January 19, 2011

How to Recycle a BRA??

Hello eco-friendly fashionistas... and curious onlookers!


This post may be some what controversial for some who do not believe in the reuse of undergarments. Actually it's a very touchy issue everywhere. Here's how the inquiries started for me:


When Haiti suffered the devastating earthquake in January, I was deeply saddened and personally affected. It was a natural disaster that forced me to take inventory of the people I cared about in my life, many of whom happened to be Haitian, with relatives in Haiti.


I watched, paralyzed by shock, concern and confusion as Haiti suffered. And then I watched in frustration as aid efforts went awry. But once the paralysis subsided,  I went to my closet and started yanking things off hangers. Went to my drawers and did a premature Spring cleaning.


Once I had a pile together, I realized there were A LOT of bras in the pile.  Looking at the bras in the pile actually stirred up some feelings in me I didn't know were there. (Besides having to come to grips with the fact that my breast grew...who woulda thunk it). I am an only child, yes, but I grew up in a house that had raised many children prior to me, and we were no Trumps or Huxtables. As such, I was no stranger to hand-me-downs and I had no hang ups about it.


Taken from www.laperla.com
But... Pride & Dignity are not qualities exclusive to the rich or well-off.  So besides it being unsanitary to share undergarments, for some people, using already worn undergarments is the marker by which your pride and common decency are measured - whether one is prideful or shameless (and not "shameless" in a good way). Likewise, it may be insulting for someone to include underwear in giveaways or hand-me-downs. Like a slap in the face. And how could it not be? For someone to imply that because one is poor, one should put aside health concerns and the threat of contracting Lord knows what; or that because one is poor one surely could not be clean, or decent, or sensible, or educated enough to know that sharing underwear is just... dirty.... it is the ultimate of insults!


Money can't buy class! And in THAT, one can be rich regardless of socio-economic situation


On the flipside, I also believe that poverty is the mother of all invention and innovation. It is also a good teacher in being conscious of waste. You simply cannot. Afford. To. Waste. Especially when the prospects to replenish recources are not forthcoming or readily available. I have fond memories of my grandmother chopping my pencils in half the night before the first day of school. My little self crying out "WHHHHYYYYY!" on the inside. Going to school bright and early Monday morning excited! And then embarassed to reveal my newly maimed and butchered writing utensil. But then a little part of me would also be quite disturbed to find my classmates were discarding half of their intact  pencils just because the eraser was done; I would just be moving on to the eraser-ful half of my butchered pencil. We weren't ridiculously poor but my grandmother knew poverty, which meant for her that she also knew how to make the most of a little.


I recently came across an organization that accepts used bras for recycling. The Bra Recyclers (<--click it) is a company that "specializes in the recycling and reuse of used and unused bras."Click on the link for more info. Some bras are donated while others are recycled, decorated and turned into pieces of art. 
Founder of The Bra Recyclers in USA Today.
from www.brarecycling.com

Currently there is a Nationwide Help Reshape Haiti Bra Drive going on until Feb. 28, 2011. Yes, a bra may be the last thing you think a woman in Haiti needs, however try walking around without a bra for a day or two and see how that feels for you, bearing in mind that you have a choice of whether or not you want to replace your bra. 


You know what a good bra can do for you in terms of self esteem and feeling good about yourself. Have you also thought about how a bra affects the kinds of interactions you have with others? I mean, this is a real study in sociology here. 


I can hear one friend in particular right now saying, "They didn't bring black women from africa wid no bras on anyway." Needless to say I can also picture myself giving him the stare of death.




You may not want to donate your bras based on the fact that you would never knowingly accept/wear a bra that has been used. You may not want to donate your bra because you may feel like it is a slap in the face to a woman in a bad situation.


But looking at it objectively, I can't say that if I lost everything in a fire or natural disaster, had to drop everything and leave an abusive situation, or was living in abject poverty, I wouldn't accept a slightly used bra. You can have the empathy of a thousand saints but sometimes until you are in a situation, you have no idea how you will react.


So take a look (or not)  at http://www.braceycling.com and decide whether shipping off your bras goes against or along with the ethics by which you stand.




Stay abreast of The Bra Recycler's activity & events at their blog.

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