Smart Garment Sorting for Recycling

The Smart Garment Sorting System allows efficient management of post-consumer textile waste in the garment recycling industry by integrating artificial intelligence, and in conjunction with image analysis techniques, that mainly focuses on hyperspectral spectroscopy. The system consists of a classification module, a material classification module, and a fabric construction classification module. The goal of the system is to cut down garment wastage by achieving a reliable method for sorting textile waste stream and to reduce operation cost for garment recycling companies.


Garment sorting system can be installed for industrial use in textile recycling stations. Equipped with our AI machineries and its proprietary AI algorithms, the system analyses and identifies garment types, materials, and fabric structure automatically to provide data for operators to make decision over recycling, for instance, if the garment is suitable for recycling or what kind of recycling approach to be adopted. 

Process of Post-consumer Garments Sorting

Post-consumer garments are collected, fed into the system, and validated through visual technology that can automatically classify garment types, garment composition and garment structure with high accuracy and speed by analysing the visible and hyperspectral spectrum. Parameters are set for matching spectral patterns for further textile upcycling process.

Classification modules are interlinked with each other via a central system and hereby achieving complete traceability. Result generated in downstream modules are cross-checked with the upstream modules to ensure consistency. The garment delivery process is aided with automated devices that can reduce manual control. The whole garment sorting system is flexible; and can be customised to suit operators’ need, for instance, the order of the working steps or the database for garment recognition.

Industry Benefit

As more fashion brands are being aware of using recycled materials, the smart garment sorting system can fill the technological gap that encourages post-consumer garments recycling. It can help fashion brand reduce the demand of virgin fibres and becoming more sustainable, while reducing disposal of post-consumer garments to the landfill. 

Technological Breakthrough

Despite of the wide application of NIR in waste sorting, its use for post-consumer garment sorting is limited. An estimated 92 million tonnes of textile wastes are created annually but the rate of recycling old textile into new clothes remains low. Sorting process of textile wastes is essential as it makes recycling more efficient and reducing labour requirements.

The smart garment sorting system further facilitates categorisation with the support of the well-trained AI algorithm and proprietary garment database that allows it to recognise a variety of garments. 

48th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (2023) - Gold Medal
2023 Just Style Excellence Awards - Category Award Winner - Innovation (Textile Recycling)
Project Name (ITF)
Smart Garment Sorting for Recycling
Project Number (ITF)