Don't underestimate the power of Japan's brassieres.
Now Japanese underwear makers are turning bras into an alternative fuel.
Triumph International and Wacoal have been collecting used bras from customers and turning the raw materials minus the metal into refuse paper and plastic fuel (RPF), which is used to power industrial boilers and power generators.
The two companies have collected nearly 380,000 bras and generated about 32 tons of RPF over the last few years, according to a Kyodo News article.
In addition to recycling bras in Japan, Wacaol has also been collecting bras from its stores in Taiwan.
On its Web site, the Japan RPF Association says RPF costs a third to a fourth the price of coal, and has a comparable combustion efficiency.
The fuel can be made from numerous post-consumer materials, including laminated paper, film, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), commonly used in drink bottles.
But aside from helping to reduce dependence of fossil fuels, the bra-recycling program may have a social benefit.
Many Japanese women are reluctant to toss out their old bras, Kyodo notes, because they're "concerned about their underwear being stolen by perverts."
(Via The Japan Times)