Jäger-Roschko, Moritz, Els Herremans, Moritz Petersen, Luk Umans and Gwen Dons (2021)

Challenges and Best Practices in Recycling Supply Chains: A Qualitative Analysis of Five Major Waste Streams. Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains at Kühne Logistics University: Endbericht Forschungsprojekt


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Abstract: Recycling activities are complex and involve many actors. Recycling supply chains are under increasing pressure due to higher volumes of waste and rising requirements regarding the treatment and quality of the secondary raw materials. We aim to identify challenges and best practices in recycling supply chains. The analysis comprises the recycling supply chains of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), plastics packaging, construction and demolition, glass, and paper waste. 36 interviews with actors from different stages of the recycling process are analysed using qualitative content analysis. The results show that the main challenges are related to impurities in the waste streams resulting, among other reasons, from wrong disposal, treatment with unsuitable equipment, or inadequate product design. Furthermore, we highlight that a joint effort of the different actors in the supply chain is necessary to overcome the current challenges and improve the quantity and quality of secondary raw materials.

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