This is the age old question!
A very clever (male) friend asked me, when I launched this bra, if it would start breaking down if someone wore it lying on damp grass for a period of time. His fear was, because it was so quickly compostable, that it could just disintegrate if it spent too long in nature.
Whilst our bra does break down quickly in compost or worm farm at the end of its life - when buried in the right moisture and temperature conditions - it won't do this outside of those conditions. Phew, hey?!
The relatively high cost of the bra reflects the investment you are making in new, rare and innovative materials that allow it to break down in 3 months in compost or worm farm, instead of 200 years in landfill. However, whilst our bras will give conventional bras a great run for their money, they won't necessarily last longer than them overall. We know some customers hope that having invested in The Very Good Bra and perhaps paid more than they would for a conventional bra, it will last a lot longer.
The clean and compostable components required to achieve this are incredibly expensive, and in many cases have only one global supplier, meaning hefty freight costs also come into play.
Elastic is still elastic whether compostable or not, and elastic is sadly always the first to go in any bra. The straps bear most of the heavy-lifting and eventually all will stretch out and not stretch back so well. Some of our enterprising first customers have replaced their straps with conventional elastic, and there is also now an Australian stockist of our tree rubber straps - Sew for Good if you want to replace like-for-like. We are also getting some spare strapping here for customers who would like to replace theirs, hopefully in the next few weeks - watch this space! In the meantime, you can also replace your straps with conventional strap elastic from a good haberdasher, just remember to bin rather than compost or worm that at the end.
The best way to keep your bra Very Good for as long as possible is to wear it on rotation with your other bras, to only ever wash in cold water with no fabric softener, and absolutely NEVER to tumble dry! Huffington Post also advises to 'rest' your bra in between wears to allow the elastic to recover, and not to wear 2 consecutive days. We've another blog here on caring for your bra.
Huff Post's article here gives more intel on what you may be doing wrong with your bra, and also advises that the average life-span of a bra is about 8 months when treated well and worn in rotation. I know of many of ours lasting longer than this, but this depends on care and wear. We don't want to raise an unrealistic expectation that because this bra costs more, it will last longer. We hate disappointed customers. However, cared for as instructed, and worn on rotation, many bras are still going after 2 years.
You are literally making an investment in the long-term future of the planet every time you buy something fully compostable, you're a legend! When you're done with your Very Good Bra, in compost or worm farm, it will last just 1% as long as regular bras will when they are placed in landfill.
Over time, with increased consumer demand and more suppliers making 'clean' raw materials, the cost will come down, but until then, consider yourself a trail-blazer and let us know how long you can keep yours before it hits the worm farm!
PS - Kudos to Best Pegs for our beautiful marine grade stainless steel pegs in this image!