Sustainability vs. Circular Economy from a Disposition Decision Perspective: A Proposal of a Methodology and an Applied Example in SMEs

Alarcón F, Cortés-Pellicer P, Pérez-Perales D, Sanchis R. (2020). “Sustainability vs. Circular Economy from a Disposition Decision Perspective: A Proposal of a Methodology and an Applied Example in SMEs.” Sustainability. 12(23), 10109. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310109

Abstract: Disposition Decision (DD) consists of deciding how to treat a recovered product, and it is one of the most important decisions in reverse logistics. Any of the selected disposition alternatives will have a significant impact on the enterprise sustainability. However, the most sustainable alternative may not be an alternative to make circular economy (CE) possible. In these cases, if the company wishes to adopt a CE strategy, it will have to switch from the most sustainable alternative to a less sustainable one that CE allows. Then, how much should be sacrificed for each sustainability dimension to make CE possible? This paper proposes a methodology for quantitatively comparing the most sustainable disposition alternative and the most sustainable CE alternative. This comparison allows small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to know how exactly all dimensions increase or decrease when selecting the most sustainable CE disposition alternative and to, therefore, assess the interest of adopting a CE policy. The proposed methodology is applied to a used tire recovery company. The results of this example show that the CE alternative offers a better environmental result but presents worst economic and social results. This example can be used as a guide for future applications other SMEs.

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