Here the West Sussex Waste Partnership tells you all you need to know about cutting down on all types of waste
Last year alone it cost West Sussex tax payers £1.7 million to dispose of textiles binned by their owners.
That’s a staggering 11,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes, towels, blankets or sheets thrown in with the general rubbish.
Just over 7,000 tonnes of textiles were thrown into rubbish bins at home and nearly 4,000 tonnes into the general household waste containers at Household Waste Recycling Sites, even though most of these textiles could have been repaired, reused or recycled.
The West Sussex Waste Partnership has to pay to dispose of your textiles - and that money comes from your council tax.
But it’s not just the cost of sending textiles to waste which is an issue, non-biodegradable textiles, such as polyester and nylon can take between 20 and 200 years to fully biodegrade which is not good for the environment.
So this year, the West Sussex Waste Partnership will be helping you to think before you throw and follow these simple steps to prevent your textiles going to waste.
If you want to find out more about Tackling Textiles, read on for some advice on how to repair, reuse, or recycle your clothes and materials…
Go from repair zero to repair hero
You don’t have to be an expert with a needle and thread, but learning how to sew on a button, sewing up a seam or hemming some trousers are useful skills, which could save a trusty wardrobe staple and give it a new lease of life.
If you’re not so handy with a needle and thread, you could always ask someone you know to lend a helping hand, watch one of the many ‘How To’ videos online or even find a class to get expert help and advice that can take you from repair zero to repair hero in no time.
There are even a number of Repair Cafes popping up across the County where you can go along and get tips and advice from experts.
If you’re looking for a place to start brushing up on your repair skills, why not visit the Love Your Clothes channel on YouTube which has a number of handy videos on everything from removing grass stains, machine sewing a hem or even brightening your whites so they don’t get resigned to the recycling pile just yet.
If you can’t repair then why not find a way to reuse?
Make something new
If something you love can’t be repaired, why not turn it into something new?
Could that jersey t-shirt which has lost its colour be turned into a reusable shopping bag? Could the jeans with the massive rip be turned into a tablet sleeve? Or could that old men’s shirt be turned into a halter dress instead?
There are lots of handy tutorials online to inspire you and get you started on a new project, take a look on YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram, and see what catches your eye.
Swishing, swapping and selling
There are loads of other things you can do with unwanted clothes:
If you have clothes, shoes, bags and belts in good condition, you could always sell them online, allowing you to make some money and giving them to someone else to make use of.
You can take them to a local charity shop.
Or why not hold a ‘swishing’ event with friends and family, where you bring along any clothes or accessories you don’t want anymore and swap them (guilt-free) for something that you absolutely adore.
Swishing events are easy to hold as they can be done at home, at the office or at a larger venue (with a bit of organisation) and bring lots of people together to swap items they no longer wear for something new and exciting that will make a great addition to their wardrobe.
Think before you throw
If all else fails and your textiles are beyond repair or reuse, or unsuitable for donation to charity, then you can take them to a textiles bank at your local Household Waste Recycling Site (HWRS) or your nearest bring bank site.
Details of where to find your nearest recycling site or bring bank can be found at www.wastepreventionwestsussex.co.uk/textiles
Clothes and shoes that still have some life left in them will be sorted and sent for reuse.
Old, well-worn or torn textiles will be recycled by shredding and used in the ‘flocking’ industry as car seat fillers.
If you take these items to your local HWRS then make sure you separate your textiles into a separate bag before heading down - you don’t want to accidentally throw them in with the general waste.
Make sure you place them in the blue textiles containers – if you can’t see one, ask a member of staff for help.
Don’t forget it’s not just clothing that you can take down to a textiles bank, they also accept things like shoes, bags, and belts. See the full list of items on the opposite page.
Find out more about Tackling Textiles and how to waste less and recycle more at www.wastepreventionwestsussex.co.uk/textiles or by following @WSrecycles on Facebook and Twitter!