In the collecting – sorting – recycling process chain, it is sorting that determines the economic and ecological value of the used textiles. TEXAID achieves an above-average second-hand value of around 65 per cent during sorting. The European industry average is between 45 and 50 per cent. Efficient sorting filters out usable second-hand clothes from the discarded textiles collected, thereby keeping them in the textile cycle.
In Switzerland, TEXAID has one of Europe's most modern, voice-controlled sorting systems to help it guarantee such high-quality sorting. Nevertheless, it is people who are responsible for the majority of the sorting work. Whether in Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria or Morocco, trained staff examine every item of clothing by hand and classify it on the basis of around 60 criteria.
Around 35 per cent of the items collected are categorised as 'no longer wearable'. Just under half of these, around 15 per cent, can be made into cleaning cloths capable of good cleaning and polishing work in industry. Another 15 per cent are sent for textile recycling, where they are either shredded and mixed with other materials to be turned into raw materials, or are made into insulating materials. Only 5 per cent of the total volume collected is incinerated.