Waste Crime - Waste Risks

Gaps in Meeting the Global Waste Challenge

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Waste covers a very wide spectrum of discarded materials ranging from municipal, electrical and electronic, industrial and agricultural, to new types including counterfeit pesticides. It also includes anything in size and scale from decommissioned ships, oil or liquid wastes, hundreds of millions of mobile phones to billions of used car tires. With rising global population, urbanisation and consumption, the amount of waste continues to increase. Additionally, illegal transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes from developed countries to developing countries have become an increasing global concern. This publication provides insight into the possible scale and features of the main drivers, along with case studies. It is not an exhaustive or fully comprehensive overview, but it intends to identify major areas of policy deficits and challenges that require further investigation, policy action and intervention for prevention and damage control, as well as to identify opportunities.




The treatment and disposal of waste, both non-hazardous and hazardous, may be subject to high environmental standards. On one hand, waste can have a positive value: for instance, it can be sold to recycling plants or incinerators. On the other hand, some waste only represents a negative economic value for its owner, who has to bear the costs of treatment (Albers 2014). As a consequence, illegal traffic of waste increases when circumventing regulations is financially more attractive than complying with them.


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