The fashion and textile industry across Europe came together early last year with sorting facilities as well as brands and retailers involved in the initiative. The aim was to close data gaps on materials out in post-consumer textiles through assessment using NIR technology provided by Matoha throughout participating sorting facilities including TEXAID's facility located Apolda.
Today publicly available information regarding material composition within discarded garments remains limited; however, this project aimed at evaluating these compositions' future potential towards new textile production possibilities. In total, over 21 tons were analysed during this study period revealing cotton fibres being dominant (42%) followed closely by polycotton blends accounting for almost half (12%).
Based on three characteristics - material composition presence of disruptors such as zippers or buttons colouring - it was found that only around one fifth could serve mechanical recycling while more than half would be suitable candidates chemically recycled thus providing an opportunity toward greater circularity given current diversion rates are merely two percent.
The full report of the findings can be read here.
“This project was crucial for the industry to understand the post-consumer textile waste by material composition. Only if we know what material the discarded garments consist of, we can evaluate the opportunities for textile-to-textile recycling and the potential of sorting for textile-to-textile recycling. The next step is to implement this knowledge to help scaling the sorting for recycling infrastructure in Europe”