Many visitors to NERC’s website are likely to have a general understanding of what is meant by the circular economy. According to proponent Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is one designed to eliminate waste and pollution; circulate products and materials; and regenerate nature.
What, then, does the term reverse logistics mean, and how does it relate to recycling? Perhaps most importantly, how can reverse logistics contribute to the further development of a circular economy? We look to new NERC Advisory Member Reverse Logistics Group for an explanation:
“RLG is a global 4PL offering an array of cost efficient environmentally responsible Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) compliance and product returns services. Through tech enabled integrated management systems, RLG offers solutions for manufacturers to manage consumer product returns from the point of collection at end of life to final disposition,” says the company website.
“RLG implements and operates total recycling management solutions that focus on the maximization of resource recovery through whole system reuse, component reuse and base materials recovery.”
RLG’s process for applying reverse logistics to recycling includes the following:
- Development of Take-back Systems for electronics, batteries, packaging, beverage containers, and other consumer products that satisfy EPR legislation and customer requirements while minimizing cost and overall carbon footprint.
- Collection and logistics, which include mail-back programs, collection events, set up of physical collection points and pick-up service.
- Mail-back program that meets regulatory requirements and also provides a solution for companies looking to offer customers a cost-free end-of-life recycling option.
- Environmentally responsible reuse and recycling services through a network of RLG or third party audited recyclers.
- Proof of recovery, Auditing and quality management, and Continuous improvement.
RLG is headquartered in Munich, Germany and has 24 offices with 500+ employees. With operations in more than 80 countries around the world, the company is managing more than $1 billion in asset value per year. RLG’s North American offices are located in Iselin NJ, Irvine CA, and Toronto, ON.
RLG is a founding member of the Circular Economy Initiative Germany (CEID), which aims to develop a joint target vision and a concrete plan on how the transformation towards a Circular Economy in Germany could be fostered. Also, RLG has developed an e-waste recycling program in India that includes input from and training of the informal sector. India is the third largest e-waste producer worldwide.
"Following the principles of a Circular Economy ultimately leads us to the necessity of changing business models, where ‘reverse’ has to be a strategic element – an opportunity rather than a must," RLG CEO Patrick Wiedemann stated.
Through policy positions such as its Post-Consumer Recycled Content Policy and other initiatives, NERC has joined with its Advisory Members and many other organizations in seeking to realize an effective circular economy. We welcome RLG as a Sustaining Advisory Member and look forward to working on the process improvements that the company exemplifies.