Vehicle routing for the eco-efficient collection of household plastic waste

X. Bing, M. de Keizer, J.M. Bloemhof, J.G.A.J. van der Vorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic waste is a special category of municipal solid waste. Plastic waste collection is featured with various alternatives of collection methods (curbside/drop-off) and separation methods (source-/post-separation). In the Netherlands, the collection routes of plastic waste are the same as those of other waste, although plastic is different than other waste in terms of volume to weight ratio. This paper aims for redesigning the collection routes and compares the collection options of plastic waste using eco-efficiency as performance indicator. Eco-efficiency concerns the trade-off between environmental impacts, social issues and costs. The collection problem is modeled as a vehicle routing problem. A tabu search heuristic is used to improve the routes. Collection alternatives are compared by a scenario study approach. Real distances between locations are calculated with MapPoint. The scenario study is conducted based on real case data of the Dutch municipality Wageningen. Scenarios are designed according to the collection alternatives with different assumptions in collection method, vehicle type, collection frequency and collection points, etc. Results show that the current collection routes can be improved in terms of eco-efficiency performance by using our method. The source-separation drop-off collection scenario has the best performance for plastic collection assuming householders take the waste to the drop-off points in a sustainable manner. The model also shows to be an efficient decision support tool to investigate the impacts of future changes such as alternative vehicle type and different response rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-729
JournalWaste Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • time windows
  • systems
  • logistics
  • routes

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