Tackling Textiles

In 2017/18 a staggering £1.7 million was spent sending your textiles for disposal.

West Sussex residents threw away nearly 11,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes, towels, blankets or sheets into the general rubbish even though most of these textiles could have been repaired, reused or recycled.

That’s just over 7,000 tonnes of your unwanted clothes, towels, blankets and sheets thrown into rubbish bins at home and nearly 4,000 tonnes into the general household waste containers at the Household Waste Recycling Sites.

So we’re asking you to help us with tackling textiles, and reuse, repair, or recycle them instead.

If the thought of helping the environment by preventing 11,000 tonnes of rubbish from going to waste isn’t enough to make you think before you throw, look at it this way….

By throwing clothes and other similar items away you’re actually paying for them twice.


  1. When you buy them;
  2. When you bin them: the West Sussex Waste Partnership has to pay to dispose of your textiles - and that money comes from your council tax.


Textiles can be a whole range of things and they can all be reused or recycled - they don't have to go in the rubbish bin.

  • Clothes
  • Towels
  • Shoes (in pairs)
  • Bed linen
  • Blankets
  • Duvet covers and pillow cases
  • Curtains
  • Table linen
  • Bags and belts

So if you have any of the items above, please think before you throw them away and see below for some ideas of what you can do instead.

There are dozens of reasons for not wanting to wear something anymore. The most common are:

  • It's damaged or got a hole or tear in it or is stained. It basically can't be worn.
  • It used to fit, but now it doesn't - especially true for kids' clothes.
  • You just don't like it anymore.
  • You forgot you had it (how many clothes do you have?!) and now it’s out of fashion.
  • It's been worn to death, and is literally thread bare.

 So what can you do?  

  1. Repair – Why not try something new and take up sewing? You don’t have to be an expert with a needle and thread, but learning to sew on a button, sew up a seam or hem some trousers could save a trusty wardrobe staple and give it a new lease of life. Have a look at the Love Your Clothes website to get you started.
  2. Reuse – If something you love can’t be repaired, why not turn it into something new? There are lots of handy tutorials online to inspire you and get you started on a new project. Or why not take your clothes to a charity shop, give them away to family, friends, or neighbours, or try and sell them online?
  3. Recycle – If your textiles are beyond repair or reuse, you can take them to a textiles bank at your local Household Waste Recycling Site or your nearest bring bank site (see below). 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 (such as car seat fillers) or turned into a range of cleaning cloths. 
  4. Swishing - Swishing is an event where you and your friends or local communities can get together and trade in your unwanted clothes for something new to freshen up your wardrobe. From babies clothing to men’s and ladies clothes, shoes, bags and accessories, these are all things that you could swish.
    What’s also great is you’re saving your textiles going to waste and saving money too!


Whether you’re looking at holding an event at home or hosting a larger event at a local public venue, our swapping event guide will take you through the basics you need to start swishing.

Click the image and follow the link!



We get a lot of questions about the end destinations of donated clothes and textiles and how they are reused or recycled. So here's what happens.

  • The bring bank. These are dotted around all over the county - use the links below to find your nearest one. For more information about what happens to your textiles placed in bring bank sites, please contact your local district and borough council.
  • Textiles Banks at Household Waste Recycling Sites. There are 11 sites in West Sussex and all have large textile containers. The banks will accept any of the textile items listed above, whatever the quality. Your clothes do not have to be wearable for these, far from it, they can be tatty and torn - it doesn't matter. Once full, the garments are collected by the textiles company Wilcox and taken to their sorting factory in the Midlands. 90% of all the textiles collected at Household Waste Recycling sites are reused. The remaining 10% is manufactured into a range of cleaning cloths, flock rags and felt materials used in automotive sound proofing and mattress stuffing.

Bring banks are ready and waiting for your unwanted textiles in any condition, making money for charity, and making sure they are worn again or recycled.

Adur and Worthing Arun district Chichester district Crawley

Horsham district Mid Sussex district 

If you’re a Resident in Crawley you have another option, as textiles here are also collected at the kerbside. The kerbside textile collection service is available to all individual households or where small two wheeled communal bins are provided at smaller blocks of flats. Just pop your textiles for recycling in a carrier bag and place them out with your RED top recycling bin ready for collection before 7:30am.

Crawley district kerbside collections

Unfortunately bring banks can’t accept pillows, duvets, carpets or rugs.


Did you know?

Did you know?