Japanese bra-to-fuel recycling scheme set to scupper ‘perverts’

Bra manufacturing giants Triumph International and Wacoal have teamed up to encourage women in Japan to recycle their underwear for use as an alternative industrial fuel.

The two companies have been collecting used bras from customers, extracting the metal, and turning the remainder of the material into refuse paper and plastic fuel (RPF), which can be used to power industrial boilers and generators.

Almost 380,000 bras have reportedly been recovered so far, generating around 32 tonnes of RPF, which claims to have a comparable combustion efficiency to coal yet costs a fraction of the price. RPF can be made from numerous post-consumer materials, including laminated paper, film, and PET.

In addition to recycling bras in Japan, Wacaol has also been collecting bras from its stores in Taiwan. The bra recycling program is also thought to have a social benefit as Japanese women are reluctant to throw away their old bras out with their regular rubbish as many municipalities require that waste is placed in transparent plastic bag.

According to the Japanese news agency Kyodo, many women fear any bras they throw out may be picked up by “perverts”.

Maxine Perella

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