Fashion Updates | Sustainability

SOEX and DBL Böge give workwear a second life

Published: May 24, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Ahrensburg, May 2023. SOEX signs a contract with DBL Böge, a provider of rental textiles, to recycle workwear in an ecological way. Where to put discarded workwear? This question arises in all DBL plants. Together with the SOEX Group, DBL Böge has now found a sustainable answer: The discarded workwear is sorted by the SOEX Group and put back into circulation, thus saving it from being burned. The discarded clothing is grouped by colour and material using a pioneering infrared sorting station at the SOEX plant in Wolfen and can then be reused as material in yarn production.

The cooperation between SOEX and DBL thus follows the overriding principle of the circular economy to which the SOEX Group is committed: Valuable materials should be added back to the textile cycle in order to protect resources and the environment. That part of the workwear that is no longer suitable for yarn production is recycled to make torn fibres and then reused as insulation material in the automotive and construction industries. What started as a pilot project a few months ago has now been expanded into a permanent cooperation. The contracts were signed in February 2023.

Workwear is a top-selling product group in the textile industry in Germany. Several professional groups depend on being equipped with special workwear. However, a large proportion of discarded or worn textiles are still destroyed. In cooperation with DBL, the SOEX Group wants to make an important contribution to working against this waste and establishing a practice that saves resources. Work clothing not only serves as a uniform for the assignment of a certain profession, but often also must fulfil high protection requirements and serve a special function. Valuable resources in particular are used for this purpose, which are now being saved thanks to the partnership between DBL Böge and the SOEX Group.

Old and discarded workwear from DBL Böge is collected by the SOEX Group, sorted in the SOEX factories and then reintroduced into the textile cycle as raw material for yarn production. In this way, 25 tonnes of clothing are to be recycled sustainably every year. According to Bärbel Fink, Managing Director of Böge Textil-Service GmbH & Co. KG, most of the sorted trousers, shirts and jackets have been destroyed so far. Safety aspects are said to have played a major role in this. „If individualised work clothes with company emblems, name badges or patch marks are being misused, unauthorised persons could gain access to the company,“ says Bärbel Fink. Now, together with the SOEX Group, the company has found a secure but ecological solution to the problem in terms of data protection.

In future, Bärbel Fink will present the project to the other DBL plants. The managing director assumes that some of them will join in and, together with the SOEX Group, give further discarded and used workwear a second life. Thus, the SOEX Group was able to win both DBL Wulff in Kiel and DBL Richter in Gochsheim for cooperation. Further DBL plants are to follow.

About DBL
As a subsidiary of Wulff Textil-Service GmbH, Kiel, DBL-Böge has many years of experience in the field of textile leasing, which includes supplying DBL customers with modern rental workwear, rental floor mats, rental linen and protective clothing. Continuity and sustainable management form the foundations of the business policy of Böge Textil-Service GmbH & Co. KG.

About SOEX Group
The SOEX Group is a worldwide specialist service provider in the collection, sorting, reuse and recycling of used textiles and footwear. The collected items are sorted and graded in certified operations, following the international waste hierarchy: reuse is preferred over recycling. Its research with partners for new solutions makes SOEX unique in the industry. The goal of SOEX is to maximize recycling following its zero waste philosophy.

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