With material cycles becoming more international, the design of international reverse logistics (IRL) networks has also become increasingly important, especially in island nations such as Japan, where maritime transportation plays a significant role. Nevertheless, few studies relate to IRL design, with most existing research focusing on economic efficiency. However, IRL networks’ resilience is equally or even more important than the typical logistics network design. As developed countries—including Japan—are usually exporters of recyclables, IRL malfunctions can cause waste or recyclables to accumulate in these countries, leading to inefficient waste management practices, such as landfilling. As IRL networks are characterized by low transportation rates and other uncertainties, they must be able to absorb this volatility and function despite any disruptions. This study utilizes a Japanese case study of IRL networks to establish a model and design a resilient, efficient IRL network using a cost-minimization model with resilience constraints. Our model reveals that expanding ports in a remote area with inexpensive storage costs increases economies of scale while contributing to IRL networks’ resilience by forming hubs.
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