Reverse logistics symbiosis in waste recycling : investigating municipal systems and household behaviour in England

Jalil, Emy E. A.

April 2015

Thesis or dissertation

© 2015 Emy E A Jalil. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Municipality Solid Waste management services are reverse logistics (RL) operations of significant scale and importance throughout the developed world, and yet the topic has only received limited attention within the logistics and supply-chain management literature, despite an increasing policy focus on sustainability issues. An interdisciplinary approach was chosen for this study to explore the interaction between municipality household recycling waste systems and household recycling behaviour, which is represented by situational and personal factors in this study. A mixed methodology approach was used, based on a Sequential Exploratory Design that uses a mixed method typology (Qual-Quan-Qual) to explore the proposition that there is a symbiosis effect between the recycling behaviour of households and municipality household recycling waste systems. A non-probability sampling was drawn from the population of two adjacent councils in Northern England: the East Riding of Yorkshire and the City of Hull. The three stages of the research design show a consistent and similar outcome for the interaction between households and household recycling waste systems, represented by personal and situational factors respectively. The interaction clearly demonstrates a symbiosic effect between households and household recycling waste systems. The nature of household recycling behaviour was found to be affected by accessibility, availability and convenience, and where these diminish, the personal engagement of households in recycling is likely to diminish. Logistical factors, such as accessibility and availability are therefore considered to be strong predictors in the projection of household recycling behaviour, together with marketing factors, such as engagement and education. In addition, demographical elements are considered as moderating factors in the projection of household recycling behaviour. Moreover personal factors are found to be equally strong predictors when the situational factors are established and formed in accordance with the residential requirement. A robust theoretical framework has been developed during this study, which may be accessible for future studies, incorporating the relationship between situational and personal factors, and focusing primarily on the interaction between the respective factors. However, the conceptualization of the symbiosis effect requires further investigation and replication to clarify and understand the interaction in different scopes and perceptions. With regards to the methodological implication, this study supports earlier logistic literature by diversifying the research approach in its contribution to the literature. Thus, the application of mixed methodology addresses the incongruities between mono-paradigm in relation to recycling and waste literature, and reveals some clarity on the underpinning factors that explain behavioural changes in household recycling performance. As for the practical implications, in order to increase recycling performance, the mediating factors such as engagement and education are important contributions from this study with respect to changing HRB. The study also reveals that accessibility, availability and convenience are important precursors. Therefore, it was useful to design a sustainable reverse logistics system in waste management by considering the precursory factors to appropriate engagement that represents the public needs The outcome of this study indicates that the nexus between HRWS and HRB has to be focused on their symbiotic relationship, and looks at current HRWM from a symbiosis perspective. The caveat may be for policymakers and local authorities to come up with a sustainable backward movement that addresses ‘awareness, acknowledgement and action’ from the households’ perspective.

Business School, The University of Hull
Grant, David B.; Nicholson, John D.; Deutz, Pauline
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