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From Silicon to Stitch: The Intersection of Textile Recycling and 90s Hard Disk Challenges

Photo by Ethan Bodnar on Unsplash

The importance of yields in scaling industrial textile-to-textile recycling.

Photo by benjamin lehman on Unsplash

Textile recycling and circularity are becoming crucial points to be addressed for the survival of the textile industry. The surge in urgency in recent years is facilitated by the increasingly tightening regulations on handling textiles at end-of-life and the mandatory use of recycled content, as well as changing demands from critical stakeholders such as investors, media, and end-users.

In the discussions around closing the loop for the textile industry, one thing remains hidden: technology alone will not be enough. To make post-consumer textile-to-textile recycling the new norm, it needs to become profitable. And work is still required to achieve that profitability by scaling processes and increasing their efficiencies. Without tackling the low yield of current textile-to-textile recycling supply chains, recycling feedstock capacity and profit margins for textile players will remain at risk. This poses a bigger concern on achieving a closed loop at an European level, compromising EU’s future competitiveness in the market.

Big strides have been achieved in reaching the required recycled feedstock levels, yet innovative recycling technologies alone are not sufficient. Textile-to-textile recycling must evolve to be both financially viable and operationally scalable.

“Textile-to-textile recycling must evolve to be both financially viable and operationally scalable.”

When industrialising new processes, a key metric to consider is the productivity and efficiencies – i.e. yields. As argued in the study ‘The Economics of Yield-Driven Processes’ by Roger E. Bohn and Christian Terwiesch, the economic performance of production processes is heavily influenced by process yields, as these have a substantial impact on product cost, gross revenue and contribution margin. According to research on the hard disk drive (HDD) industry, the report states: “A three percentage point increase in yields can be worth about 6% of gross revenue and 17% of contribution. In fact, an eight percentage point improvement in process yields can outweigh a US$20/h increase in direct labour wages”.

In textile recycling, the level of contamination or the purity of feedstock has the most pronounced impact on yields. Some contaminations, such as elastane, are completely blocking the majority of mechanical and chemical recycling processes, while others are simply classified as waste, directly increasing overall process costs.

With 78% of apparel composed of various components, the pressing question arises: which  pre-processing method maximises efficiency to achieve high yields throughout the process?

On average, trims represent 10-20% of the garment weight. Mechanical removal of trims from the textiles, also called mechanical disassembly, results in the loss up to 60% of the garment (depending on the desired output purity requirements). Manual disassembly fares slightly better, but still incurs losses ranging around 40%. For a deeper dive into the cost analysis of textile disassembly processes, refer to Resortecs’ From Waste to Profit report.

Those pre-processing yields, combined with the average yield of 80% from chemical recycling processes result in an overall post-consumer textile-to-textile recycling process with yields as low as 32%. This strikingly low yield metric underscores that price competitive recycled materials will take time to materialise. It is unsurprising that post-consumer textile-to-textile recycled materials remain costly, and why recycled PET bottles (which bypass the need for disassembly or component sorting) continue to dominate as the most popular recycled material source in the textile industry. As Leachman documented in 1996 with the Berkeley project on HDD manufacturing, a yield rate of 50% effectively doubles the costs per unit compared to those at a 100% yield.

*Calculated with 0,35€ as the usual disassembly & sorting cost per garment.

With eco-design solutions such as Resortecs, the disassembly or “de-stitching” of garments is automated, allowing for the elimination of trims and the separation of two different textiles in reusable fractions with an average material recuperation rate of 95%. This pre-processing technology not only facilitates the recycling of complex/multilayer textile products, such as denim, jackets and swimwear, but also roughly doubles the post-consumer textile recycling yields.

Despite the widespread recognition of the crucial role yields play, it is surprising how little emphasis is placed on discussions regarding efficiencies and productivity at annual textile circularity and recycling conferences. Similar to the semiconductor industry in the 1990s, prioritising yields is imperative when deciding on which technologies and processes to integrate. By increasing the pre-processing and recycling yields we will be able to industrialise textile-to-textile recycling and achieve price-competitive sustainable materials for the textile industry.

