Bra recycling – newest trend in eco-consciousness
A collection of brassieres, the length of which, if hooked together, would be three times the height of Mt Everest. Total weight, approximately 3.59 tons.
This is the outcome of the eco campaign by Wacoal, Japan’s leading manufacturer of ladies underwear. “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.
Competitor Triumph is following suit, but as it is considered a trade-in of a sort, the company gives out 50-yen postage stamps per bag as a token of appreciation. The collected bras are processed and recycled into solid fuel.
Yet another trend in Japanese eco-consciousness? Actually, it’s a little more sensitive than that.
According to a survey conducted by Wacoal, 61% of women hesitate when it comes to throwing away old bras. Over half of them say that they don’t want others to see their discarded underwear. In areas where the use of translucent bags for garbage collection is mandatory, they feel they have to literally cut up the bras into small fragments.
The majority of the customers who took advantage of the recycling service to discreetly dispose of their bras were in their 20s and 30s. 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.