Victoria’s Secret is taking a step toward sustainability with its new Forever Bra.
The Forever Bra’s pads are made of recyclable materials that can be made into new bras once you’re done with them.
Customers can simply return their Forever Bra to any U.S. Victoria’s Secret location, where the pads will be removed and prepared for recycling. If your bra is still in good condition, it might be donated, giving the garment a second life.
Some bra pads are made with polyurethane foam, a kind of plastic that can’t easily be recycled or reused efficiently. The Forever Bra uses pads made with plant-based materials that allow recycling.
The bras are made with modal, an eco-friendly alternative to cotton made from wood pulp. Victoria’s Secret says it uses modal sourced from responsibly managed forests, meaning the wood pulp doesn’t come from old-growth or endangered trees.
Not every part of the bra is recyclable. The bits of plastic and metal that make up the bra’s clasps and underwire will be removed from the bras and converted into electricity at waste-to-energy plants, according to Bloomberg’s report.
Our clothes and textiles produce a lot of waste. In fact, about 85% of textiles in the U.S. (most of which are clothes) end up in landfills or incinerated (based on the most recently reported EPA data). The fabric of many bras can take up to 200 years to break down, while the metal and plastic pieces of bras can take between 100 and 400 years to degrade. The Forever Bra will keep these materials out of landfills by using them to create new products or energy (though waste-to-energy incineration also has its pros and cons environmentally).
Victoria’s Secret isn’t the only company looking to keep bras out of landfills.
More and more companies and organizations are providing customers with opportunities to donate or recycle their bras. Lingerie company Harper Wilde’s Recycle, Bra program accepts any brand of old bras or underwear and recycles them into clothes, rugs, and other textiles — or breaks them down for second uses such as in insulation or cleaning cloth. Free the Girls, a nonprofit providing economic opportunities for victims of human trafficking, accepts new and gently used bras for donation.
So the next time you’re looking to get rid of an old bra, don’t just toss it; there are plenty of organizations that will turn your trash into someone else’s treasure.
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