In conclusion, the journey towards mainstream textile-to-textile recycling hinges on maximising process yields and optimising efficiency across the value chain. As described above, an optimised eco-design has a significant impact on the recycling process yields and thus largely affects the price of recycled content textile brands have to pay to be compliant. This insight highlights an opportunity for textile players to switch from a reactive to proactive approach: brands must take action in the way their garments are designed to ensure low price recycled feedstock, leading to less compromise on their margins in the long-term.

By addressing pre-processing challenges and leveraging eco-design technologies like Resortecs, the industry can pave the way for price-competitive sustainable materials and drive the transition towards a circular economy in the textile sector.

Author: Cédric Vanhoeck, CEO at Resortecs

Resortecs has joined forces with Decathlon, the global leader in sports equipment and apparel, to develop a fully recyclable swimwear collection without compromising performance, functionality, or aesthetics. This collaboration blends state-of-the-art technology with high-performance design.

Acerina Trejo Machin, the Chief Technology Officer at Resortecs, explains, “We all know that a high percentage of elastane prohibits the recycling of fabrics, but eliminating elastane lowers the functionality and performance of a garment. To balance performance and recyclability, Decathlon developed Negombo, a fabric ensuring elasticity without the use of elastane.”

However, creating a swimwear garment with a recyclable fabric alone isn’t enough to meet the required performance and comfort, for which elastic bands are needed. Those elastic bands are not processable by recyclers and block the recycling of the swimwear. This is where Resortecs comes into play. Resortecs’ Smart Stitch™, combined with Smart Disassembly™, enables the efficient separation of the elastic bands from the main fabric at the end of the garment’s life cycle.

Acerina elaborates, “Resortecs’ active disassembly process ensures the maximum recyclability rate of the swimwear garment. Our technology allows for fully automatic disassembly, without any manual intervention, at a scale of up to 10 tons a day. This results in an impressive 63% increase in material recovery and is 10 times faster than conventional methods.”

The synergy between Resortecs and Decathlon allows for the creation of swimwear that is not only high-performing but also fully recyclable, without making any compromises in design, durability, or comfort. 

Closing the loop has never been easier. By incorporating Resortecs’ disassembly solution, product designers can ensure circularity while focusing on their ultimate goal: creating garments that best fit their customer needs.

In recent years, a significant transformation has been underway in the world of finance, with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations taking center stage. This shift is not merely ideological but stems from a growing recognition among financial decision-makers that sustainable practices are not only ethically sound but also financially lucrative. As corporations face mounting pressure to address societal challenges, a parallel movement is unfolding, propelling the circular economy into the spotlight as a lucrative investment opportunity. This change can be attributed to various factors.

1. In a shifting landscape, financial decision-makers with aspirations beyond mere monetary gains are demanding tangible actions from corporations. The prevailing sentiment acknowledges that Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations not only serve as risk indicators but also foster enduring expansion and cultivate novel avenues of value by supporting entities that are actively addressing the current social challenges. Insights from Opimas and the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance unveil a staggering surge in ESG investments, exceeding $40 trillion in 2020 from a baseline of $23 trillion in 2016. Projections by Deutsche Bank underscore an imminent paradigm shift, suggesting that a substantial 95% of assets under management, equating to $130 trillion, will align with ESG principles by 20301.

2. Concurrently, governmental bodies, regulatory authorities, and central banks are realigning public expenditures and policy frameworks to facilitate the shift toward an all-encompassing, environmentally conscious circular economy. The configuration of investment opportunities is transforming, evolving beyond being a fad to manifest as a substantial and widespread movement1.

“Over the last 18 months, funds that focus on environmental-focused investments have outperformed almost all other forms of index, some people will call that a momentum investment. I would call that a sea change, I would call that a recognition that we have to move forward fast. Larry Fink, CEO, BlackRock 13 August 20211.

These factors have resulted in a substantial upswing in dedicated financing activities to offer investors a wider array of options to align their portfolios with sustainable and circular practices, leading to the emergence of different debt and equity instruments tailored to support circular economy initiatives.

