Meet Elaine Birks-Mitchell: Recycling Bras for Social Impact

by Jul 10, 2023Podcast

Did you know, on average, women own 6 bras but only wear 2? Not to mention 8 out of 10 women aren’t wearing the right bra size. What happens to these intimates when they are no longer used or needed? They typically end up in landfills. In fact, the average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing a year and 95% of those textiles can be recycled and given a new life. Elaine Birks-Mitchell and Johnny Mitchell Jr saw an opportunity to create a social enterprise that is not only recycling these necessary items, but educating the industry about the environmental impacts of recycling. As a social enterprise, we love getting to know other companies that are making a positive impact on the world around us so we couldn’t wait to share Elaine’s story and passion.

Join Kay and Elaine as they discuss The Bra Recyclers mission, their nonprofit arm The Undie Chest, how you can get involved helping families across the world, and more.

Watch their conversation below or click here to listen on Spotify.

About Elaine Birks-Mitchell and The Bra Recyclers

the bra recyclers logo

Elaine Birks-Mitchell is a dedicated advocate of the circular economy. She founded The Undie Chest, a nonprofit combating hygiene and underwear poverty worldwide. Through initiatives like Everyone Deserves Underwear (E.D.U) and the Undie Power Progam, underwear is donated to families in need, underserved communities, and Title 1 school districts. Elaine has donated millions of bras to nonprofits, promoting sustainability. She has received awards for her leadership and impactful work, featured in publications like The New Yorker and Huffington Post. She has received the 2023 AZ Governor’s Volunteer Service Award and the 2023 National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Business Impact Award for her leadership and impactful work in the textile recycling industry.

Founded by Elaine Birks-Mitchell and Johnny Mitchell, Jr in 2008, The Bra Recyclers is a clothing recycling social enterprise, specializing in the reuse of new and pre-loved bras. Their mission is to educate retailers and consumers on the positive social and environmental impacts of recycling lingerie. The Bra Recyclers goal is to inspire them to take action. Through their nonprofit arm, The Undie Chest, they support families in need around the world with the donation of underwear. Their signature program, Everyone Deserves Underwear (E.D.U), supports our schools by providing underwear to students. They believe our youth should focus on building their future and not have to worry about not having underwear.

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