5 logistical challenges for the circular economy

For the recycling of fibrous waste, not only the technical challenges of separating fibre and matrix need to be overcome. Before the actual recycling of the fibres can even begin, logistical tasks must be solved first. So what do we need to do before we can supply the market with recycled fibres?

Essentially, 5 steps can be identified in disposal logistics:

The first step “collection” involves bringing together fibrous wastes from different sources. During the collection of waste, the influencing factors such as the quantities and their fluctuations or the regional distribution of the waste must be taken into account. “Sorting” must be taken into account, especially in the case of fibrous products, since they are always present as composite materials during their use. Depending on the design of the pre-breakdown and separation of the waste (centralised or decentralised), “handling” and “storage” may occur in addition to “transport”. Once these steps have taken place, old components and production waste are finally processed for recycling or treated for proper disposal. In terms of the circular economy, the goal is to keep materials in the economic cycle as high quality as possible as reusable semi-finished products or raw materials [1].

In order to be able to manage the above-mentioned processes efficiently (cost- and time-optimised), systematic approaches must be created rather than individual solutions. Economic and ecological factors must be taken into account in all process steps in order to find the best options for return logistics [2].

As of 2021-01-27

List of references
[1] Hesse, K., & Clausen, U. (2019). Entsorgung und Kreislaufwirtschaft: Beitrag für das Handbuch der Logistik. In Furmans K. & Kilger C. (Eds.), Betrieb von Logistiksystemen, 239-303.
[2] Ripanti, E. F., & Tjahjono, B. (2019). Unveiling the potentials of circular economy values in logistics and supply chain management. IJLM, 30(3), 723-742. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-04-2018-0109

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