Among these financial instruments are public equity funds (their number increasing from 2 in 2018 to 13 in 2021 including funds from the world’s largest investors BlackRock, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs), corporate and sovereign bonds, venture capital, private equity (tenfold increase in the number of private market funds from 2016 to H1 2020), and private debt. Financial institutions have also actively participated in driving circular economy initiatives through bank lending, project finance, and insurance solutions2.

One example of the financial sector’s commitment to sustainable and circular practice is the exceptional growth in assets under management (AUM) in public equity funds centered around the circular economy. Between December 2019 and the first half of 2021, AUM skyrocketed from $0.3 billion to an astounding figure exceeding $9.5 billion at the end of November 2021, demonstrating a 28-fold in less than 2 years2.

Additionally, between December 2019 and December 2021, the issuance of corporate and sovereign bonds centered around the circular economy witnessed an impressive 5-fold increase. Over the past three years, a minimum of 40 such bonds were issued, highlighting the growing interest and commitment towards financing circular economy initiatives2.

Last, but not least, index providers are diversifying their offerings to encompass the circular economy domain, unveiling a host of new specialized products. Here are a few examples:

— Solactive has taken the lead by introducing an index with a focus on the sharing economy.
— Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) has entered the scene with its index that highlights the circular economy and renewable energy.
— ECPI group has launched the Circular Economy Equity Leader Index, designed to capture companies excelling in various circular economy aspects3.

This remarkable financial mobilization highlights the confidence of stakeholders that the circular economy is not just an ethical choice but also an increasingly lucrative investment opportunity.

That confidence is also supported on the individual level. Naturally, many investors choose to invest in the circular economy because it is the right thing to do. However, it becomes obvious that increasingly, investors recognize the financial potential of such investments. Roughly one-third of investments in the circular economy in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America are recognising the increasing returns4.

The rising confidence from financial institutions and individuals is not without support. A recent analysis by Bocconi University of 200+ European publicly listed companies supports the idea that circularity is the new winning strategy for investors looking to de-risk their investments and deliver superior risk-adjusted returns2.

The circular economy as a strategy to de-risk debt

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that factors such as climate change, other climate-related crises, rising geopolitical tensions, and other societal challenges pose significant investment risks, and the financial sector is recognizing that. All actors in the financial system should work towards avoiding a climate-driven ‘Minsky moment’.

The recent analysis highlights that the more circular a company is the lower the risk of defaulting2. A 0.1 increase in Circularity Score (scoring developed by Bocconi University and Intesa Sanpaolo) is responsible for the reduction in the probability of default on debt by 8.63% (one-year timeline) and by 4.93% (five-year timeline)2.

The circular economy as a strategy for superior risk-adjusted returns

The same analysis concludes that the more circular a company is, the higher the risk-adjusted returns it generates on investment2

Public equity funds with circular economy as a sole or partial investment focus on average performed 5.0 percentage points better than their Morningstar category benchmarks in the first half of 20202

Potential drivers of these circular economy benefits include:

— a focus on design and business model innovation and diversification
— achieving greater resource decoupling
— anticipation of stricter regulation
— changing customer preferences
— resource scarcity

As the world grapples with pressing environmental and social challenges, the circular economy emerges not only as a solution but also as a lucrative investment opportunity. By embracing sustainable practices and innovative business models, investors can not only contribute to a more resilient and equitable future but also reap substantial financial rewards. In an era where the intersection of profitability and sustainability is increasingly recognized, the circular economy stands poised to redefine the landscape of finance for years to come.


1 Mark Carney, Unlocking the Value of the Circular Economy, https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/articles/unlocking-the-value-of-the-circular-economy, August 2021.

2 Bocconi University, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Intesa Sanpaolo (2021), The circular economy as a de-risking strategy and driver of superior risk-adjusted returns, http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications.

3 Mara Steinbrenner, Financing Circular Economy, https://neosfer.de/en/financing-circular-economy/, September 2022. 

4 Martin Placek, Circular economy investment motives and decisions worldwide in 2019, by
region, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1182841/circular-economy-investment-decision-region/, April 2022.

The Circular Economy has emerged as a pivotal economic model, offering not only sustainability but also significant financial opportunities. With projections indicating exponential growth, understanding its profitability is crucial for businesses and policymakers alike.

