Investigating postponement and speculation approaches to the end-of-life textile supply chain

Ville Hinkka*, Anna Aminoff, Rosa Palmgren, Pirjo Heikkilä, Ali Herlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


An upcoming directive requires the recycling of end-of-life (EoL) textiles. In this paper we show how this recycling could be arranged in such a way that the value of the recycled material exceeds the costs of recycling. We approach this via an embedded case study by examining the end-of-life (EoL) textile recycling supply chain in Finland. The study builds a cost model based on empirical and secondary data to estimate and compare the costs of different alternatives for the EoL textile supply chain. Different alternatives are designed by using postponement-speculation concepts. The four identified EoL textile supply chain alternatives are: postponed centralized sorting with manual, semi-automated or automated sorting, and speculative local sorting. The results suggest that postponed centralized sorting is the most efficient, as it enables investments in sorting automation, but it requires local pre-sorting to avoid contamination. At least in the EoL textile supply chain, the logic of using postponement-speculation strategies is the inverse of that in forward supply chains. Therefore, when in forward supply chains look possibilities for postponement, speculation strategies are relevant in EoL supply chains. Additionally, the proposed recycling system concentrates on material recovery as currently majority of EoL textile end up as disposal or they are exported for developing countries for reuse even if the items are no longer reusable.
Original languageEnglish
Article number138431
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 29.08.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • circular economy
  • recycling
  • postponement
  • reverse logistics
  • textile industry

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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