Closed-loop network for product life cycle, 2015


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Accorsi, Riccardo; Manzini, Riccardo; Pini, Chiara; Penazzi, Stefano, 2015. On the design of closed-loop networks for product life cycle management: Economic, environmental and geography considerations. DOI:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2015.09.005. pp.121-134. In JOURNAL OF TRANSPORT GEOGRAPHY – ISSN:0966-6923 vol. 48.


• A MILP model for the strategic design of a closed-loop supply chain

• Two objective functions considering costs and carbon emissions

• How the product assembling, disassembling, and recycling processes affect the transport flows

• Location decisions of intermodal infrastructures over a large-scale geography

• A case study on the transport geography of the furniture industry in Italy


The management of the product life cycle needs industrial synergies along large-scale networks to collect, recycle, reuse, and recover the end-of-life products. This paper provides a tool to assess the enabling economic, environmental, and transport geography conditions to design sustainable closed-loop networks for the management of a generic product along its life-cycle. The proposed tool is built through a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) model for the strategic design of a multi-echelon closed-loop network. The product life cycle is handled via a cascade through seven stages, including raw material suppliers, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, retailers, collection nodes for waste and by-products, recycling centers, and landfills.

The model minimizes a cost-based and a carbon-based function to determine the optimal geographic location of the nodes of the network and the allocation of transport flows. The model is applied to a case study inspired by the furniture industry over the Italian geography and a multi-scenario analysis is illustrated. The resulting considerations on the economic, environmental performances of the network couple with the transport geography to provide guidelines for designer, logistics planners and regional geographers toward a circular economy scenario.


Closed-loop supply chain; Network design; Intermodality; Waste; Sustainability; Product life cycle