Brazil-based Braskem, a leading petrochemical and biopolymer producer, has partnered with intimate apparel manufacturer Gelmart International to create a bra cup made from sugarcane-based polymer foam. The bras, which are part of Gelmart’s “kindly” product line, are sold exclusively at Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.
The bra cups are made from Braskem’s “I’m green” ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) biopolymer, which is produced from sustainably grown sugarcane. The biopolymer, produced in the south of Brazil, replaces conventional foam material in the cups.
Gelmart developed the kindly sustainable product line over the course of three years, performing nearly 30 iterations of trials, testing, molding, and wear tests. Kindly bras and underwear are made from a proprietary blend of recycled nylon, spandex, elastic, and sugarcane. The cups for kindly bras are more than 80% plant-based, and the rest of the bra is made out of recycled materials and fabrics, where possible.
“Consumers are loving our new line of kindly products, as its kind to the body, earth, and their wallet,” Caroline Levy Limpert, Gelmart International’s Chief Marketing Officer and Managing Partner, FullStride Ventures, tells PlasticsToday. “With the kindly bra, not only have we created the first ever plant-based bra cup sourced from sugarcane, but we have made the product affordable and accessible based on partnership with Walmart.”
Limpert adds, “Walmart has been very clear about its commitment to sustainability and being green. It has corporate goals, and it challenges its vendor partners to develop products that help the planet.”
Distribution through Walmart, together with a comprehensive size range and low price point — kindly bras retail for $11 to $14 — make the products accessible to a mass market that increasingly craves sustainable goods.
“Today’s consumer is taking a more holistic approach when making their purchasing decision and this increasingly calls for selecting products that are developed and produced with a focus on sustainability as a primary consideration,” said Giancarlos Delevati, Account Manager and Business Development at Braskem, in a prepared statement.
“At Braskem, we partner with our customers to help them make the transition from legacy materials to more environmentally friendly materials,” he added. “We are proud to work with Gelmart to help move the apparel industry forward on its sustainability journey and deliver products that meet the needs of their customers who are passionate about creating a better future for the planet.”
Consumers posting reviews of kindly bras on Walmart’s website have noted the low prices as well as the product’s comfort. Ten of the 14 reviewers, in fact, gave the bra five stars. Reviewers received the bra free or for a discounted price in exchange for their honest opinion of the product.
Describing the kindly bra, one reviewer wrote: “I really like that it’s sustainable and affordable because a lot of sustainable products cost more money.”
Another posted: “This bra is very comfortable while providing good support.”
Earlier this year, footwear company Dansko launched the Kane line of clogs, which are made from more than 50% Braskem I’m green EVA biopolymer. Consumer reviewers posting on Dansko’s website report that the EVA clogs are lightweight, comfortable, sturdy, supportive, waterproof, and easy to clean. Kane clogs retail for $80 on the Dansko site, vs. $125 to $145 for leather clogs.