A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Innovative recycling or extended use? Comparing the global warming potential of different ownership and end-of-life scenarios for textiles

Open Access publication

Publication Details
Authors: Levänen Jarkko, Uusitalo Ville, Härri Anna, Kareinen Elisa, Linnanen Lassi
Publisher: IOP Publishing: Open Access Journals / IOP Publishing
Publication year: 2021
Language: English
Related journal or series: Environmental Research Letters
ISSN: 1748-9326
eISSN: 1748-9326
JUFO level of this publication: 3
Open Access: Open Access publication


The implementation of circular economy (CE) thinking to reduce
environmental impacts and resource use has led to the development of
innovative recycling technologies and business models. The implications
of these technologies and models, however, remain largely unclear. In
many CE strategies, there is a high risk of rebound, meaning a situation
in which activities aimed at environmental benefits are not realized
because of external reasons. A similar risk relates to limited
understanding about the behavioral changes required by extensive
implementation of circular practices. Using life cycle assessment, we
compare the global warming potential (GWP) of five ownership and
end-of-life scenarios for creating and using a pair of jeans. The
scenarios are as follows: (a) BASE, i.e. basic use with waste disposal;
(b) REDUCE, i.e. extended use; (c) REUSE, i.e. re-selling; (d) RECYCLE,
i.e. industrial processing into new raw materials; and (e) SHARE, i.e. a
rental service. Our results show that the lowest global warming impacts
are achieved in the REDUCE scenario, and the second lowest are achieved
in the REUSE scenario. The RECYCLE scenario leads to relatively high
overall emissions because the replaced emissions from cotton production
are relatively low. The use of rental services is likely to increase
customers' mobility, and if that happens in a large scale, then the
SHARE scenario has the highest GWP. It was found that many new CE
innovations come with a high rebound risk, and existing practices carry
similar, yet smaller risks.

Last updated on 2021-31-05 at 14:52