Europe is facing a growing mountain of used textiles. In North-West Europe 4700 kilotonnes of post-consumer textile waste are generated annually. Still, less than 1% of textiles produced are currently recycled into new ones, and around 50% are downcycled, incinerated or landfilled.
Automated sorting technologies could enable the industry to turn non-rewearable textiles into valuable feedstock for high-value recycling. Fibersort, a Near Infrared based technology, is able to categorise textiles according to their fibre composition, structure and colour.
At the end of each chapter of the report, recommendations are formulated for recyclers, manufacturers and brands to address the socio-cultural, physical and economic barriers for uptake of sorted textiles.