The Bra Recyclers, a division of Bosom Buddy Bra Recycling, has declared October "Bra Recycling Month," in an effort to support causes with which the public is already familiar: Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness.
The company is inviting women to donate new and gently used bras for recycling as an eco-friendly and economic way to support breast cancer survivors or those transitioning from domestic violence situations.
"We are creating awareness about the need in shelters and transitional housing for this simple lingerie staple that most people take for granted," says spokesperson Elaine Birks-Mitchell.
"I have been asked on several occasions, 'Why would someone want a used bra?' I explain that when a woman is escaping a domestic violence situation, she does not think to pack a bra; she is trying to get to safety as quickly as possible. Whatever she has on is all that she has, and sometimes that might not include a bra."
Recycling your bra is easy. Simply gather your used and/or new bras from your personal supply or family and friends, fill out the bra recycle form and mail your bras to The Bra Recyclers. Participants who donate by Oct. 31 will be entered to win prizes that include gift certificates to intimate apparel companies and American Express gift cards.
Once The Bra Recyclers receive the bras, the company sorts through them to determine the bras that are fit for donation to a shelter (The Bra Recyclers receive requests for specific sizes and quantities from the shelters it supports).
As for the bras not needed in local shelters, the company boxes them up for partnering exporters who will then distribute them to developing countries.
Since October 2008, the response to bra recycling has been what Birks-Mitchell calls "unbelievable." The Bra Recyclers has collected tens of thousands of bras and supports 23 organizations around the country.