End-of-life decision making with uncertain product return quantity

Sara Behdad, Aida Sefic Williams, Deborah Thurston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The management of end-of-life electronic waste (e-waste) attracts significant attention due to environmental concerns, legislative requirements, consumer interest in green products, and the market image of manufacturers. However, managing e-waste is complicated by several factors, including the high degree of uncertainty of quantity, timing of arrival, and quality of the returned products. This variability in the stream of returned end-of-life (EOL) products makes it difficult to plan for remanufacturing facility materials, equipment, and human resource requirements. The aim of this research is to tackle the uncertainty associated with the quantity of received used products. A stochastic programming model for waste stream acquisition systems (as opposed to market-driven systems) is introduced. The model considers the quantity of returned product as an uncertain parameter and determines to what extent the product should be disassembled and what is the best EOL option for each subassembly. The stochastic model is defined in a form of chance constrained programming and is then converted to a mixed integer linear programming. An example is provided to illustrate the application of the model for an uncertain stream of PCs (minus monitor and keyboard) received in a PC refurbishing company. The remanufacturer must then decide which proportion of disassembled modules should be processed given specific remanufacturing options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100902
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 8 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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