Reverse logistics model for increased polystyrene recycling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to build a reverse logistics model for the recycling of polystyrene. The model enables analysing trade-offs between logistics costs and higher recycling rates.The polystyrene material has a low density, which makes it a logistically challenging material.

Design/methodology/approach:The empirical study consists of interviews with different actors in the reverse supply chain of polystyrene in Finland. The empirical material is analysed to develop a quantitative model for the reverse logistics of polystyrene.

Findings:This paper suggests a model for the logistics of the reverse supply chain of polystyrene in Finland. The model includes suggestions for collection and for the placement of equipment to compress the material, in order to facilitate the logistics and reduce logistics costs. The collection requires collaboration between private companies and municipal waste management organizations.

Research limitations/implications: This paper is limited to Finland. However, research on the reverse logistics of polystyrene in other countries would make an interesting comparison. Long distances in Finland make the need for efficient logistics even greater.

Practical implications: The paper provides practical suggestions on the reverse logistics for polystyrene. The model can provide ideas to any actors involved in the reverse logistics system, and for other similar fractions.

Original/value: The reverse logistics system of polystyrene has received little attention in previous research. Due to the low weight of the material, the reverse logistics of recyclable polystyrene should be organized differently than for many other recyclable fractions. Polystyrene collection n for recycling is still in its infancy in Finland due to long distances and scattered streams.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 33rd Annual NOFOMA Confrence, 28–30 September
PublisherThe Nordic Logistics Research Network (NOFOMA)
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2021
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
Event33rd Annual NOFOMA Conference 2021 - Virtual
Duration: 28 Sept 202130 Sept 2021


Conference33rd Annual NOFOMA Conference 2021


  • Reverse logistics
  • polystyrene recycling
  • circular economy


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