Current State and Forecast

The worldwide revenue of circular economy transactions was estimated to total roughly $339 billion in 20221. This is forecasted to more than double by 2026, reaching a $712 billion market opportunity. Keep in mind that this estimation only takes into account the categories of secondhand, rental, and refurbished goods, leaving aside a large pool of major circular business models, such as recycling. Including those in the equation would likely increase the value of the economy significantly, considering the projected value of the global waste recycling services market size of $88 billion, which in turn registers a 4.79% annual growth (CAGR) for the period 2020-20302.

In a forward-looking perspective, delving into the future reveals the potential of the Circular Economy to contribute an extra $4.5 trillion to global economic output by 2030, a figure that could surge to a remarkable $25 trillion by 20503. Additionally, the projections by The World Economic Forum highlight the transformative impact of recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing, suggesting that by 2025, these practices could unleash annual untapped resource savings of $1 trillion. Looking even further ahead, this value is predicted to double, reaching an impressive $2 trillion per year by 20504.

McKinsey’s Projections

According to McKinsey’s projections, European consumer goods companies can achieve circular value pools exceeding €500 billion in annual revenues by 2030 through portfolio transformation, green business expansion, green premiums, and circular-focused operations. This significant shift will be propelled by changing consumer preferences, especially among younger generations who are using their purchasing power to express their values. 

Zooming in on the added value per industry, McKinsey estimates that in FMCG, recycled and sustainably produced products are expected to see 15 to 25 percent annual growth (CAGR) until 2030, while recycling in fashion is expected to record 15 to 30 percent CAGR, generating €45 billion to €110 billion of annual value.

Part of the added value would be due to more efficient raw material usage. McKinsey reports that a circular economy would allow Europe, which is very resource-dependent, to grow resource productivity by up to 3% yearly. This transition is expected to generate a primary resource benefit of as much as €0.6 trillion annually by 2030 to the EU economy. Additionally, the forecast for non-resource and externality benefits is €1.2 trillion, bringing the annual total benefits to around €1.8 trillion.

This would translate into a GDP increase of as much as 7 percentage points relative to the current development scenario, with additional positive impacts on employment.

Drivers of Circular Economy

The reasons for the profitability of the Circular Economy are, among others, tax subsidies or preferential treatments from the government, a better competitive advantage, the reuse of waste into new products, and more efficient use of raw materials and energy consumption. Therefore, oftentimes, the benefits associated with circularity are greater than the involved costs5.

The profitability of the Circular Economy is multifaceted, encompassing tax incentives, competitive advantages, and resource efficiency. As benefits outweigh costs, embracing circularity presents not only sustainability but also financial gains for stakeholders.


1 P. Smith, Worldwide circular economy revenue 2022-2026, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1337519/circular-economy-market-revenue/, November 2023.
2 Bruna Alves, Global waste recycling services market size 2022-2032, https://www.statista.com/statistics/239662/size-of-the-global-recycling-market/, January 2023.
3 P. Lacy, J. Rutqvist, Waste to wealth: The circular economy advantage, 2016.
4 Paul Ekins and Nick Hughes, Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications, https://www.resourcepanel.org/sites/default/files/documents/document/media/resource_efficiency_report_march_2017_web_res.pdf, March 2017.
5 Rubén Michael Rodríguez-González, Does circular economy affect financial performance? The mediating role of sustainable supply chain management in the automotive industry, March 2022.

©Filip Ysenbaert

De Tijd and its French-speaking counterpart L’Echo have proudly unveiled their esteemed selection of 30 Belgian companies leading the charge in combating climate change. Under the banner of “Changemakers,” this initiative celebrates organizations showcasing exemplary commitment and innovation in environmental stewardship. Among these distinguished nominees stands Resortecs, alongside other strong innovators like Purfi, Renewi, and Protealis.

The Changemakers initiative aims to spotlight companies that excel in leveraging technology, products, services, or business models to tackle climate change and protect the environment. Acknowledging the pressing need for collective action, De Tijd and L’Echo underscore the pivotal role of businesses in addressing this global challenge.

The nominated companies represent diverse sectors, including energy, software, construction, food, textiles, waste management, and recycling. 

