Mrs Green makes a zero waste pledge

Filed in Blog by on August 14, 2008 12 Comments
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bras can be recycled
I’ve decided to take one of my own pledges during zero waste pledge and win week! Ok, so I’m not entering to win a prize – would I? But there is something on the pledge list that I desperately need to do.

I need to actually TAKE some stuff to the charity shop.

The one danger to zero waste is that you end up with ‘stuff’ around the place and no body wants to live like that. No wonder people throw things away! When that creative urge strikes to bring about order and beauty in your home, if you’re anything like me, you want it done NOW (or preferably yesterday).

In the past, that NOW moment has meant a roll of black plastic bags, a few hours sweating and cursing, dragging the bags down the stairs, heaving them into the car and driving them to the rubbish tip before finishing my day tired but satisfied.

Now all of that has changed. There is no quick and easy option anymore. No more mysterious place called ‘away’ for me. Oh no!

I am born again responsible-for-my-rubbish-citizen and every choice I make has an impact and a consequence which I have to live with.

I have to admit, decluttering when you’re relatively new to zero waste can be more time comsuming, but the satisftaction of not just a job well done, but of less impact on the environment is even better and long lasting than any quick fix.

So, I’m looking forward to a real declutter during zero waste week. The charity shops, Freecycle and clothing banks will be benefiting.

Do you know I’ve never visited a textiles bank? Only this week I found TWO clothing and THREE shoe collection bins at a new recycling centre near us. So I’m going to have a whole new recycling experience.

Apparently the clothes put into textile banks can have a useful second life. Decent quality goods are sent to charities either here or in developing countries. Worm textiles are made into cloths, which are superior for industrial use than paper. Other textiles are rewoven into blankets or used for filling products such as mattresses.

I’ve also found out about a bra recycling scheme. I’ve often wondered what on earth you do with ones you no longer want. I never see them in charity shops, so in the past mine have been binned.

Well shame on me, when these wonderful inventions can be given useful second life too. If they are in good condition, The Bra Appeal at BreastTalk will distribute them to charities throughout the UK and overseas. Apparently, bras are one of the most in-demand items in third world countries.

This is something I’ve never thought about: Over here we can buy bras with our weekly groceries shopping. Our biggest challenge is choice from so many colours, styles and ranges and whether it has matching knickers or not.

For some women in developing countries, however, the price of a bra is more than a meal for their family. So they can’t get access to them – imagine that if you’re a well-endowed lady. Uncomfortable to say the least.

So ladies, if you’re having a sort out of that never ending underwear drawer, do consider passing on some of your unwanted items to women who will make good use of them.

Pop them in a jiffy envelope and post to:

BreastTalk.co.uk – Bra Appeal
PO Box 71
CRAVEN ARMS
SY7 0WZ
ENGLAND

There are a couple of other requests when sending them in, so be sure to read the Breast Talk page for full details.

And if you’ve been a good little zero waster and your bra is gasping for life after years of use, you can donate them to Oxfam where the material will be salvaged and sent as raw materials to the textile recycling industry.

I may be gone some time…………

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Sounds like a very noble pledge. I read recently that a lot of student designers can’t get enough used clothes to work with at the moment. So I was thinking of donating some of my old items that way.

  2. melissa says:

    that’s brilliant – while shopping the other day me and my mum were wondering what else to do with old bras (we’ve both got a few at the back of the drawer) – i will pack mine up and send them off, hurrah! πŸ˜€

  3. How neat…I wonder if there’s something like that in the US.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Richard, you make a great point about students. I’m a bit annoyed at the moment because we had an email from a 6th form student who wanted us to have our readers collect milk bottle tops and similar for her to make a fashion statement with – about using our ‘rubbish’ as a resource. We are eager to help her but her email is not responding and I can’t get back in touch with her.

    Do let us know if you find a way to donate old clothing and textiles to students; I’d love to write about it.

    Melissa; I’m glad the post was helpful and other women will be able to benefit from your donation.

