Exploration of blockchain technology in the Swedish textile recycling industry : Opportunities and challenges for traceability
Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the potential of technologies for traceability within the Swedish textile recycling industry. This study further aims to investigate the status of information collection and management in the textile recycling industry and the factors which are affecting the implementation of different traceability technologies, such as blockchain technology. Design/ Methodology/ Approach: This study followed a qualitative exploratory approach as there is little prior knowledge regarding usage of traceability technologies, such as blockchain technology in the Swedish textile recycling industry. Primary data was collected by semi-structured interviews, and it was analysed through thematic analysis. Purposive sampling was used to collect relevant data. The sample included experts from the academia and industry, who have knowledge in the field of textile recycling and traceability technologies. Findings: The findings suggest that there is no available information collection and management systems that enable efficient recycling processes. Moreover, there is a lack of infrastructure for collecting and sorting the textile waste, cost and technological challenges hampering the potential of efficient textile recycling and the possibility to create an efficient circular supply chain in Sweden. There are four factors which affect the opportunities and challenges for implementation of traceability technologies, such as blockchain technology, these are: management and decision making, integration and collaboration, rules and regulations and value creation through blockchain in the textile recycling industry. Implications: This study may contribute to reshaping the traditional view on where traceability technologies can be implemented to create efforts to enhance the circular economy principles, as suggested by literature from the previous stages in a supply chain. This study suggests that blockchain technology may enhance information sharing in a circular supply chain within the textile recycling industry. It further shows that the textile recyclers have the potential to implement blockchain technology from their stage to minimise the information gaps which are currently existing. Originality/ Value: The academic literature lacks practical cases and exploration regarding the usage of traceability technologies such as blockchain technology at the textile recycling stage and this study tries to explore if it would be beneficial for the textile recycling industry in Sweden.
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