The main thrust of returnable packaging these days is to provide logistical services through transportation and distribution of products and be environmentally friendly. Returnable packaging and reverse logistics concepts have converged to mitigate the adverse effect of packaging materials entering the solid waste stream. Returnable packaging must be designed by considering the trade-offs between costs and environmental impact to satisfy manufacturers and environmentalists alike. The cost of returnable packaging entails such items as materials, manufacturing, collection, storage and disposal. Environmental impacts are explicitly linked with solid waste, air pollution, and water pollution. This paper presents a multi-criteria evaluation technique to assist decision-makers for evaluating the trade-offs in costs and environmental impact during the returnable packaging design process. The proposed evaluation technique involves a combination of multiple objective integer linear programming and analytic hierarchy process. A numerical example is used to illustrate the methodology.


Returnable Packaging, Costing, Environmental Impact, Multiple Objective Integer Linear Programming (MOILP), Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)

Subject Categories

Production engineering, Recycling (Waste (etc.))



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Engineering Commons