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Still trying to figure out what to do with old underwear and bras when they reach the end of their lifecycle? Don’t fret! Our all-encompassing guide on how to get rid of your old underwear will answer all your questions.
You’ve worn your briefs, laciest thongs, softest boy shorts, and favorite lingerie to death – and we applaud you for that! But, regardless of the quality of your favorite organic underwear, eventually, they will show signs of wear and tear.
Unfortunately, around 5 million kilograms of underwear every day ends up in landfill sites across the US. Used garments and other discarded textiles that are not organic can take up to hundreds of years to decompose. Plus, open-air dumps release toxic greenhouse gasses that pollute the air, water, and land in local communities. So, understanding how to sustainably dispose of old underwear helps lower the world’s overall clothing waste footprint.
Here’s how to get rid of your old underwear that has seen better days.
What To Do With Old Underwear and Bras?
Instead of tossing your worn undies to the bean and calling it a day, why not donate or recycle them? Granted, heavily used underwear isn’t something a charity shop will thank you for. There are, however, many places that will gladly do all the dirty work for you.
Where To Donate Old Underwear
If you have used undergarments in good condition, here’s how to sustainably get rid of your old underwear. P.S. all you have to do is wash them and send them their married way.
Buy Nothing group: There are several “hyper-local” online communities, such as the Buy Nothing group, where individuals can give and receive all kinds of stuff for free, including clothing, children’s toys, carpets, furniture, and even gently-used underwear and socks. If peer-to-peer transactions are your thing, check them out. Why not attempt it then?
Freecycle.org, Nextdoor, and Facebook Marketplace are all fantastic choices to donate your used undies if you can’t locate a Buy Nothing Group in your neighborhood.
The Bra Recyclers: What to do with old underwear, specifically bras? The Bra Recyclers has supplied more than 4 million bras to women in need while working with more than 100 nonprofit organizations worldwide. In addition, they accept new pants and bras of all kinds.
Planet Aid: The goal of Planet Aid is to divert used underpants from landfills and give them a second chance through donations. You may drop off up to 70 pounds of clean socks, clothing, and shoes at one of their numerous donation bins, or you can send them directly.
Thread Up: The online consignment shop Thread Up will help you get rid of your underwear sustainably, all while making some money. All you have to do is fill pre-labeled “Clean Out” bags with your used clothing and undies, and voila! Alternatively, you can send your money straight to the organizations that ThredUp supports.
Free the Girls: This group supports women with bra-selling businesses to provide jobs for people who were once involved in sex trafficking. “I didn’t know what was next. But then I started my business and started selling bras,” mentioned one of the women who successfully started their small business through this program.
I Support the Girls: The nonprofit group I Support the Girls gathers undergarments, bras, and extra menstruation supplies to give to homeless women. They believe that women should sacrifice their health and cleanliness to provide for their families —and we are 100% behind that!
How To Recycle Your Old Underwear
Our favorite sustainable fashion brands not only offer fantastic eco-friendly collections but have also adopted practices of circularity. This includes informing us on how to get rid of your old underwear sustainably through their programs.
For all of your ready-to-retire intimates, including brands, socks, and tights, the eco-friendly underwear company Subset (formerly Knickey) offers an industry-leading recycling program. You may get a free pair of organic cotton underwear in exchange for converting them into insulation.
Bra Recycling Agency: Here’s another idea of what to do with old underwear that is still in good condition. The Bra Recycling Agency is prepared to transform the underwires of your used bras into magnets and carpet padding. The postal cost is about $5, but it’s great that 100% of the money goes to financing breast cancer research.
Parade and TerraCycle have partnered to offer free underwear recycling, allowing you to dispose of all your bottoms environmentally and without incurring additional charges.
Clothes The Loop program: The North Face’s “Clothes The Loop program” allows you to recycle your old clothes, shoes, and undergarments while reducing the amount of textile waste in landfills. Simply take your intimates to a North Face shop or outlet and dispose of them there. Additionally, you’ll receive 10% off your subsequent purchase.
Hanky Panky: Customers may send back any brand of bras and underwear to be recycled using Hanky Panky’s LingeriecycleTM. The fabric is torn into carpet padding, while the metal fasteners are recycled separately.
