Project developers: Product development / Design
Partners : Suppliers / Quality

Reducing product sorting disruptors

The product categories concerned

Context and description

After collection and sorting, end-of-life clothing, textile products and footwear undergo a recycling preparation stage.

This constitutes the dismantling phase which consists in separating the different parts of the item and eliminating the "hard points" (external sorting disruptors, in other words, what can be separated from the fabric, for example zips, buttons, eyelets…).

In effect, without this dismantling phase, the hard points would most likely damage garnetting machines or generate sparks (likely to provoke a fire) and dust (reducing the quality of recyclable material).

Owing to this, clothing is often dismantled manually even if R&D projects are in progress in order to develop semi-automatic dismantling.

Manual dismantling therefore results in higher labour costs.
The eco-design of products, which consists in reducing the number of hard points, can, in this context, enable savings to be made.



Complexity of implementation


Estimated economic gain


Human means

6 months
1 season

Implementation timeframes

Try it! : Follow the sheet step by step and have a go!
Step of
  • Make the designer aware as regards hard points: aesthetic criteria, cost and impacts on recycling clothing (See Tool 1).

    Choose the date of my alert to complete this stage

  • Draw up a detailed product inventory (labels, zips, pockets, hoods, buttons...) based on the product sketch.

    Choose the date of my alert to complete this stage

  • Using a table, ask in-depth questions about the function of every element: aesthetic, practical...(See Tool  2).

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  • Answer the following question for every element: is it essential?

    If the element is not essential, can it be removed ?

    If the element is essential, what replacement solutions meet the same function (resorbable thread, plastic buttons…) and are easier to recycle?

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  • When they can't be removed, prefer hard points in the same material as the product.

    Example for a shirt made from PET, prefer buttons made from PET.

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  • Find out about hard point alternatives that suppliers may propose.

    If needs be, identify new suppliers.

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  • Consult the quality department to find out what points to watch out for with respect to the replacement elements identified.

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  • Regroup hard points in the same place on the product in order to facilitate dismantling.

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  • Based on the recommendations in the previous stages, for every product, identify the number of elements which continue to act as a brake on recycling and those which no longer do.

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  • Integrate the hard point replacements in the product sheets in order to capitalise on information.

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Key indicators

- Number of hard points which put a brake on recycling.

- Number of hard points removed or replaced.

Watch point

If your company has no "design" service and works according to "picking", try to make your supplier aware of the hard points problem when choosing products.

What did you think of the sheet?

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What is Eco design?

Eco design is a platform whose purpose is to provide information and assist textile and footwear brands to rise to the eco-design challenge. This platform is a Refashion initiative (formerly Eco TLC), a public authority-approved eco-organisation for the CHF industry (Clothing, Household linen and Footwear).

Our vision: a 100% circular textile and footwear industry.

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