Advancing the Circular Economy of Plastics through eCommerce
Author(s)Backstrom, Jacob; Kumar, Niranjini
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The production growth and short life cycle of plastics has created concerns around its waste management process. Despite efforts to increase recycling over the years, the rate of recycling does not come close to the rate of plastics production. This capstone project develops an innovative and convenient business model that leverages the existing eCommerce logistics network to facilitate a closed-loop supply chain for recycling plastic packaging. We design the model based on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework, to identify the key stakeholders and define their roles and responsibilities throughout the process. Stakeholder interviews were conducted for validation and feedback, and are incorporated to further refine the model. We develop a universal, adaptable, and scalable financial analysis tool to evaluate the economics of the model. Finally, we provide recommendations on a pilot test to launch, validate, and improve the developed plastics closed-loop supply chain model. Our results highlight that a multi- stakeholder coalition, with a high level of integration and engagement among all the stakeholders, is necessary to make this model a success. Through a collaborative approach, stakeholders can significantly increase the amount of plastics recycled, divert millions of metric tons of plastics from landfills and ocean waste, reduce the need for production of new plastics, and thus, promote sustainability.
Retail Operations, Supply Chain Strategy, Warehouse
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