The 9 Best Places to Donate Old Bras in the UK (2022)

The 9 Best Places to Donate Old Bras in the UK (2022)

Girl in bra next to bed

Whether it is an ill-fitting bra, a style you decided just wasn’t for you, or an old favourite that has been worn beyond use, not many of us are strangers to the bra in our drawer that we simply don’t use. 

It is estimated that 80% of women in the UK are wearing the wrong size bra. Wearing ill-fitting bras can cause problems such as back and neck pain. As our bodies change throughout our lives, it can be a good idea to go for a bra fitting once a year. But what to do with your old ones?

To donate an old bra, UK residents have some great options available to them. 

Should we Donate?

Old donated bras hanging on a line in the UK
Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

Many bra donation programs work by donating items to disadvantaged communities. This has come under criticism in some instances as it has been argued that donating unwanted items simply moves waste to another area.

Claims organisations have made regarding the benefits of wearing bras for women in various communities have also been argued to be unrealistic or tone-deaf to community struggles. 

Researching how a company operates, the quality checks they have, and the impacts on the communities they serve can help you make an informed choice when donating.

When done correctly and in conjunction with other community projects and organisations, bra recycling and donation programs can help to make meaningful social and environmental impacts. And help you to clear out unwanted items with a clear conscience.

Where to Donate Old Bras in the UK

So, what to do with those bras that just don’t fit, that we’re an impulse purchase, or that we have worn out? Well, these are some of the best ways out there to stop your lingerie from becoming yet more clothing waste.

 

Donating Lightly Used or New Bras 

Photo by THIS IS ZUN from Pexels

1.

Smalls for All 

Organisation based in: Scotland 

Where to donate: Send items through their postal service

Smalls for All is a charity providing access to underwear garments for both adults and children living in slums, orphanages, and camps for internally displaced people in Africa.

The company donates new or lightly used bras and new pants to those that have limited access to underwear and hygiene products in Africa. As well as working communities across Africa, the organisation also works with UK charities to help those living in poverty in Britain. 

2.

Oxfam

Organisation based in: UK

Where to donate: Donate in-store or at a collection point

Donating old bras to Oxfam helps support the organisation’s international poverty alleviation work. Bras must be in good condition so they can be resold through Oxfam’s second-hand stores. Oxfam tackles issues from beating hunger, to emergency relief, to gender equality, meaning your donation can support the organisation’s work to make a fairer and safer world. 

3.

Against Breast Cancer 

Organisation based in: UK

Where to donate: Local bra banks 

Donating old bras to Against Breast Cancer not only saves them from landfill but supports businesses in developing countries and supports breast cancer research. Partnered with necessary recycling operators, the organisation has textile recovery projects for used bras. Against Breast Cancer receives £700 of funding towards breast cancer research for every tonne of bras collected. 

Photo by Antonius Ferret from Pexels

4.

Save the Children 

Organisation based in: UK

Where to donate: In-store donations and donation collection points 

Save the Children is a charity that helps children around the world have access to safety, health, and freedom. So far the organisation has helped over 45 million children receive medicine, food and education.

Save the Children runs preloved charity shops across the UK that form part of its funding. For those in the UK, donating old bras to Save the Children only requires a visit to one of their many stores or donation points. Bras must be in a resalable condition.

5.

Free the Girls 

Organisation based in: USA

Where to donate: Bra collection through the international postal system 

Free the Girls works with survivors of sex trafficking to reclaim their lives. The organisation collects second-hand bras that are still of high quality. These items are then donated to women around the world that can earn an income selling preloved bras on the second-hand clothing market, helping survivors to earn a living and rebuild their lives. 

The organisation accepts bras through the postal system, meaning it is easy to donate from the UK.

6.

I Support the Girls 

Organisation based in: USA

Where to donate: Postage details on their website

I Support the Girls collects and distributes new and lightly used bras and new menstrual products to women experiencing homelessness in the USA. The charity actively strives to make a difference to women experiencing hardship by providing access to essential underwear and hygiene products. If donating from the UK, simply contact the company and they can advise the best way to easily send your items. 

The company works with the homeless community as well as women that have survived sex trafficking, domestic violence, are refugees or evacuees. The organisation has appeared in the New York Times, Teen Vogue, and The Washington Post.

Donating Well-Worn Bras

Well worn bras hanging out to dry
Photo by Lennart Schneider on Unsplash

7.

M&S Shwopping Scheme

Organisation based in: UK

Where to donate: In participating M&S store

As part of its sustainable commitments, M&S has introduced its Shwopping scheme. This scheme encourages consumers to donate preloved clothing, including bras, for resale, reuse, or recycling. Depending on clothing quality and desirability, items are donated to Oxfam to be resold, reused through international programs, or recycled into new fabrics. 

8.

Bravvisimo

Organisation based in: UK

Where to donate: In Bravvisimo stores

Bras of any condition, size, or brand can be taken into a Bravvisimo store and become part of the brand’s recycling program. For every kilogram of bras donated, Bravvisimo donates to Coppafeel, a charity promoting breast cancer prevention. Bras are recycled through the company’s recycling partner and turned into everything from insulation to car seats! 

9.

UK Recycling Centres

Organisation based in: UK

Where to donate: Take to a local recycling centre

For bras that are in no condition to be donated or resold, recycling is the best option. In the UK, most recycling centres have a textile recycling area where bras can be recycled. Check local restrictions to ensure that underwires don’t have to be removed before recycling. For an old favourite that can’t be worn any longer, a local recycling centre is the way to go. 

Check your local council website to find your closest recycling centre.

Bras and knickers laid out
Photo by Fahad Waseem on Unsplash

Donate or Recycle

With textile waste reaching new levels (see our article on clothing waste facts for more info), considering how what happens to the clothes we no longer wear is more important than ever.

If you decide to donate old bras in the UK there are organisations that you can choose from to fit your personal morals or a cause close to your heart. Or if that old favourite bra simply has been worn to the point of no longer being usable, then recycling is always a great option. 

For more information about what can happen to recycled fabrics, see our articles on recycled polyester and recycled cotton fabric. We also have an article on how to recycle your running shoes. It’s early days for some of these technologies but they’re advancing at a rapid rate. Watch this space for more info! 

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