Adur and Worthing councils are urging residents to recycle clothes and textiles rather than throwing them away.
It is estimated that those thrown away as rubbish cost council taxpayers more than £462,000 last year, whereas they could have been turned into cash for community causes.
Emma Evans, executive member for the environment on 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.”
Nearly 3,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes, towels, blankets and sheets were disposed of in kerbside collections or in the wrong bins at the tip last year.
At the same time, those that were correctly deposited at the council’s textile banks raised more than £20,000 for causes in the area, through Worthing Community Chest or Adur Community Grants.
Clothes and shoes in good condition are sold on when possible but those in less good condition are recycled by shredding and used in the flocking industry, for example as car seat filler.
The textile bins in Adur are generally located at the council’s Bring sites. Information on the bins explains where the money goes, although the council admitted there was one bin that was incorrect. This Worthing Community Chest bin has been mistakenly placed in the Adur district but the council has given assurance that the money raised will remain in Adur.
A council spokesman said: “The money collected from the sale of recyclable textiles goes to community projects. All the money raised in Worthing Community Chest banks goes to Worthing projects and all the money raised from Adur Community Grants goes to Adur projects. There’s one bin that needs a sticker updating.”
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.
Edward Crouch, executive member for digital and 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.”
The council said unwanted clothes and textiles that are clean and in good condition should be taken to charity shops for resale.
Otherwise they can be deposited in the textile bins. Visit www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/recycling/bring-sites for locations.