Monday, May 21, 2012

Official Recycling and Scavengers: Symbiotic or Conflicting? European Journal of Operational Research 218, 2 (2012) 563-576

Nowadays, especially in developed countries, the traditional collection of end-of-use products by scavengers has been displaced by formal waste recovery systems. However, scavenging still exists, especially in places with collection capacity shortages and/or low living standards. Besides its obvious social implications, the financial and environmental aspects of scavenging are certainly not trivial. Informal recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) by scavengers not only constrains profits of the formal system. In their effort to recover the value of end-of-use products, scavengers also pollute the environment if toxic substances leak when WEEE is not properly disposed of. We investigate the impact of scavenging on the operations of the formal recovery system of WEEE, under three regulatory measures using system dynamics methodology. By using data from a real world closed-loop supply chain that operates in Greece extended numerical experimentation revealed that a legislation incorporating scavengers into the formal waste recovery system (instead of either ignoring or prohibiting their participation) is beneficial for economical, environmental and social sustainability.