Education and Meanings

Reverse Logistics: what is it? How it works?

The Reverse Logistics also known for Logistics Inverse, is a logistics area focusing on the return of materials already used for the production process, which attempts to reuse materials or carry out their disposal appropriately in order to contribute to environmental preservation .

When a company manages to profitably act within a reverse logistics process, it is achieving the economic and environmental sustainability of its business.

See here everything about Environmental Sustainability .


Brazilian legislation takes care of the subject of reverse logistics in its Law 12,305, of August 2, 2010. In the so-called National Policy on Solid Waste, it is possible to find, in the provision of article 3, the definition on the subject , which addresses that the logistics Reverse acts socially and economically with proposed procedures at enabling the collection and return of solid waste to the business area, with the objective of reusing or giving it another suitable destination.

The definition of reverse logistics is the set of strategies and actions to collect and give an adequate destination to materials that were obtained through some production process.

The concept of reverse logistics is mainly based on a sum of processes and their respective means of implementation, which are capable of capturing and properly disposing of products, in the process known as post-sale or post-consumption, so that such waste can be reused again in the industrial sector. In case of non-reusable conditions, reverse logistics must then provide an adequate destination for these products.

This concept gained ground in Brazil after the engagement caused by the National Solid Waste Policy, which aims to legislate and control the distribution of waste, as a way to create sustainable systems. Among the determinations provided for by law, a joint resolution was established, which encompasses not only manufacturers, but also importers, distributors and those responsible for sales in direct trade to the final consumer. The responsibility for reverse logistics now rests with everyone involved.

Still, within what is established by the law itself, actions aimed at sustainability and the reduction in the volume of solid waste and rejects must be promoted both by the government and by private companies, encouraging and collaborating towards a cleaner and healthier society.


Currently, this type of operation can be implemented for the most diverse needs, through systems prepared to collect and receive the material.


Projects that aim to maintain a balance between business activity and nature result in several benefits for businesses that seek to take advantage of this opportunity.

Through a potential for cost reduction, the financial nature of reverse logistics can be divided into two areas, namely increasing profitability and saving resources.

The market often fails to raise millions due to the waste of material and the failure to implement adequate systems. Expenses for this type of operation to remain in operation are high and it is difficult to adapt the links in the chain to this new reality, as there is a lack of training in some areas.

The return of products and packaging is still hampered by the absence of proper management, scarcity of licensed sites for treatment and disposal, and lack of incentives for entrepreneurs.

There are few enterprises dedicated to creating legalized landfills, treatment plants and places for the incineration of products, which results in the cost of the entire operation.

In addition to the economic impact, there is a significant need to improve the production process. From this point of view, it is necessary to invest in research to determine the life cycle of each product and its components.

With this, it is also possible to create guidelines for the treatment of waste, adapt production and modify the distribution flow.

The reverse logistics systems, in practice, are carried out through the collection, reuse, recycling, treatment and/or final disposal of waste arising after the consumption of various products – whether it is already out of use or discarded packaging.

They contribute to a social ecological awareness and a better relationship with society itself. Balanced economic growth is possible through the replenishment of the production cycle, the reuse of parts and equipment, the repair of defective goods by the manufacturer, the development of recyclable and returnable packaging and actions that involve employees and customers.

See everything about Recycling here .

These actions can even help the company to grow and stand out, as the consumer market tends to opt for companies that operate in an ecological manner and that are certified by regulatory agencies, as is the example of ISO 14000.

For a company to carry out reverse logistics effectively, it is necessary to comply with environmental legislation.


Law No. 12,305/2010, when explaining the topic of reverse logistics, defined three different instruments that can help in its implementation: regulation, sectorial agreement and term of commitment.

However, for reverse logistics to take place, all agents must also have incentives that favor implementation.

Shipping companies and manufacturers need to be encouraged by the government itself, with appropriate public policies, and stores motivated by companies. The end consumer, the other hand, should be encouraged by both companies and stores, in addition to participating in awareness programs carried out by the government.


In order for reverse logistics to actually work, it is important that the waste is in a single place so that an optimized collection can be made.

Collection routes must be added to delivery routes, making better use of the delivery routine, also optimizing reverse logistics.

There are also specialized markets where companies look for waste handlers, buyers or generators. All through a unified portal of suppliers and buyers.

Following this trend, the concept of reverse logistics has also become a fundamental tool for sustainability in the business sector.


To understand the reverse logistics system and the role of agents in each phase, it is necessary to understand the phases involved in the process.

  • It all starts with the consumer. When returning the product or packaging, this destination must be made directly to the trade or distribution location.
  • The person in charge, here whether he is a trader or even a distributor, must send the product or packaging to the manufacturer. In cases of imported products, it must be sent to the responsible importer.
  • The manufacturer/importer must send the product or packaging for recycling, reuse or even for disposal, in suitable locations for each product.

These phases can be applied in two ways so that there is reverse logistics, being in the post-sale period or even in the so-called post-consumption period.

According to the National Solid Waste Policy – ​​PNRS, in its guidelines, it can be understood that reverse logistics is also characterized as an economic and human tool. This process, which encompasses the tool in a set of actions and methods designed to enable the collection and adaptation of solid waste to the business area, seeks not only its reuse, but also collaboration with other productivity cycles. Therefore, it must be adopted by companies in search of sustainable socio-economic development.


Brazil is a pioneer in environmental legislation and has legal institutes that are very strict about maintaining a healthy environment. Law 12,305/2010, for example, imposes on manufacturers and distributors the obligation to collect used packaging and provide its correct destination.

Brazilian companies needed to adapt to the rules that permeate reverse logistics, which meant that they could also, in a way, implement new mechanisms for reusing products.

Today, it is not enough for the manufacturer to reuse or remove waste in its production process. The manufacturer and the importer are now responsible for all the steps that exist during the useful life of such products and their packaging, creating a bond between them that must be obeyed under the penalty of acting outside the law.

With this legal institute present, reverse logistics in Brazil began to actively belong in business operations, which should strive for actions with a sustainable intention.

It is also possible to observe a greater investment in the development of packaging with biodegradable material, which causes less pollution, or even returnable or disposable, which promotes sustainability. These actions, in addition to collaborating with the environment, can also be seen at the low costs of the industrialization process.

The industrial process still needs to contain, to be sustainable, one of its main flaws, which is the waste of materials. Reverse logistics acts as an instrument that enables the reuse of this material and enables awareness of proper disposal.

It is possible to conclude that, more and more, Brazilian companies are making efforts and technology in order to reintegrate waste into the original production processes. Such actions directly contribute to the reduction of substances discarded in the environment and significantly reduce the environmental impact and the indiscriminate use of natural resources.

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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