One of the challenges faced in enforcing waste management regulations, is how to measure the impact on the environment and human health of illegal shipments of waste. How to value the economic impact of non-compliance and what level of fines and financial measures are appropriate to recover the damage?
Costs of illegal waste trafficking
This new methodology, developed as part of the WasteForce project and led by the Netherlands Forensics Institute, offers an overview of technical possibilities to monetize the impact of illegal waste shipments. It is meant to facilitate law enforcement in combating and prosecuting illegal trafficking of waste.
The methodology describes an environmental footprint for illegal waste shipments and assists in calculating the costs of those illegal waste shipments by using the following parameters:
- Identifying if the waste is potentially hazard or not
- Hazard characterization
- An assessment of the exposure
- Risk characterization
- Risk assessment
- Life cycle impact assessment
A list of impact categories and damage pathways are identified in the methodology. These parameters, combined with environmental prices and weighing factors, lead to a monetization of the impact of the environmental damage done. In turn, these economic values can be used to calculate fines and the amount for economic damage caused by the illegal shipments.
The report also includes seven case studies where the methodology has been applied:
- Reclaimed asphalt
- Paper, paperboard and paper product waste
- Ship breaking
- End of life vehicles with additional loading
- Wastes from baking and the confectionery industry
- Mixed plastics; mixture of different waste
- WEEE; used electronics
The impact for the individual transports varied between €4000, – and €1.2 million with an average of €320.000,-. Lack of information and data make that this outcome should be considered as incomplete and probably largely underestimates the real impact of illegal waste trafficking. The evaluated cases also show that whereas the focus of the legislative framework seems to be on hazardous waste, the impact of illegal transports of non-hazardous waste is significant as well.
About the WasteForce project
WasteForce is the project acronym for Deterring and disrupting illegal trade and management of Waste by developing Tools for Enforcement, Forensics and Capacity Building. The project is coordinated by the IMPEL network and carried out by a consortium of partners.
One of the deliverables is a methodology to measure environmental damage of illegal waste transports. In the report ‘Environmental damage – An environmental footprint for illegal waste transports’ — produced by the Netherlands Forensics Institute, Environmental Forensics — existing technical methods to estimate risks, impact and damage of illegal waste trafficking are mapped on headlines.