Clothes and textiles thrown away by residents cost over £462,000 last year

Clothes and textiles thrown away as rubbish by Adur and Worthing residents cost local taxpayers more than £462,000 last year.

Nearly 3,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes, towels, blankets or sheets were disposed of in residents’ kerbside general rubbish or in the wrong bin at council tips (Household Waste Recycling Centres). Yet all the clothes and textiles can be recycled by residents rather than thrown away – eliminating the cost to West Sussex County Council in extra disposal fees.

Textiles should not be placed in the home recycling bin as they can get tangled in machinery at the materials recycling facility, potentially causing the plant to shut down and adding delays to the recycling of plastics, paper and glass.

If unwanted clothes and textiles are clean and in good condition, they should be taken to local charity shops for resale. Otherwise they can be deposited in the textile bins at local Household Waste Recycling Sites (the council tip) or placed in one of the textile banks around Adur and Worthing, making sure clothes and shoes are also clean, dry and bagged.

All textiles and shoes donated to local textile banks also generate money for local causes. Last year the donations generating over £20,000 for charitable projects. Clothes and shoes in good condition are sold on, whilst all textiles in less good condition are recycled by shredding, and used in the ‘flocking’ industry, for example as car seat filler.

The money raised through the textile banks is distributed by local charity Community Chest in Worthing, and Adur Community Grants in Adur to support projects which promote social and economic well being.

Cllr Emma Evans, Executive Member for the Environment for Adur District Council, said: “We really need to start thinking more about what we throw away, and clothes are an easy one to remember. They can and should be recycled. Not only is it good for the environment, but it saves a significant amount of money.

Cllr Edward Crouch, Executive Member for Digital & Environmental Services for Worthing Borough Council said, “It is not just the expense to the taxpayer, but the environmental impact. For example, non-biodegradable textiles such as polyester and nylon can take between 20 and 300 years to fully biodegrade. This is something we should all be mindful of.”

Click here to see where you can donate your old clothes and textiles:

The West Sussex Waste Partnership has this month launched a campaign to encourage people to recycle more. Entitled ‘Tackling Textiles’, it encourages residents repair, reuse and recycle.


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