The purpose of this paper is to develop the value concept for recycling contexts.
The paper is a conceptual discussion supported by empirical illustrations of value development for recycled paper and electric and electronics products.
Demonstrates the fundamental effects of applying the economic value concept for recycling. Suggests that value can be seen as negative and decreasing, besides positive and increasing. The end customer actually and voluntarily pays in both monetary terms and own work in order to help another actor further along the supply chain to exploit the value created.
Any supply chain analysis including recycling must also consider the consumption of value. Traditional models and concepts are based on the end customer as the endpoint. In striving for a societal development towards “closing the circles” this more holistic understanding of value development becomes crucial.
Recycling is traditionally seen as a cost‐adding activity, for firms and also for consumers in terms of direct and indirect costs and time consumption. As industrial firms are supposed to include recycling of their products in their total business offering (e.g. product stewardships), the value creation and consumption mechanisms regarding recycling need to be better understood.
The value concept has been widely researched in different settings, however the value development of products and material in supply chains including recycling has not been addressed. The inclusion of the end‐customer among industrial actors in a supply chain provides a new complexity, which this paper addresses.
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