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Waste management: a strategic supply chain issue

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christian Hicks, Professor Oliver Heidrich, Professor Tom McGovern, Professor Thomas Donnelly


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Waste management is increasingly becoming a strategic supply chain issue. Environmental issues such as recycling and life cycle costs have become order qualifying, or order winning criteria in many markets. Legislation and regulation has an increasing impact on production, future liability and costs. Waste is defined and classified in several ways. In lean manufacturing, waste is viewed as anything that adds cost without adding value. Waste managers tend to consider “end of pipe” waste that is classified according to its source, material content or characteristics. Waste may be considered in terms of processes. It may be caused by process variability or uncertainty. Furthermore, waste may be transformed into a useful commodity by the use of additional processes. Waste is often subjective; “waste” produced by one process may be raw material for another. The management of waste is commonly modelled as a hierarchy which lists waste management options in order of preference: avoid, reuse, reduce, materials recovery, energy recovery, incinerate / landfill. This paper briefly reviews current and proposed legislation, explores the definition and classification of waste and finally relates waste management and manufacturing techniques to the waste management hierarchy. A “chocolate box” framework is provided to assist waste and manufacturing managers with picking and mixing the selection of techniques to achieve waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hicks C, Heidrich O, McGovern T, Donnelly T

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 12th International Working Seminar on Production Economics

Year of Conference: 2002

Pages: 185-202