A periodic location routing problem for collaborative recycling

Vera Hemmelmayr, Karen Smilowitz*, Luis de la Torre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Motivated by collaborative recycling efforts for non-profit agencies, we study a variant of the periodic location routing problem, in which one decides the set of open depots from the customer set, the capacity of open depots, and the visit frequency to nodes in an effort to design networks for collaborative pickup activities. We formulate this problem, highlighting the challenges introduced by these decisions. We examine the relative difficulty introduced with each decision through exact solutions and a heuristic approach that can incorporate extensions of model constraints and solve larger instances. The work is motivated by a project with a network of hunger relief agencies (e.g., food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters) focusing on collaborative approaches to address their cardboard recycling challenges collectively. We present a case study based on data from the network. In this novel setting, we evaluate collaboration in terms of participation levels and cost impact. These insights can be generalized to other networks of organizations that may consider pooling resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-428
Number of pages15
JournalIISE Transactions
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • Non-profit operations research
  • Periodic location routing problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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