The theoretical contribution of this paper is that it identifies, explores and explains the stimulating impact of four reverse logistics concepts-which are: drivers and barriers, product types and characteristics, process and recovery options, and actors-on firms' waste reduction practices. The paper builds upon a theoretical framework of reverse logistics and an empirical study of firms in the Dutch metal industry. Its aim is to develop a model of four reverse logistics concepts that enables an analysis of waste management practices in industry. Although the model is based on a young and emerging field in the literature, and is applied in one-single specific industry and country, the model provides a useful analytical frame of reference for further research in the same and in different empirical settings. This paper's contribution to good practice is that it provides various avenues for practitioners to develop and employ a waste management strategy. Copyright © 2012 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.