“Climate change stands as one of the most critical economic and societal challenges of our era,” states Isabel Albers, Editor-in-Chief of De Tijd and L’Echo. “We firmly believe that the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial drive of our companies are essential in tackling these challenges.”

Under the guidance of environmental economics professor Steven Van Passel from the University of Antwerp, a professional jury will select two standout companies – one startup and one established enterprise – as the ultimate Changemakers. Additionally, De Tijd and L’Echo subscribers will have the opportunity to cast their votes for their preferred Changemaker.

The distinguished jury panel includes industry luminaries and experts such as Julie Lietaer (European Spinning Group), Piet Colruyt (Impact House), Ignace Schops (Bond Beter Leefmilieu), Bertrand Piccard (Solar Impulse), Stéphanie Fellen (Smart2circle), François Gemenne (University of Liège), and Julien Pestiaux (Climact).

Voting for the Changemaker awards is now open to subscribers, with the winners set to be announced on March 12.

For more information about the Changemakers initiative and to cast your vote, visit Changemakers.be and tijd.be.

With the tightening European legislation on waste management and investment in the circular transition gaining traction, it becomes clear that circularity is no longer a buzzword, it’s a necessity for those who want to stay competitive. For the ones who don’t recognize the ongoing shift, this should serve as a wake-up call: Circularity is the new standard of doing business and first-movers are already reaping the benefits. 

For the past years, the circular economy has already instigated transformative shifts across industries. In the fashion sector, for example, clothing resale is projected to surpass fast fashion by 2029, while the realm of plastics and consumer packaged goods is witnessing the metamorphosis of profit pools throughout the value chain, driven by mounting regulation, public expectations, and innovative recycling technologies1.

Governments are propelling this transformation, exemplified by the circular economy’s integral role in the European Green Deal, alongside circular economy roadmaps and regulatory measures established in nations like China, Chile, and France. As a result of this and other driving factors of circularity, the use of circular materials in the EU increased by roughly 41% between 2004 and 2021, accounting for 11.7% of total material use in 20212.

The Concept of a Circular Economy

According to McKinsey, approximately 63% of potential emissions reduction in the fashion industry is estimated to come from the use of cleaner energy sources3

All of the other 37% of emissions reduction, however, necessitates innovative strategies: this is where circularity comes in. Processes encompassing prolonged product life cycles, shifts in consumer behaviors, adoption of circular business models, curbed overproduction, increased integration of recycled materials, and other circular economy principles could contribute immensely—up to 654 million metric tons of emissions reduction in the fashion industry by 2030, effectively bridging the emissions reduction gap. This approach can be similarly applied across various consumer goods industries3.

Within a circular economy framework, four pivotal loops support the extension of product life cycles: repair, resale/rental, refurbishment, and recycling.

Source: McKinsey & Company

Circularity is the Future Standard of Doing Business

It is clear that the circular economy is driving transformative changes across entire industries, opening up fresh prospects while also presenting risks for those who fail to keep pace. Embracing circular practices is becoming essential for businesses to thrive in this dynamic landscape.

Already in 2019, roughly 28% of professionals in supply chain functions disclosed that they have incorporated circular design processes in their company innovation strategy. And around 39% stated that they plan on implementing circularity methods within the next 2 years4.

Source: Statista

What Drives the Shift to Circularity?

Shifting consumer demand, regulation, technological progress, infrastructure, supply-side activity, and the macroeconomic environment are the main drivers of demand for circular consumer goods.

Shifting Consumer Demand

Research by McKinsey reveals that nearly 40% of European consumers consider sustainability to be of “high importance”. This heightened concern for sustainability is driving an increased demand for recycled, refurbished, and reused products. A recent survey conducted in 2021 indicates that approximately half of consumers in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom have already bought pre-owned items. As environmentally-conscious Generation Z individuals age, this trend is expected to gain further momentum3.


Governments worldwide are progressively acknowledging the circular economy’s capacity to enhance competitiveness, foster robust supply chains, and achieve societal and environmental goals. Notably, the circular economy constitutes a fundamental element of the European Green Deal and features among the EU Taxonomy’s six environmental objectives. Several countries, including China, Chile, and France, have taken significant strides by implementing circular economy roadmaps and enacting legislation to promote sustainable practices. This growing recognition highlights the critical role of the circular economy in shaping future policies and fostering global sustainability5.

