need To Be In To Donate?

Ensure they are in wearable condition, free of any marks or tears, and if you can no longer see the size, attach a label detailing the size. Ensure that every item is freshly laundered and where possible, add any additional information on a label. For example, if a bra is a certain shape cup, pop that on the label, anyone sorting donations will be grateful for your consideration.

Against Breast Cancer

‘Against Breast Cancer’ funds pioneering research into new treatments and tools for earlier diagnosis. They also use their platform to provide a range of advice to reduce the risk of recurrence and secondary spread. Their overall goal is to increase the survival rates of all breast cancer patients and ultimately, discover a vaccine against breast cancer.

Check out Against Breast Cancer’s bra recycling scheme.

Recycling Centres

Bras made of synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon, can also be recycled. These materials can be melted down and reused to make new textiles or products. However, not all recycling centres accept synthetic fabrics, so be sure to check with your local centre before recycling.

You can also check out your local council recycling where bras that are unsuitable for re-use can be recycled in clothing and textile containers. Find your nearest recycling centre by clicking here and entering your postcode.


Some bras are made from natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo or hemp. If your underwear is composed of all natural fibres, you can compost these items. 

The best way to do this is cutting the fabric into small pieces and adding it into an existing compost bin or pile. This will allow the fabric to decompose more easily and will then be able to be used as compost in the future.


Some garments can be disassembled and reused, whether you use hardware such as hooks for home projects or decorative features such as bows for crafts, reusing materials for other projects results in less waste in the landfill.

If none of the above options are available or possible for you, it’s important to dispose of your bras in the general rubbish. Recycling old bras is an important step towards reducing textile waste and promoting sustainable fashion. Whether you choose to donate, repurpose, compost or recycle your bras, it is important to make a conscious effort to reduce your environmental impact.