With used underwear and bras, you can repurpose, upcycle or recycle them. You can drop them off at a local recycling center, donate them to charity, or compost them if they are biodegradable.
Throwing them in the trash isn't the most responsible thing to do. Used clothing and other textile wastes are piling up in landfills at an alarming rate. Don't put clothes in the garbage bin.
Used garments and other discarded textiles can take up to hundreds of years to decompose. They are highly detrimental to the planet and ecosystems.
Here are some easy things that you can do to get rid of old underwear and bras you cannot use anymore without damaging the environment.
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1. Repair and wear again
Repair and reuse your old underwear and bras whenever possible instead of buying new ones. You can repair used clothes to a possible extent to make them last longer.
Try to restore old underwear and bras you think are unwearable before getting rid of them. It helps the planet tremendously, and in the long run, it can even save you a lot of money.
You can learn how to sew and do it yourself. Instead of buying a new replacement immediately, try to fix things first. If you can't repair them yourself, find local tailors and develop good relationships with them.
You can also wear your underwear for a long time if you take good care of them. You can save money, time, and resources if they still fit you and are in good condition.
To ensure you can use your underwear and bras for longer, you can:
- Buy durable, high-quality, sustainable undergarments
- Try to remove stains right away
- Wash them separately after every wear at lower temperatures
- Use an eco-friendly detergent and fabric softener
- Hang them to dry instead of using the dryer
2. Donate old underwear and bras
Check for the many organizations in your area that accept clothing donations. Some of them raise money for charitable causes by selling contributions and donating a portion of their profits.
It's an easy way to give your undergarments a second life. You can donate used undies in good condition to homeless and women's shelters, family service agencies, immigrant support groups, churches, or animal shelters.
Make sure to contact them first and ask if they take donations. And research non-profit organizations and charities if you want to learn more about them before donating.
Many organizations appreciate your contributions and welcome them. They can potentially do a lot of good for people in need. They may sell your clothing contributions and put a portion of their profits to use.
3. Sell used items for extra cash
You can sell pre-loved underwear and bras online or in-person to make money, simplify your wardrobe, protect the environment, and make room for better items in your closet.
You can easily buy and sell pre-loved items at thrift stores, vintage shops, resale stores, consignment stores, or online marketplaces. They are easy ways to find cheap, stylish, and unique garments.
Check out some of the best places to sell used clothes that you need to know to earn extra cash while decluttering your wardrobe.
You can also sell your old items at an auction, fashion fair, farmers' market, town market, or garage sale. Online marketplaces remain the best places to sell fashion items when you are short on time.
You can easily list the items yourself, take high-quality pictures, and wait for a potential buyer to contact you. Earn extra cash while giving your underwear and bras an extended life.
Or borrow or exchange old items with your friends and family. Or search for swap groups in your area on Meetup if your friends don't stuff to trade with you.
4. Recycle used undies and bras
You can join recycling programs from towns, councils, cities, brands, and retailers that collect and recycle used items like clothing, underwear, bras, and shoes.
Or you can drop off your gently used products at organizations that have direct relationships with recyclers. You can visit websites like RecycleNow to find out what you can recycle at home or in your local area.
One of the simplest ways to recycle at home is to look for products that already contain recycled ingredients and can easily be recycled. Buy intimates made from recycled materials to promote recycling, limit waste, and save yourself time and money.
There are billions of products out there made of recycled content. Choose mono-materials, products that are only composed of a single material type, as they are typically easier to recycle than products made from different things.
5. Repurpose and upcycle
Upcycling is a great way to reuse old underwear and bras you have stored at home. You can create new objects of higher value by repurposing used items like worn textiles.
Upcycling can give a new purpose to old underwear and bras in your closet by making something unique. You can protect the environment by using old items to remake something helpful instead of throwing it away.
To upcycle, use parts of or the entire item to make something valuable without breaking it down completely. It's a very efficient process with less impact than simply sending things to recyclers.
You can upcycle your old underwear and bras at home without extra machinery and save resources, giving old products an extended life and a new function.
You can also shred down or downcycle used items to create something of lesser value. For example, make clutches, bags, totes, wallets, cleaning rags, pillowcases, or filters.
You can shred old underwear and bras into materials for insulation, carpet padding, yarn, and other uses. Give old items in your closet a new function and keep them out of landfills.
6. Compost organic underwear and bras
The best underwear brands create affordable and sustainable undergarments using organic and biodegradable fabrics that degrade in a short time without endangering ecosystems or human health.
Check out some of the best brands that make organic, compostable, and biodegradable underwear.
You can easily recycle organic materials like cotton, linen, and hemp to make compost at home. It's a fabulous way to minimize your environmental impact and add value to waste materials.
Compost your old underwear and bras as an easy recycling solution to do at home. You don't have to throw away every item at the end of its lifecycle. Instead, store them in a composting bin.
Try to buy intimates made locally and organically. You can reduce waste, water, and carbon footprints by choosing local, organic items over conventional products.
Composting is a fantastic way to limit the amount of waste you create. Clean out your closet responsibly to do better for the planet, your wallet, and your peace of mind.
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About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.