Product recovery with some byte: An overview of management challenges and environmental consequences in reverse manufacturing for the computer industry

Charles David White*, Eric Masanet, Christine Meisner Rosen, Sara L. Beckman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

Estimates vary about the rate at which end-of-life computer products have been piling up, but the total population of spent computers is likely to reach into the hundreds of millions. To tackle this mounting solid and hazardous waste problem, policy and business entrepreneurs are promoting product recovery as an environmentally preferable alternative to disposal, and product recovery infrastructure and strategy has begun to develop in recent decades. However, despite some real and theoretical developments in the field, current literature lacks an overall description of the recovery process capable of capturing the essence of end-of-life management challenges for complex, rapidly obsolete, high-tech products like computers and electronics. The absence of this broad frame of reference presents a problem for managers trying to integrate environmentally sound choices into planning and management. Using case research from the computer and electronics industry, in this paper we present a generalized overview of product recovery. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: to describe the recovery of computers as a step-by-step process, and to frame an environmental research agenda for recovery management. With an eye toward generalizing the growing and diversifying practices in reverse manufacturing, we use our description from the computer and electronics industry to highlight broad challenges that managers confront at each stage of the process and to identify environmental dimensions of product recovery management decisions that require additional research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-458
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

Keywords

  • Computer
  • Demanufacturing
  • Design for environment
  • Environmental management
  • Product recovery
  • Remanufacturing
  • Reverse manufacturing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Product recovery with some byte: An overview of management challenges and environmental consequences in reverse manufacturing for the computer industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this