The sorting for circularity project lead by Fashion for good and Circle Economy has come to an end and releases a report detailing the findings of the 16-month analysis. The analysis indicates that 74%, a total of 494,000 tonnes, of low-value, post-consumer textiles is readily available for fibre-to-fibre recycling in six European countries. This represents the potential to generate an additional €74 million per year in value by reintroducing sorted and recycled textiles back into the value chain.

The project which was launched in early 2021 and brought together the fashion and textile industry throughout Europe. The project was led by Fashion for Good and Circle Economy and involved sorting facilities and as well as brands and retailers. The sorting facilities enabled the assessment with providing infrastructure and sorting operators for on-the-ground analysis through in-kind participation. The brand and retailers gave inputs on materials put to market today.

The project aim was to close the data gap on the materials out in post-consumer textiles for recycling today. Circle Economy, with support from TERRA, led the creation and implementation of the methodology. Refashion facilitated the introduction to TERRA and created the Refashion textile materials library, for the implementation of the methodology.

Today there is very little publicly available information on the type of material composition in the post-consumer textile waste. With use of the provided the NIR technology provided by Matoha, a large assessment of used to assess textile waste composition was conducted throughout the participating sorting facilities including TEXAID sorting facility in Apolda.

“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” – Martin Böschen, CEO TEXAID Group.

Through using NIR-technology and adding further data to the sorted goods, the project could evaluate the material which potential to be recycled into new textiles in the future. In the end the project analysed 21 tons of post-consumer textile waste. Cotton was found to be the dominant fibre (42%), followed by a large presence of material blends (32%), almost half of which consisted of polycottons (12%). Based on three characteristics, material composition, presence of disruptors, such as zippers and buttons, and colour, 21% of the materials analysed are deemed suitable as feedstock for mechanical recycling, while 53% are suitable for chemical recycling. This presents a significant opportunity for circularity as currently only 2% of post-consumer textiles are diverted to fibre-to-fibre recycling.

The full report of the findings can be read here.

TEXAID TEXAID is a Swiss based, international textile recycling company founded 1978 as a charity-private-partnership. As European market leader dedicated to sustainability, TEXAID is an experienced global solution provider in professional collecting, sorting, reselling and recycling of textiles and footwear.

With more than 40 years of experience, TEXAID processes more than 280M items (80.000 tons) annually. TEXAID’s operational presence spans Europe, the US and Asia, with more than 1,000 employees contributing daily to saving millions of textiles from landfill or incineration. TEXAID’s Unit Retail Solutions is designed to address the textile industry’s growing needs for sustainable end-of-use solutions and provides custom-made concepts to producers, distributors, brands and retailers in the textile industry to keep pre- and post-consumer textiles and footwear in the circle.

Our end-of-life solutions concepts cover online and offline “take-back systems,” sorting of pre- and post- consumer textiles, online and offline reselling channels and scaled/ high value recycling. Moreover, we provide services like brand protection (delabeling, etc.) and branded or white label re-commerce platforms. Through our vast expertise create and deliver individual concepts and optimized solutions


Circle Economy is a global impact organisation with an international team of passionate experts based in Amsterdam, empowering businesses, cities and nations with practical and scalable solutions to put the circular economy into action. Their vision is an economic system that ensures the planet and all people can thrive.

Since 2014, their Circle Textiles Programme works to enable the data, technology and infrastructure needed to valorise textile waste at end-of-use and increase apparel brands’ capacity to adopt circular strategies and business models. Their mission is to connect a circular supply chain of producers (manufacturers, retailers and brands) and solution providers (collectors, sorters, recyclers, manufacturers, logistics etc.).

Circle Economy has deep expertise in the areas of textile-to-textile recycling, circular business models, design for cyclability, technology assessments and circular infrastructure developments.


Fashion for Good is the global platform for innovation.

At its core is the Global and Asia Innovation Programme that supports disruptive innovators on their journey to scale, providing hands-on project management, access to funding and expertise, and collaborations with brands and manufacturers to accelerate supply chain implementation.

To activate individuals and industry alike, Fashion for Good houses the world’s first interactive museum dedicated to sustainable fashion and innovation to inform and empower people from across the world and creates open-source resources to action change.

Fashion for Good’s programmes are supported by founding partner Laudes Foundation, co-founder William McDonough and corporate partners adidas, BESTSELLER, C&A, CHANEL, Inditex, Kering, Levi Strauss & Co., Otto Group, Patagonia, PVH Corp., Reformation, Stella McCartney, Target and Zalando, and affiliate and regional partners Arvind Limited, Birla Cellulose, Norrøna, Pangaia, Teijin Frontier, Vivobarefoot, Welspun and W. L. Gore & Associates.