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Official recycling and scavengers: Symbiotic or conflicting?


  • Besiou, Maria
  • Georgiadis, Patroklos
  • Van Wassenhove, Luk N.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Besiou, Maria & Georgiadis, Patroklos & Van Wassenhove, Luk N., 2012. "Official recycling and scavengers: Symbiotic or conflicting?," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 218(2), pages 563-576.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:218:y:2012:i:2:p:563-576
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2011.11.030

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Huihui & Lei, Ming & Deng, Honghui & Keong Leong, G. & Huang, Tao, 2016. "A dual channel, quality-based price competition model for the WEEE recycling market with government subsidy," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 59(PB), pages 290-302.
    2. Govindan, Kannan & Soleimani, Hamed & Kannan, Devika, 2015. "Reverse logistics and closed-loop supply chain: A comprehensive review to explore the future," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 240(3), pages 603-626.
    3. Chen, Xudong & Fujita, Tsuyoshi & Hayashi, Yoshitsugu & Kato, Hirokazu & Geng, Yong, 2014. "Determining optimal resource recycling boundary at regional level: A case study on Tokyo Metropolitan Area in Japan," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 233(2), pages 337-348.
    4. Qinxin Guo & Enci Wang & Yongyou Nie & Junyi Shen, 2017. "Profit or Environment? A System Dynamic Model Analysis of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Management System in China," Discussion Paper Series DP2017-30, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.


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