Bra Drive provides reused and recycled support for local community

If you walk into the Women’s Center anytime during the month of October, you’re likely to see a bra hanging from the mailbox or off the door handle.

“It just makes me laugh,” Director of the Women’s Center Cassandra Pegg-Kirby said. “When we come to work in the morning, there will just be bras hanging out of our mailbox.”

Sustainability Manager Melanie Knowles and Outreach Recycling Coordinator Leah Graham started the bra drive at Kent State in 2013 after they read an article about The Bra Recyclers, an organization that repurposes bras for women and girls in need. 

The Women’s Center and the Office of Sustainability now collaborate in the annual Kent State bra drive to take bras that can be reused and recycled and make them available for the local community.

“People have donated over 900 bras in the past six years,” Graham said. “We get around 180 bras per year, the bulk of which have been from the Women’s Center.”

Although leaving bras in their mailbox or on their door is perfectly acceptable, the Women’s Center also provides bins inside for people to drop off their bras.

The bra drive has sent 75 percent of bras collected for reuse to the Phyllis Zumkehr Portage County Clothing Center in Ravenna, which provides free clothing, appliances and nonperishable food to anyone that needs it, Graham said.

Bras that are too worn out are mailed to The Bra Recyclers to be repurposed into wiper cloths, Graham said.


Drop-off locations and times:

Women’s Center in the Williamson House Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Student Recreation and Wellness Center Monday to Thursday: 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Office of Sustainability, Suite 101 in Harbourt Hall 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Oct. 1 through Nov. 2 Intercampus mail to the Women’s Center or Office of Sustainability is also accepted.

“The Secondary Materials and Recycling Textiles organization said about 95 percent of our clothing can be reused or recycled, but the majority of it isn’t,” she said. “By recycling or reusing it, we’re reducing the amount of waste that’s sent to the landfill. We’re helping our community and the environment.”

If you miss out on the bra drive and have bras or other clothing you’d like to donate, the Phyllis Zumkehr Portage County’s Clothing Center and Kent State’s Career Closet accept donations year around.

“It’s not just about what I have,” Pegg-Kirby said. “It’s about figuring out how I can share what I have with (those who need it). It’s a win-win.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the bra drive will occur throughout the rest of the month. 

Contact Becca Sagaris at [email protected].