Other notable government initiatives are the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) committing billions of euros to support initiatives that drive the journey towards achieving net-zero targets within the next decade. A central element of the CEAP involves a robust eco-design strategy, which emphasizes aspects like product longevity, reusability, upgrade potential, and advocating for a “right to repair.” Additionally, the plan emphasizes the integration of recycled materials, remanufacturing practices, and the promotion of high-quality recycling methods.

In the meantime, multiple European countries have begun the process of enacting extended producer responsibility measures. These initiatives offer substantial financial incentives to companies aiming to make the shift towards circular business models.

Technological Progress

Innovation progress in areas such as chemical recycling, digital product passports, and scalable disassembly technologies is allowing for the more and more accessible industrial-scale transition to circularity3

The growing demand for solutions that facilitate product reselling, refurbishment, and recycling especially when it comes to developing scalable material collection and take-back programs, reverse logistics, as well as automated systems for material sorting, will drive further innovations in these areas, getting the industry a step closer to full circularity3.


1 thredUP (GlobalData Market Sizing), ThredUP 2020 Resale Report,2020.
2 Bruna Alves, Circular material use rate in the European Union 2004-2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1316448/circular-material-use-rate-in-european-union/, June 2023.
3 Sebastian Gatzer, Stefan Helmcke, and Daniel Roos, Playing offense on circularity can net European consumer goods companies €500 billion, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/playing-offense-on-circularity-can-net-european-consumer-goods-companies-500-billion-euros, June 2022.
4 Martin Placek, Supply chain approaches to the circular economy worldwide 2019, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1182874/circular-economy-supply-chain-approach/, April 2022.
5 Bocconi University, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Intesa Sanpaolo (2021), The circular economy as a de-risking strategy and driver of superior risk-adjusted returns, http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications.

HNST Studio, the Antwerp-based label dedicated to creating jeans that embody transparency and circularity, partners with Belgian eco-design innovator Resortecs to launch new products made to be unmade—easy to disassemble for repair and recycling at the end of life.

The partnership debuts with the newly introduced Geri (for women) and Simon (for men) pants: crafted with up to 70% recycled cotton, these are HNST’s first jeans to feature an elastic waistband and drawstrings for unparalleled day-to-day comfort and flexibility. 

Completely eco-designed for recycling, the jeans’ waistbands are stitched using Resortecs’ Smart Stitch™, an award-winning thread engineered to disappear under heat. This thread change at the design phase ensures that the jeans can be disassembled without manual intervention at the end of their lifecycle—allowing for their recyclable fabric to be automatically sorted out of the non-recyclable materials added to the waistband for more comfort. 

“Our other jeans didn’t have elastic waistbands because they would be critical blockers for recycling. Collaborating with Resortecs allowed us to explore new possibilities to give our customers more comfort without compromising our non-negotiable commitment to circularity” stated Eva Engelen, Sustainability and Product Manager at HNST.

“We are two Belgian innovators trying to rewrite the future of fashion in a circular way,” said Cédric Vanhoeck, CEO at Resortecs. “This partnership with HNST showcases how our technology can unlock new possibilities for fashion players that want to design for recycling while keeping the creativity, functionality, and quality of their products”, he added.

The Simon and Geri pants are just the first drop of the HNST x Resortecs partnership. Both companies are committed to further integrating Resortecs’ design-for-disassembly solutions into other HNST designs, solidifying their shared vision of establishing circularity as the standard in the fashion industry. Consumers everywhere can now shop the collection at letsbehonest.eu and at select independent retailers in Europe, North America, and Japan.

Resortecs policy asks Waste Framework Directive revision

1. Swift introduction of mandatory and harmonised Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for textile products across the EU to introduce their separate collection. 

2. Extended Producer Responsibility fees should be eco-modulated to incentivise producers to ecodesign their products. Design for disassembly must be included as a criterion.

3.  Include a 2030 target for textiles-textiles recycling target as well as a fibre-to-fibre sub-target (for when the former is no longer an option to avoid premature downcycling). These targets should increase over time.

