Assessing and improving management practices when planning packaging waste collection systems

Tânia Rodrigues Pereira Ramos, Maria Isabel Azevedo Rodrigues Gomes, Ana Paula Barbosa-povoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Packaging waste collection systems are responsible to collect, within a geographic area, threetypes of packaging materials (paper, glass and plastic/metal) that are disposed by the finalconsumer into special bins. Those systems are often characterized by having a network withmultiple depots that act as transfer and sorting stations, and where the vehicle fleet is based.However, each depot is often managed independently and not as a part of a unique system. Inthis work, four current tactical/operational practices that contribute to the independentmanagement of each depot are analysed. The change of such practices is investigated andtheir impact assessed on the total collection cost. A solution methodology based onmathematical formulations is developed to plan service areas, vehicle routes and vehicleschedules taken into account new alternative solutions in managing the system as a whole.Such methodology is applied to a real case study of a company responsible for the collection ofthe packaging waste in 7 municipalities in mainland Portugal. New service areas, collectionroutes and vehicle schedules are defined and significant savings are obtained in terms of thetotal distance travelled as well as in terms of the number of vehicles required, resulting in adecreasing of the total system cost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-129
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue numberSI
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Collection routes
  • Service areas
  • Routes scheduling
  • Recycling
  • Waste management
  • Vehicle routing


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