Disposal with the special touch

Reverse logistics has several special features. The collection of residual matter can be carried out in separated or mixed form, and the transport can be provided either by the producer or a service provider. The selection that is made will have an effect on the collection and transport options, and the technical equipment that is used.

Collection and separation of residues

The objective of collection and separation is to increase the unadulterated level of the residues. Because the processes of residue separating are frequently combined with collecting, both distinct tasks can be combined into one area.


Separated and mixed collection

The organization of collection and separation of residual matter are critically important to reverse logistics. Residues can be separated at various stages of the reverse logistics Reverse logistics channel:

  • Separate collection at the waste site: Initially, distinct collections can be done at the waste site. It generally produces a relatively unadulterated level of residue. But it requires increased efforts associated with setting up the containers and transporting the residues.
  • Mixed collection:In the collection of mixed waste or residual matter, the reuse of residual matter is dependent on sustainable sorting and handling processes. Economic benefits are generated here, particularly by the reduced space needs of the collection containers because just one collection container is required. On the other hand, this concept creates additional costs for warehousing, transport and handling processes [1].


Pick-up and delivery system

Another interesting aspect of the collection and separation of residual matter is the extent to which the waste producer is linked to the disposal work and his willingness to become involved in the disposal activity:

  • Pick-up system: In the pick-up system, residues are only provided at the site where they are produced.
  • Delivery system: Delivery systems require that the producer of the residues or waste be integrated into the return transport. The producer of the residues or waste collects the residues and takes them to a central area like a recycling center [1].

Special methods in reverse logistics

Special features of the technical form of reverse logistics Reverse logistics processes can be found particularly in collection and transport technology:


Special features in collection methods

Decisions about collection technology are made under consideration of type and amount of residue, the organization of collection and separation as well as the handling organization, i.e., the refilling or rotation process.
The type of residue determines the need to consider special environmental-protection equipment in the area of collection technology. The volume of produced residues affects the size of the containers.
The selection of separated or mixed collection determines to a large degree the number of containers or the number of separate chambers in the containers. For example, multi-chamber systems are used primarily in the separate collection of household garbage. In addition, the choice of delivery or pick-up system affects container selection. For delivery systems, the first collection step is done at the waste site in small, easy-to-carry containers that can be transported without problem to the central collection sites. By contrast, pick-up systems require containers that, on one hand, have sufficient volume for collecting the residues, but, on the other, meet the requirements for manual ease of use and technical handling systems.
Finally, refilling or rotation processes require the containers to be compatible with the respective technical equipment of the vehicles [1].


Special features of transport technology

Technical features of means of transport arise from residue compaction that is frequently connected to the transport and the necessity of maintaining the separation of various residue types:

  • Equipment for residue compaction is used particularly for large types of residue, including bulky waste. The compaction enables the collection vehicles to be used efficiently. But it can also reduce recyclability.
  • Multi-chamber vehicles can be used to maintain the separation of residues during transport, and the handling technology on these vehicles can be compatible with the collection containers [1].

Recommended reading

Reverse Logistics | Dekker / Fleischmann / Inderfurth von Springer 2004

Logistiksysteme | Pfohl 2004


[1] Logistiksysteme | Pfohl 2004

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