Victoria’s Secret & Co. has debuted a bra with elements that will be recycled into new bras, a step forward in solving the textile waste problem for undergarments that are most frequently tossed in the trash at the end of their useful life.
The product, named the Forever Bra, has pads made with a proprietary fabric that can be fully recycled, a change from typical bra pads that contain polyurethane foam, a material that can’t be melted down and extruded. Victoria’s Secret customers can take the bras back to any US store, and the pads will be removed for recycling.
The company is working with two partners that will help collect, sort and disassemble the bras before sending them to Unifi, a textile innovation and recycling company. Bras that are still in good condition will be considered for donation rather than recycling.
While the product is a step forward for the brand when it comes to creating more sustainable undergarments — which consumers are more reluctant to buy used — there are elements of the Forever Bra, including wires and clasps, that can’t be recycled. Those pieces, which are essential to the structure of the product and are primarily made of tiny bits of plastic and metal, remain the most difficult aspect of creating bras that are more environmentally friendly.
In the case of the Forever Bra, those wires and clasps will be disassembled from the bras prior to recycling and sent into a waste-to-energy system, where materials are combusted to gather steam for electricity production. Victoria’s Secret said that while the pads are the only recyclable element of the Forever Bra, it’s working on innovations for other materials.
(Corrects story from Feb. 21 the second paragraph to clarify the makeup of the materials being recycled.)
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