Soma: In order to donate or properly recycle new or gently used bras, Soma collaborates with the I Support the Girls and The Bra Recyclers (described above). As a thank you for participating, you receive $10.
Organizations That Recycle Old Underwear
Sometimes, selling, donating, and repurposing old undies is simply not possible. That’s where the organizations below really shine. Here’s what to do with old underwear that are basically useless.
Terracycle: Terracycle is a company that specializes in recycling hard-to-recycle materials, including clothing and textiles. You can easily order a Zero Waste Box from Terracycle to package all your used undies. Then, you can ship it to TerraCycle using the prepaid shipping label provided by the company.
Alternatively, you can drop off your clothing at a Terracycle collection point.
Council for Textile Recycling: Founded in 1992, the mission of the Council for Textile Recycling is to promote the recycling of textiles and increase public awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of textile recycling. On their website, you can locate a recycling/donation facility closest to you. They have plenty of options in the United States, Canada, and some International locations.
How To Repair Your Underwear
What to do with old underwear that you aren’t ready to kiss goodbye yet? Repair, repair, repair! If there is a small hole or something easily fixable, why not try? You don’t have to be a super-skilled seamstress.
This video shows us How to repair underwear holes without stitching.
This slightly more advanced video is all about replacing worn elastic on underwear.
Lastly, here’s a tutorial on how to fix an underwire bra in seconds.
Where To Sell Used Underwear Online
If you don’t know what to do with old underwear that is in great condition, we’ve got you! Most big resale platforms also accept clean bras and undies. So that’s your sign to make some extra cash –and keep our planet happy.
Make accounts on Poshmark, Depop, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, Chairish, and Resee. Snap some photos and kickstart the selling process ASAP.
Compostable Underwear To Shop In 2023
Unlike chemical-laden fabrics, organic undies can easily be composted. In fact, everything from organic cotton, hemp fabric, ethical wool, and linen, to ethical cashmere will turn into nutrient-rich compost within just a few weeks. Just make sure that your undergarments are 100% natural or the content of synthetics is less than 5%. You’ll also want to make sure to shred the fabric finely in order to speed up the process and remove non-compostable elements like elastic bands.
Luckily, many ethical brands offer 100% organic cotton compostable underwear. This way, you’ll never have to worry about what to do with old underwear ever again!
Kent’s GOTS-certified underwear is designed to be fully compostable. This means that it can break down into natural materials without leaving behind any harmful toxins or chemicals.
The fair trade retail Made Trade offers compostable and biodegradable lingerie, underwear, and intimates made from organic fabrics. All pieces are created ethically by small artisans. Featured image Thunderpants USA.
How To Make Your Old Underwear Last Longer
Despite our affinity for recycling and donating, it’s crucial to get the most use out of your underwear before you decide to rehome them. The key to sustainability is longevity, and that goes for your intimates as well. So, if you want to extend the lifespan of your underwear, the following tips might assist.
1. Follow the care instructions
Read the care label on your underwear to determine the recommended washing and drying instructions. Some underwear may require hand washing or a gentle cycle, while others can be washed in the machine on a regular cycle. Avoid using hot water and high heat in the dryer, as this can cause shrinkage and damage the elastic.
2. Use a pillowcase during laundry
Bra straps might occasionally turn into a tangled mess. Our washing machines are not particularly strap-friendly, which is primarily to blame. All you have to do to maintain your bras in great condition is place them in a delicates bag or pillowcase.
3. Air dry your underwear
Aside from saving energy, Air drying leaves them smooth and crinkle-free.
4. Avoid fabric softeners
Fabric softeners can break down the fibers in your underwear and reduce their lifespan. Instead, opt for a mild detergent that is gentle on the fabric.
5. Use a mild detergent
Eco-friendly laundry detergents include the mildest chemicals, but you may also search for the terms “gentle” or “delicate” in the description.
Wrapping Up: What To Do With Old Underwear
We hope you enjoyed the article and have found many ways to get rid of your old underwear sustainably. If you’re looking for the best sustainable bras and bralettes, ethical lingerie, or period underwear, check out our guides.