Recycling clothes is a complicated business. Making fabrics new again isn’t the only challenge – the threads, zippers and buttons that hold them together also need dealing with. Resortecs are making disassembly easy, so that more clothes can be recycled at lower cost and in less time.
Typically, a garment sent for recycling needs to be manually taken apart with scissors, so that its recyclable fabric can be isolated. Resortecs have come up with clever alternatives that transform the process. Their dissolvable stitching thread simply disappears at high temperatures (160-200℃), separating the fabric from any labels, zippers and buttons. And their heat-dismountable rivets mean that jeans and other garments can easily return to their component parts.
Clothes that use Resortecs parts can be worn, washed and ironed as normal – the difference is only when a piece of clothing is sent for repair or recycling. Using Resortecs’ large scale disassembly oven, clothes can be heated to the necessary temperature and processed efficiently.
The Resortecs team are ambitious about what their technology could achieve. Currently just 1% of clothing is recycled into new garments – Resortecs want to increase this to 30%.
“We offer a comprehensive solution,” says Resortecs co-founder Cédric Vanhoeck, “that empowers other actors in the fashion industry, both multinational brands as well as local upcycling initiatives, to make garments following the principles of circular economy. All this by a simple switch of a stitching thread bobbin.”
Resortecs are already making strides, with partners including sustainable fashion giants the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, and support from the H&M Foundation and Fashion For Good.
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Cédric Vanhoeck and Vanessa Counaert, co-founders
Resortecs are finalists in 2020’s European Social Innovation Competition, which is organised by the European Commission, with the support of a consortium of organisations. The consortium is led by Nesta Challenges and includes Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, the European Network of Living Labs, and Scholz & Friends. ‘Reimagine Fashion: Changing behaviours for sustainable fashion’ calls on applicants to find new, creative ways to reduce the overall environmental footprint and improve the societal impact of the fashion market, so that we can bring the joy back into fashion, without the harm.