Innovation fund

TEXAID's innovation fund pursues the goal of promoting projects with a view to high-quality recycling of used textiles. These projects are designed to find sustainable solutions to recycle the increasing amount of textiles that are no longer wearable in an even more ecological way.

Background of the innovation fund
Each year, TEXAID collects around 37,000 tons of used clothes in Switzerland and ensures that these are reused in an ecologically useful manner. 30 percent of the textiles collected are in too poor a condition to be worn again as second-hand clothing. Today these textiles are downcycled, i.e. they are processed into cleaning cloths or shoddy wool. TEXAID predicts that in future they will be met with increasing amounts of no longer wearable textiles, as the trend of cheaply produced clothing persists (fast fashion trend). Because of this, TEXAID set up the innovation fund. The aim of the fund is to use the textile raw material even more effectively, in order to close the textile cycle in the long term. This includes, for example, cooperation in research projects and active exchange within the textile economy through membership of organisations.

Focus on textile recycling

Individual textile pieces often consist of various materials (fibres), which makes textile recycling more difficult. Recognising the different fibres which are contained in a garment requires new processes and technologies for sorting. For recycling qualities, automated or partially automated textile sorting according to fibre type is conceivable, wherein technologies, such as NIR (near-infrared spectroscopy) and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) could be used.

You can find a selection of projects in which TEXAID is actively involved here.

After the materials are sorted, contaminants (e.g. zippers, seams, accessories, etc.) must be removed. Depending on the area of application, the material must be additionally sorted according to colour or have the colour completely removed. There are various procedures to achieve this. Only after processing can the used textiles be used as raw material for the actual recycling. Because the purer the material, the easier it is to find reuse opportunities. Used textiles are recycled and processed into yarn or non-wovens using chemical or mechanical methods. To do this, ways must be found to scale up the processes to a large industrial scale.

You can find a selection of projects in which TEXAID is actively involved here.

Today used textiles are cut into cleaning cloths or processed into shoddy wool. The aim is to produce innovative and marketable products which will remain in the textile cycle for longer.

Active exchange is necessary to understand the requirements of the various actors in the textile industry. Only in this way can needs be coordinated and joint approaches and solutions found for a more sustainable textile Industry.

Our memberships and partnerships can be found here.

Participating recycling companies
Recycling companies support TEXAID’s innovation fund by giving part of their remuneration from the collection of used clothes to the fund. This finances the work efforts for the various projects. We would like to extend our heart-felt thanks to them!

Recycling companies which support the innovation fund can be seen on the special bin design: