Fibersort: Closing the loop in the textiles industry

Project Summary

The Fibersort is a technology that automatically sorts large volumes of garments and finished products by fiber composition. This allows them to be recycled into new, high quality textiles. Once sorted, these materials become reliable, consistent input materials for high value textile to textile recyclers. High value recycling technologies can transition low value waste into new, high value textiles and they are a critical link in the circular supply chain. Therefore, the Fibersort is a key technology that will enable textile resources to cycle repeatedly through the supply chain. Once commercialized, it will create a tipping point for a new, circular textile industry.

Industry engagement

Creating a circular textile industry is a massive job, and our success depends on collaboration across multiple sectors. Because of this, we are building a large network of stakeholders to focus on two specific areas.

Textile collectors, sorters, and recyclers will help outline the new market for low value textiles, advise technology development, and provide perspective for the Fibersort business model.

Brands, retailers, and manufacturers will be able to preview the technology, map out their expectations for recycled textiles, and provide perspective for the recycled textiles business model.

Joining the Fibersort network offers a unique opportunity to:

  • Be involved in the development of the next big disruptor in high-value textile recycling
  • Get early access to the Fibersort technology and its feedstock
  • Help shape the market of a sustainable, closed looped textiles industry
  • Connect with other frontrunners in sustainable textiles

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Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Contact name Address Email Website
Circle Economy Traci Kinden 532 Keizersgracht
1017 EK
Name Contact Name Email Country
Smart Fibersorting B.V. Hans Bon Netherlands
Valvan Baling Systems Maurits Vandeputte Belgium
Stichting Leger des Heils ReShare Simon Smedinga Netherlands
Worn Again Footwear & Accessories Ltd. Cyndi Rhoades United Kingdom
Procotex Corporation S.A. Nicolas Douchy Belgium


Fibersort at the European Technology Platform (ETP) conference

Posted on

We hear so much about how bad the apparel industry is, however there is so much great work happening in textiles today. Picture a room full of European research projects, innovators, industry leaders, and policy-makers eager to present their work and discuss a better future. This is an inspiring scene for someone deeply entangled in transforming the linear system, and it is exactly what the Fibersort team found at the European Technology Platform (ETP) conference in Brussels on 30-31 March. Read More

Long Term

Successful implementation of new technologies requires inputs from all stakeholders.

We are connecting with collectors, sorters and recyclers in the NWE target territory (NL, BE, DE, UK,FR) through several Working Groups. We are also working with brands and retailers around the globe through one Producer Network. Both groups are contributing data and insights and helping to build reports and industry guides to accelerate the transition to a circular textile system. The Producer Network is also focused on increasing the market pull for recycled textiles.


Working Group Deliverables

  • List of barriers, market needs, policies, and other factors impacting automated textile sorting
  • One page reference sheet including
    • Common recycling feedstock grades
    • Materials availability within Europe
    • Certification expectations for collectors, sorters, and recyclers
  • Case studies to highlight barriers and success factors impacting automated textile sorting
  • Report on macro trends influencing second hand materials markets
  • Report on policy recommendations to increase use of recycled textiles


Producer Network Deliverables

  • Industry reference sheet for product, price, and performance expectations
    • Cotton and polyester
  • Report on business models and end markets for recycled fibers
  • Report on policy recommendations to increase use of recycled textiles


T1: Technology Validation

During this work package, the project team will validate the Fibersort technology, refine software models, and begin to optimize the material library. The first reports on Fibersort productivity and accuracy will be available in Q4 of 2017.


T2: Business Case Validation

This work package will focus on business case validation. We will optimize the Fibersort process with consideration for key parameters, such as fiber composition of inputs, production capacity, transport, waste and inputs costs, revenue streams, virgin resource prices, and market demand.



Communicating project progress and results is essential, as it engages a broad range of stakeholders in the project. It also communicates the outcomes of our work to a global audience. We will reach businesses involved in textile collection, sorting, recycling, product manufacturing and retail, NGO’s, municipalities, policy makers, and research institutions.

Communications will include baseline industry knowledge and insights required to broadly implement auto textile sortation as a key component of a circular textiles system. It will also help guide brands and retailers to incorporate more recycled textiles into their products.

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