Let’s face it. Underwear is one thing we never think of recycling, yet a new trend has started in Japan that may soon gain support (no pun intended) with the rest of the world, namely, recycling bras into solid fuel.

The unbelievable result of an eco-campaign hosted by Wacoal, Japan’s leading manufacturer of ladies’ underwear, is a collection of bras weighing approximately 3.59 tons, the length of which, if hooked together, would be three times the height of Mt Everest!

“From February through April we distributed bags at our retail stores for customers to use to bring in unwanted bras. We received 350 bags, and based on the average weight of one brassiere, we have collected about 35,900 pieces,” says the company’s public relations department.

A competing company known as Triumph, is following the lead of its rival and in a transparent effort to “one-up it” and show the donor some appreciation, gives out 50-yen postage stamps per bag of bras. The bras are recycled into solid fuel, that knows not of different cup sizes and out-dated designs.

Psychologically, some behavioral secrets have been tapped by a study conducted by Wacoal. It seems that for whatever reason, 61% of women hesitate when it comes to throwing away all old bras. (It may have to do with the fact that often when they are discarded, it’s not because they are dirty or unsuitable for wear; perhaps only out of style.).

Many women in the study said that they would not like to see other women wearing their discarded underwear. In areas where the use of translucent bags for garbage collection is mandatory, women who don’t want others to see what they are doing for whatever reason feel they have to literally cut up the bras into small fragments.

Most customers involved in this special recycling program were women who fell into the 20s to 30s age range. Both manufacturers took extra care in ensuring that only retail store personnel received the bags, handing them over to the processing section sealed and unopened.

The trend of recycling bras has caught on both in Britain and in the United States. The bras are now being used for purposes other than fuel; namely both as revamped bras and also as unusual purses as shown below.

One textile recycling company in Arizona, Bosom Buddy Recycling specializes in recycling bras and providing deserving women with a basic lingerie staple.

“We are creating awareness about delaying the number of re-usable textiles, such as bras that are unnecessarily being sent to landfills and could be used for women and girls in our communities who are experiencing challenges in their lives. We are using simple encouragements to develop, blossom, and renew positive attitudes and self-esteem,” said an organization spokesperson.”

Heads up, and bra-recycling programs everywhere:

“May your cups always runneth over!”




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry (http://www.ingestandimbibe.com) feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.