Since the beginning of this year the staff members of the TEXAID sorting plant are learning a completely new kind of dealing with the used clothes, home textiles and shoes from the red/white collection bags and similarly coloured containers: in a way they now communicate with the outfits. Using a headset, the sorting team classifies every single piece by material, quality and texture. The computer control then makes sure that the piece finds its way to the right storage container: an air blast sends it to a stillage or a large bag.
Ergonomically correct and efficient
The new workplaces can be customized based on the ergonomic needs of every single employee. In addition, the work is now done in shift operation between six o'clock a. m. and eight o'clock p. m.; within this time scale the sorting team can choose its individual working hours rather freely. The investments in a highly technologized era shall pay off with a fifty percent sorting capacity increase. Through this the unit costs can be reduced, which «makes us quite competitive with Eastern European companies that produce at considerably lower labour costs», as Martin Böschen, director of TEXAID, explains. This competitiveness in the global trade with used textiles will ensure the survival of the headquarters in Schattdorf in Uri canton. For TEXAID employs more than 80 people in sorting, logistics, provision and distribution.
A fine thing – since 1982
Since the contents of the first collection bags were exploited in the sorting facility of TEXAID 26 years ago, the collection amount has constantly increased. Today, more than 20,000 tons of used clothes and shoes, nearly half of the total Swiss used clothes disposal, are yielded each year. TEXAID is the only collection organization having own sorting plants at its command to effectively feed the donated textiles and shoes to their best and most useful reuse or recycling respectively. The six Swiss aid organizations involved in TEXAID and the local Samaritan societies and Kolping families benefit from the proceeds. All in all, more than 150 million Swiss Franks have been paid out since the launch of the collection organization in 1978.
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