I:CO Closes Loops

At I:CO, we take great care to close the loop. The take-back system offers a resource-efficient and economical solution and is as simple as it is effective. Fashion houses and retailers collect pre-loved clothing and shoes from their customers in their stores or online. I:CO then helps organise the logistics, sorting and transfer of the items to the various recycling loops.

Our in-store take-back service at a glance:

Point of Sale
Consumers bring in their used clothing or shoes to the participating stores and are given a reward incentive. Collection can be carried out using collection bins individually designed according to the partner’s wishes.


The procedure regarding collection and transport to the nearest sorting and recycling facility is individually tailored to the needs and processes of the retail partner – in more than 60 countries. Precise, high-quality sorting and evaluation according to the international waste hierarchy of reuse before recycling is the hallmark of our selected, certified sorting facilities. Every item of clothing and pair of shoes is sorted by hand and categorised based on its next best possible use.

Preparation for Recycling

Material identification and separation is a vital part of the recycling process. In order to increase efficiency, I:CO supports technical innovation, e.g. automatic identification methods.


From an ecological viewpoint, it is best to reuse clothing and shoes. Wearable items are therefore kept and sold as second-hand goods.

Closed Loop Recycling

Some unwearable items remain in a closed loop within the textile industry and can be used for production of new clothes or shoes. I:CO meets the technical and material-specific challenges of this core competency through collaboration with various partners on transformational projects.

Textile Industry

Clothing: The recovered fibres are spun into yarn and can be integrated into the supply chains of I:CO’s partners. I:CO currently organises this for innovative denim projects.

Shoes: The shoe recycling plant enables for the first time to close production cycles. New shoe soles can for example be created from the rubber granules.

Open Loop Recycling – Various Industries

Clothing: After separating the material, I:CO organises the industrial recycling of Post Consumer Waste (PCW). The recycled fibres are reused for products in various industries. At present, the majority of fibres are made into insulation material for the automotive and construction industries. I:CO conducts “Circularity Projects” with partners to explore other recycling options.

Shoes: The worlds first shoe recycling plant from SOEX in Wolfen, Germany (I:CO is a subsidiary of SOEX) makes it possible to mechanically disassemble all shoe types into their components, and derive usable secondary raw materials from them. The materials received by the recycling can be used to manufacture new products for other industries. Possible application areas in collaboration with external companies are under currently investigation.

I:CO Blue is our specialized solution for the environmentally conscious, confidential handling of retailer and manufacturer returns, damages and excess goods.

Click below to learn more.

I:CO Blue

To help build more sustainable cities and extend I:CO’s message and services, we created a new offering called the I:CO City approach.



I:CO City