Recycle your what??

Here’s an idea I bet you’ve never considered …

Bra recycling.

Photo, circa 1900, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, so maybe you’re not a big bra wearer (no pun intended)—lots of farmgirls are going without these days—but I’ll bet that most of you have some old wire-rimmed contraptions laying around at the bottom of a drawer somewhere.

Am I right?

Well, if so, Kathleen Kirkwood wants them. Of course, she wants the ones without wires, too—stretch, lace, cami, padded, training, but no gel or water cups, please.

Wait a minute … what?

Intimate apparel designer and QVC maven Kathleen Kirkwood wants your used bras.


The thing is, Kathleen knows bras. Like, lots of bras. She has been designing them, in one form or another, since the early ’80s. But a few years ago, as she was handling a huge shipment of bras from Hong Kong, she had one of those light-bulb moments.

“I thought, we have to start recycling bras,” she recounted to Mother Nature Network. “Let me go back to New York and find a company that does this. I’ll put it on my hang tags so I can be this super-cool designer. But lo and behold, there was nothing going on.”

The more she researched, the more she felt compelled to fill this gaping niche.

According to MNN, “Some 500 million bras—made of toxic materials such as polyurethane foam, which off-gases dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and doesn’t biodegrade for centuries—are tossed into U.S. landfills each year or are incinerated.”

Long story short, Kathleen got ‘er done. In 2010, she founded B.R.A. (Bra Recycling Agency), which transforms old bras into—you’ll never guess this one—red-carpet cushioning.

I’ll let Kathleen show and tell you in her original “test pilot” recycling video …

Now you can say you learned something new today. Find out more about B.R.A. (including Bra Recycling e-Kits) at

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is such an incredible project. Who would have known that bras were toxic in addition to being so uncomfortable?

  2. bonnie ellis says:

    I couldn’t do it anyway even if it were healthy because I wait too long before buying more and they get really raggedy. Oops, I told too much!

  3. Gaye says:

    This is great! Although I’ve always donated them, and told unuseble items are recycled I do question if it’s done safely or even at all. This is definitely more sure.

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