Reverse Logistics for Medical Waste During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Literature Review


  • Yasmin Mauliddina Industrial Engineering, Institut Teknologi Indonesia


reverse logistics, medical waste, Covid-19, pandemic


The Covid-19 pandemic impacted globally, mainly in healthcare aspects. The pandemic raised the call for medical service, medical equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended people wear PPE during the pandemic. Nations also performed tremendous testing for Covid-19. In two years, The United Nations of Children, Education, and Fund (UNICEF) has shipped hundreds of millions of items of PPE worldwide. This initiative resulted in more than 100,000 tons of medical waste. However, less than half the of medical facilities worldwide are unprepared to handle the medical waste. The mishandled of medical waste might increase the infectious equipment pollution, jeopardize the environment, and elevate disease spreading. This paper provides the literature review with respect to the role of reverse logistics for medical waste during the pandemic. The reverse logistics decisions and policy for medical disposal are generally focused on minimizing the risk, reducing the budget and costs, optimizing the routes and facilities, and maximizing the collected waste. Among the insights, the results suggest that several considerations need to be heeded related to the local capacity. The role of local government, researchers, and policymaker affect the management of medical waste removal during the pandemic.


Asamoah, "Protecting the front line: why access to quality PPE remains critical during the pandemic," 20 December 2021. [Online]. Available:,gloves%2C%20medical%20gowns%20and%20more. [Accessed 1 June 2022].

WHO, "Tonnes of COVID-19 health care waste expose urgent need to improve waste management systems," 01 February 2022. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 01 June 2022].

D. D. a. P. S. David Tranfield, "Towards a Methodology for Developing Evidence-Informed Management Knowledge by Means of Systematic Review," British Journal of Management, vol. 14, pp. 207-222, 2003.

Z. Wang, L. Huang and C. X. He, "A Multi-objective and multi-period optimization model for urban healthcare waste's reverse logistics network design," Journal of Combinatorial Optimization, vol. 42, pp. 785-812, 2021.

H. Yu, X. Sun and W. D. Solvang, "Reverse Logistics Network Design for Effective Management of Medical Waste in Epidemic Outbreaks: Insight from the Coronavirus Disease 201 (COVID-19) Outbreak in Wuhan (China)," International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, 2020.

S. Kargar, M. Pourmehdi and M. M. Paydar, "Reverse logistics network design for medical waste management in the epidemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)," Science of the Total Environment, vol. 746, 2020.

R. Lotfi, B. Kargar, A. Gharehbaghi and G.-W. Weber, "Viable medical waste chain network design by considering risk and robustness," Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2021.