    Did you find anything, Kristen? I’m sure there is a scheme that is similar on your side of the pond. Good luck with finding that πŸ™‚

  5. dottyspots says:

    Hmmmm, I have no problem bagging things up for the charity shop, it’s the actual getting the stuff there that is the problem ;0)

    I have quite a few old bras that I’ve kept (perhaps figuring that my bra size changes so much chances are I may fit into them again at some point, LOL), but this may be just the incentive to pass them on!

  6. Mrs Green says:

    Glad it was helpful, dottyspots and good luck with actually getting stuff to the charity shop.

    Mr Green’s trick is to take a load of stuff in (mine) and then come out with new things for himself. I create the space so that he can fill it.

    Ho hum…

  7. Detta says:

    What an excellent idea re bras I am on to it tonight! In fact I’m also going to the library tomorrow with some books….feeling v. inspired now!

  8. Mrs Green says:

    well ladies; how have we got on with our little challenge? We’ve all said we’ll do it, have we made the time to actually do it yet?

    Are our underwear drawers now back in one piece or do we still have things trailing out all over the floor?

  9. dottyspots says:

    LOL! Oh dear no! But I haven’t thrown them away ;0)

    I have been sporadically having a clear out though and sorting things into boxes for charity – really I need to Ebay some things.

    The frustration has been the amount of mess atm (to a certain extent unavoidable with 4 children, 2 cats, a dog and a husband who definetely wasn’t born with the tidy gene…) But the truth of it is that many things just don’t have a ‘home’ to be put away to, so are just moved from window sill, to open space on the side, to window sill *sigh*

    Problem is I’m such a packrat, bringing myself to actually get rid of some things is really difficult (I always think something will come back into being useful – I didn’t clear out any clothes for years because I kept telling myself I’d refashion them into something else!)

  10. Mrs Green says:

    πŸ˜€ that’s ok, dottyspots – I haven’t actually gone there yet either; but I do have a couple of bags ready now. I’m even putting my donations in reusable shopping bags, so I hope the charity shop realise that and sell the bag as well.

    I HEAR YOU about the lack of space. I don’t even have lack of space really, we just have TOO MUCH STUFF! Every now and then I get really frustrated and know that if everything had a home, there would be no reason for untidiness.

    Trouble is, I live with a hoarder and every time I create a space on a shelf or in a wardrobe, he comes along with something to fill it. He drives me insane (in a loving kind of way). Many a time I’ve threatened to put a skip on his grave when he pops it and set fire to it on top of him πŸ˜‰

    The most annoying thing of all is that his ‘might come in useful one day’ stash always does. grrrrrr.

    I’ll let you into a secret – this gorgeous man of mine has more pairs of shoes and more clothes than I do – don’t tell him I said that πŸ˜€

  11. dottyspots says:

    Well tbh we don’t really suffer from lack of space, the problem is that we have to much ‘stuff’ as well.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that if I made the same threat to my dh he’d laugh and reply that he wouldn’t wait for me to pass on before burning mine *sigh* We’re both as bad as each other, it’s just my stuff is *my* stuff and his stuff is junk πŸ˜‰

    Mine has more clothes and shoes than me too – but that’s because all of my money goes on books and yarn in the way of, “I could do with a new bra – oooooh, look at the lovely shiny book…” I come home with the book not the bra (well I have a such a stash already, although very few are actually in my size πŸ˜€ )

    I’ve lost a lot of weight recently (over 2 stone and it’s still going down – for some reason I pile on the pounds when pregnant and went from a size 10 to 22 whilst pregnant with Nin and Ted). I’ve kept some lovely skirts and I must take them in because I don’t really want to part with them.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    LOL Dottyspots; I didn’t mean for this to turn into an ‘us and them’ thread. We’ll frighten the men away if we’re not careful πŸ˜€

    As if he can read my mind, Mr Green has been out on the roof with ‘an old piece of guttering’ he found and just put it to great use. I fear Little Miss Green takes after him with her ability to turn ‘junk’ into something with great meaning and virtue. Which really leaves me without a leg to stand on.

    She’s spent the morning making a ‘house’ for a snake that I knitted her yesterday…….

    You’d better get your needle and thread out and alter some of those lovely skirts of yours. Good luck with that!

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