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The Bra Recyclers Help Women in Need

Words by Kara DiCamillo
Energy & Environment

Ladies, let’s face it. Many of us have bras in our drawer that just simply don’t fit correctly, that we’ve hardly worn, or that we just plain don’t like anymore. We can’t throw them away because they were so darn expensive, so they just sit in our drawer taking up room. So why not clean out and put them to good use by recycling them?

While we’ve heard of recycling just about everything possible, bras have thus far been off the table. Entrepreneur Elaine Birks-Mitchell now introduces us to her business called the Bra Recyclers, a for-profit textile recycling company focused on doing their part to recycle and reuse unnecessarily textiles that end up in landfills.

By creating and supporting a network of Bra Recycling Ambassadors who assist the organization in providing deserving women with used or unused bras, the Bra Recyclers buy and sell recycled bras. They are then re-distributed through exporters and organizations to developing countries and communities around the world. Specifically, the bras are donated to breast cancer survivors and women in transitional shelters. An overwhelming number of women in need are those that are victims of domestic violence.

Since the organization’s inception in 2008, the textile recycling company has donated over 100,000 bras. Organizations that the Bra Recyclers have connected with are located all across the U.S. and are currently in 13 states. Additionally, 11 states have backed the Bra Recyclers by approving drop-off locations.

 Here’s how recycling your bras through the Bra Recyclers works: The gently used or new bras (types of bras needed can be found on the Bra Recyclers website) should be washed, tagged and boxed with a bra recycling form. If there isn’t a drop-off location near you, they can be sent by mail to the headquarters in Arizona where they will be checked, sorted by size and shipped off to partner charities across the U.S.

Kara DiCamillo

Kara is 3p's writer from New England. In her Newport, RI community, Kara is the organizer of Green Drinks Newport, is a member of Newport's Energy & Environment Commission, is a volunteer for the Neighborhood Energy Challenge, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and has also volunteered as a panelist for Rhode Island Farmways, speaking to farmers from around the state about how they can better market and promote their businesses. Beyond the moat that surrounds her island home, Kara has backpacked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire too many times to count and she hopes her next adventure will be to ski the gnarly Tuckerman's Ravine. Kara is a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, a graduate of the Colorado Outward Bound School and in real life, she is a public relations director who'd just plain like to see the world a greener place. Kara has been writing for TreeHugger.com since January 2005 and began writing for 3p in January 2010.

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