June 2015

Textile Recycling Innovation - June 2015

Sorting it Out: How one machine is revolutionizing the textile recycling industry

We are accustomed to sorting our plastic goods from our paper goods when recycling, but what about when we recycle textiles? Who sorts those items? For more than 400 years, the answer to this question has been the manual labor force that works within the textile recycling industry. But thanks to cutting-edge technology, the answer to this question is beginning to change. With the invention and implementation of a clothing sorting machine that categorizes different types of textiles, the process becomes automated and streamlined.

This sorting machine increases efficiency and productivity while also reducing the cost of labor-the most expensive variable within the textile recycling industry. The machine also adds a new statistical aspect to the industry, stemming from the machine's process of accounting for each of the garments it sorts. Each garment is given a unique code that human operators input into the apparatus. This data collection can determine yields, sale value, raw material cost, labor wages, productivity of human operators and more. This kind of in-depth data was not achievable with the conventional method of sorting textiles through manual labor.

A majority of the textile recycling industry still uses conventional, manual labor to sort used textiles instead of the clothing sorting machine, but some are beginning to make the switch to the more technologically savvy method. The clothing sorting machine is just one example of the technological advancements that are beginning to emerge within the textile recycling industry and there are many other avenues for innovation-who knows where the future of textile recycling will go from here.

 


2015 Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association
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