In the collecting – sorting – recycling process chain, it is sorting that determines the economical and ecological value of the used textiles. In this TEXAID achieves an above-average second-hand value of up to 65 per cent. The European industry average is around 45 to 50 percent. Efficient sorting filters usable second-hand clothes out of discarded textiles, thereby keeping them in the textile cycle.
In Switzerland, one of the world's most modern voice-controlled sorting systems contributes towards this success. Nevertheless it is people who are responsible for the lion's share of the sorting. Whether in Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria or Morocco: Trained staff examine every item of clothing by hand and classify it in accordance with some 60 criteria.
Around 35 per cent of the items collected are categorized as «no longer wearable». Just under half of these, around 15 per cent, can be made into cleaning cloths that do good cleaning and polishing work in industry. Another 15 per cent are sent for textile recycling – they are shredded and mixed with other materials as a raw material, or are made into insulating materials. Only 5 per cent of the total amount collected is incinerated.