Supply chain sustainability challenges in the waste management industry

Alves, André Cherubini
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One of the discussions that have been gaining exponential strength is the one linked to the environment and what any single person or company is ethically committed to do to safeguard our planet. The global supply chains represent one of the main elements responsible for the degradation of the environment, but they can be considered a vital pattern to shift natural capital through manufactured capital. In this regard, global supply chains are a menace to the environment and one of the most relevant elements affording future change. The global supply chains need to be integrated into a context of Circular Economy, a complex model involving all the steps spanning from production to consumption in an endless circle joined at the very end by recycling or reusing already existing materials for the longest possible period. The industry involved in the last step of the circular economy, the most crucial to reinsert recycled waste in the market, is the waste management industry. The supply chain for the waste management industry takes the form of a "Reverse Supply Chain" since the raw material needed to bring the final product back into the market comes from the end of the life cycle of other products. By analyzing the activities of three companies operating in the waste management industry in different nodes of the supply chain and different geographies, I understood the mechanics and the challenges of this industry. With this paper, I aim to verify whether companies operating in the recycling sector can work efficiently without being forced to sacrifice their sustainability and how they can overcome the challenges they face.

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