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How To Recycle Your Bras: The Bra Recyclers


Bras and underwear are simple wardrobe staples. There are a lot of percentages about how many women wear the wrong sized bra. My statistic is it’s A LOT. Here’s another accurate percentage – the number of women who have bras laying around in their drawers, unworn due to an ill-fit, is even higher. Elaine Birks-Mitchell founded The Bra Recyclers on the premise that when you see a problem, you have two choices. You can either ignore it and hope someone solves it or you can do something about it. Through her company, she is also calling other to do something – to donate bras and undies in order to reduce the amount of reusable textiles that unnecessarily go to landfills (when a bra is donated, they recycle and/or distribute them around the world to deserving families and communities).

Every year, The Bra Recyclers host the Brazaar Art Showcase, which is an exhibit of upcycled bras meant to inspire, motivate and inform about survivors of breast cancer, domestic violence and/or human trafficking. My mother died of breast cancer, so Brazaar hits home. All entries will be on display from Oct 12-23 in Scottsdale, AZ at the Virginia G Piper Cancer Center. Visitors to the center will be able to view and vote on the Brazaar Art entries. The winners will be chosen by combining the number of votes received from Facebook and also from the Showcase at the Cancer Center. I’m really stocked that Madalynne was a participated this year.

Katie took the reigns for this project and created a piece for the show. She’s been on the team for just a short time, but she’s is getting to know me quite well. I believe that the more sparkle, the better. Ladies, back me up on the one! I shipped the bra off this week and below, Katie shares more about how she made it. After reading, be sure to check out Bra Recyclers.

“I’m typically a person who likes everything to be structured and look as aesthetically close to perfect as can be. While working on this piece, I realized that life rarely ends up being the perfect fairy-tale you’d like it to be. When things don’t go your way, you must find beauty in the chaos around you. I used a small mandala pattern on the right side of the bra. This is a spiritual symbol to represent the universe. I love how intricate and beautiful mandalas are, but as stated above, life isn’t always beautiful. This inspired me to take things that are viewed as pretty and feminine, such as the flowers, jewels and lace, and arrange them in a way that looks beautifully chaotic – which is, in my opinion, the perfect phrase for life!”

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  1. Reply


    Great post! Does anyone know if there’s a European initiative for recycling bras? I know Oxfam did a ‘Bra Hunt’ thing in the UK once, but I’m living in Berlin at the moment and have no idea what there is around. I think initiatives like this should really be everywhere though!

  2. Reply


    Good question! I don’t know a vendor in the UK, but I’m hoping someone responds as well.

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