Your old underwear could be your next piece of furniture. How Parade is making recycling panties a thing

TerraCycle Include USA Parade
Underwear brand Parade wants you to send them your old panties. Yes, you read that right. Parade, founded in 2019, has partnered with TerraCycle, a recycling business, to give used underwear a new purpose. The program, dubbed "Second Life by Parade," aims to redefine sustainability for the brand and for consumers, Kerry Steib, Parade's head of impact and communications, said in a press release Tuesday. "With underwear, there are few sustainable options for what happens when you’re done using it – you can’t resell it or donate it," Steib told USA TODAY in a statement. "At Parade, we wanted to make sure we were addressing not only our product’s end-of-life but also what happens to all the underwear you’re ready to get rid of." All the old underwear will be turned into new items including furniture, bedding and insulation, among other goods.

How to recycle your underwear through 'Second Life by Parade'

The way it works is simple: Shoppers can go to Parade's website to request a free shipping kit including a biodegradable bag and prepaid shipping label that can be used to send freshly washed underwear to the brand. Parade advises sending as many pairs as can fit into the packaging to reduce one's carbon footprint. In return, shippers will get a 20% Parade credit to spend on "anything of their choosing" on the site. . All underwear styles from any brand will be accepted. Bralettes and swimsuits, however, are not eligible for the program. “This launch provides consumers with the opportunity to responsibly recycle their used intimate apparel and ensure that it is diverted from the landfill,” Tom Szaky, TerraCycle CEO and founder, said in the release.

Knickey, Harper Wilde also recycle

Parade, which focuses on using sustainable materials to create its undergarments, isn't the first to jumpstart an undergarment recycling initiative.  Knickey, another sustainable brand, also has an underwear recycling program for "ready-to-retire intimates." They've recycled more than 100,000 items, according to their website. "We take undies, bras, socks and tights - even men's and kids too," Knickey said on its site, noting that people who send in their used undergarments will receive a free pair of cotton panties as a thank you in their next order from the company. And Harper Wilde offers customers a way to recycle their bras and underwear as well. Since the program's launch, Harper Wilde has recycled more than 30,000 bras, according to its website. "When we couldn't find a way to sustainably dispose of old bras, we decided to create that," Harper Wilde said on the website, noting that customers can recycle any brand of bra or underwear through their "Recycle, Bra" system. Parade says its efforts are contributing to a larger goal. "The program is a part of our commitment to be carbon positive by 2025," Steib said, adding that Parade is also the first underwear company to join the Science-Based Targets initiative, which makes commitments validated by the world's top climate scientists. "The plan that we’ll design against these commitments is what we need to do to make sure we’re doing our part to keep the world’s temperature rise below 1.5-degrees."

Customers are ready to turn over their old panties

Parade announced the collaboration on its Instagram account Tuesday. "Raise your hand if you have old underwear you never wear taking up space in the back of your drawer," the brand wrote. "What if we told you we could recycle them?" Instagram users responded to the idea with optimism – and some questions about what brands of underwear would be accepted and if there would be a shipping free. "Ok I freaking love this," Jazmine Rogers (@thatcurlytop) wrote. Ashley Bulayo (@ashleeeybash) shared a similar comment. "Omg yes!!!! I’ve been looking for something like this. THANK YOU!!!!" Parade answered commenters' questions (Yes, shipping is waived). Follow Morgan Hines on Twitter: @MorganEmHines.