4. To deliver the waste hierarchy principles in practice, recognition and support of so-called pre-recycling techniques that are preconditions to effective circularity operations, such as sorting and disassembly, should be developed and integrated into the modernised Waste Framework Directive. 


Action to make circular economy the norm is urgent. The Circularity Gap Report 2023 demonstrates that the world’s circularity has declined from 9.1% to 7.2% over the past five years, whilst total material extraction has almost doubled since 2000, reaching 100 billion tonnes today. As recognised by the EU Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, the EU Industrial Strategy, and the Textiles Ecosystem Transition Pathway, the textiles sector is key to the green transition as it is the fourth most resource intense industry, it accounts for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and less than 1% of all textiles waste collected enters into a circular loop.

Resortecs supports the European Commission’s 2030 vision for a competitive, resilient, and innovative textiles sector laid out in the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, particularly that all textile products placed on the EU market are eco-designed, sustainable and with producers taking responsibility for their products along the value chain with sufficient capacities for recycling and ending incineration and landfilling.

To achieve this ambitious vision, Europe must unlock industrial-scale circularity for textiles. Design for disassembly is key to unleash the full potential of textile-to-textile reuse, repair, and recycling. Even with an ideal circularity infrastructure, most textile products on the market would remain too complex or expensive to repair or recycle once they become waste because they are not designed for disassembly and, therefore, circularity. Once collected, most cannot be processed without a pre-recycling step such as disassembly. This is a key end-of-life-problem for the industry. For example, over 78% of all textile products are multi-material and the presence of zippers and trims like elastic bands hinder recycling. This results in material loss as most textile waste goes to incineration or landfill, and most new textiles products manufactured from scratch. 

Disassembly is still a manual and costly process. To address this, Resortecs’ active disassembly innovations – a range of heat-dissolvable threads (‘Smart Stitch™’) and thermal disassembly system (‘Smart Disassembly™’) – helps to replace textiles designed for waste with textiles eco-designed for disassembly, thereby enabling material recovery for reuse, repair, upcycling, and high-quality recycling as well as waste prevention. Active Disassembly represents the pinnacle of Design for Disassembly methodologies (other pre-recycling available today include mechanical disassembly and manual disassembly). By incorporating releasable fasteners in a product’s design and assembly – such as Resortecs’ SmartStitch™ – active disassembly delivers an automatic, non-destructive, and economic industrial disassembly process that segregates components and materials of a product at its end-of-life. 

A major benefit of Resortecs is that it acts as a drop-in solution to the textiles value chain as no significant infrastructure or manufacturing changes are needed in the value-chain for implementation of this technology. It also delivers circularity without compromising the creativity, design, and quality of clothing. 

Click here or on the image below to download the full position paper.

Resortecs’ feedback on the call for evidence on Textiles Labelling Regulation revision

Resortecs welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to revise the Textiles Labelling Regulation. In addition to delivering on the targets set in the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, this revision is an opportunity to:

(1) Integrate information and labelling requirements on disassembly, alongside those that will be set under the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) delegated act on textiles and for the EU digital product passport (DPP).

(2) Boost the sector’s circularity by building a standardised information infrastructure that encompasses cradle-to-cradle, expanding from today’s cradle-to-gate/grave information infrastructure.

Today, the textiles industry heavily relies on a linear model and does not design products for circularity. Only 1% of all garments are effectively recycled. A main barrier is the complexity of disassembling garments. To recycle a garment, it first needs to be disassembled – currently this is still a manual, labour-intensive, and costly process. This means that without efficient disassembly at scale, there will never be a truly circular textiles ecosystem.

Resortecs’s active disassembly innovation provides the solution to make recycling easy. Resortecs’ system of heat-dissolvable threads and thermal disassembly is five times faster than traditional disassembly and makes it possible to recycle up to 90% of a textile product’s fabric content. It is also a drop-in solution to existing industrial processes.

To make smart disassembly the norm, Resortecs urges the European Commission to:

1. Set information and labelling requirements covering disassembly, ensuring consistency with the ESPR and the DPP. 

2. Build a standardised information infrastructure that expands from today’s cradle-to-gate/grave to cradle-to-cradle, including information on disassembly. Making this information available is essential to enable value-retention operations such as disassembly and high-quality recycling and to recognise product materials and components that enable ecodesign, such as Resortecs innovative threads for textiles. An ecodesigned product will only fulfil its circularity potential if the information needed – including crucial information on how it can be efficiently disassembled – is readily available and accessible to the right actor. Such a standardised information infrastructure is not available today, meaning that consumers, sorters, recyclers, and manufacturers lack crucial information throughout, from making informative purchasing decisions to processing a garment once it reaches its end of life. A garment’s physical label should contain simple, harmonised, and comparable visual symbols reflecting its key circularity characteristics. A garment’s readiness for disassembly should be included to guarantee adequate sorting, processing, and waste prevention, as well as a garment’s recycled and recyclable content. This information should also appear in a textiles product’s DPP and provide the detailed information substantiating the physical label.

3. An ambitious Textiles Labelling Regulation that goes beyond its current strict focus on fiber identification is crucial to spur circular innovation and foster the development of novel fibers. It should grant recognition to emerging innovative novel fibers and set a regulatory framework that allows them to scale.

On 7 September 2023, Creamoda, EURATEX, Fedustria, and Resortecs welcomed 150 changemakers from 20 countries in Brussels to discuss the future of the fashion and textile industries.

Resortecs unveiled its latest report, “From Waste to Profit”– A Comparative Cost Analysis of Textile Disassembly Processes, available for download here, and highlighted the financial and operational benefits of Active Disassembly compared to the status quo disassembly methods – manual and mechanical.

Dirk Vantyghem from Euratex gave an insightful update on the EU Textile Strategy launched last year with the aim to create a greener, more competitive textile sector. Textile products placed on the EU market need to be therefore more durable, repairable, recyclable, and to a great extent made of recycled fibers.

Textile recycling was highlighted as one of the solutions to drive change at scale and grow with environmental compliance, but getting there without losing the essential industrial competitiveness is of key importance for the sector.

The panel discussions with Fedustria and industry leaders Concordia Textiles, Sioen, and BekaertDeslee – moderated by Christine Goulay from Sustainabelle, resulted in a number of interesting insights and testimonials on the efficiency and applicability of Active Disassembly for the textile sector.

Carl Baekelandt, Demet Tunc, Ivan Deceuninck, and Karla Basselier shared their expertise as circularity pioneers. Here are three takeaways from the insightful discussions:

1. There are now 16 legal changes focusing on the sustainability and circularity of fashion and textile companies rolling out across the EU — and more will follow.

2. 78% of all textile products require disassembly before textile-to-textile recycling.

3. Europe is becoming increasingly dependent on recycling textile waste due to 1) the shortage of raw materials and 2) the prohibition of recycled R-PET from the packaging industry for use in other sectors.

In addition, all guests also had the chance to explore Circularium and witness a live demo of Smart Stitch™ & Smart Disassembly™.

The need of collaboration to unlock industrial-scale recycling in Europe was eminent at the networking dinner & drinks at the end of the event. The connections made are testament to the commitment of all stakeholders along the textile value chain to make circularity a reality.

Have you already downloaded your free copy of the report ‘From Waste to Profit’ — A Comparative Cost Analysis of Disassembly Processes? Download it here.

What’s inside?

• The best-performing disassembly method for achieving maximum financial and operational efficiency.

• How different disassembly methods compare across four textile product categories: multilayer outdoor jacketscotton trousersaramid-based workwear, and mattress covers.

• How fashion and textile brands can transform product recycling into a source of ROI rather than costs at the end of a product’s lifecycle. 

• What policymakers and brands should do to keep the European textile and fashion industries competitive.

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Make a profit by collecting as little as 9% of your initial production for disassembly & recycling.

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Earn a net profit of up to €29.72 per textile product.  

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Reduce your products’ carbon footprint by up to 50% by using Resortecs combined with recycling.

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Get rid of trims blocking textile recycling in a process 100% automatic, without any manual intervention.

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Benefit from a patented process that is 5x faster than manual disassembly.

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Recover up to 90% of a textile product for recycling (vs. an average of 50% manual or mechanical disassembly). 

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