An estimated 8 million tons of e-waste is illegally smuggled and dumped in China each year. According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, most of the electrical and electronic waste is dumped in Guangdong Province. The waste is then recycled and sold to the manufacturing industry.
The estimated value of this black market in e-waste in the East Asia region is $3.75 Billion.
Source: ”Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific: A Threat Assessment,” UNODC, April 2013, Executive Summary, page ix.
As of March 2012, authorities found 1,175 illegal waste dumping sites in Britain and Whales. The biggest category of illegal waste that is dumped is construction and demolition waste. Other types of waste that is illegally dumped included household goods and end-of-life vehicles (including the car’s batteries, oil, air conditioner and brake fluid.)
An Environment Agency Intelligence Manager in Britain stated that on average, the cost to pay criminals to illegally dump materials is 50 percent less than paying a legitimate waste disposal company.
Source: Jon Henley, “Waste crime: Britain’s war on illegal dumping,” Guardian, November 11, 2012.
Cardboard recyclers are estimating that they are losing between $8 Million to $10 Million a year to theft of used cardboard in New York City.
Over 150,000 commercial establishments in the city have contracts with waste management companies that pick-up used cardboard from their stores. These cardboard boxes are broken down and sent to recyclers. Thieves are instead driving rented trucks around the city and stealing the stacks of cardboard boxes and recycling it themselves.
An official with the waste management lobby stated that a thief could fill up a truck with one and a half tons of cardboard and make $150 for the haul.
Source: John Metcalfe, “Inside the Surprisingly Lucrative World of Cardboard Theft,” The Atlantic Cities, July 31, 2012.
Mafia organizations in Italy earned over $19.6 Billion (16 Billion Euros) in profit from various environmental crimes within the country, according to a report by Legambiente.
Authorities in Italy detected over 34,000 incidents of environmental crimes during 2011, a rate of over 90 per day. Mafia organizations are believed to have been responsible for illegally dumping 346,000 tons of trash during the year.
Organized crime groups in Italy generate up to $204 Billion from their black market activities.
Source: Nick Squires, “Mafia making billions from environmental destruction ,” Telegraph, July 9, 2012.
In 2011, the Environment Agency in the United Kingdom identified over 600 active illegal trash dumping sites in England and Wales.
During the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year, the agency conducted over 400 waste-related prosecutions and shut down 1,195 illegal waste dumping sites.
Source: “Waste crime crackdown launched by Environment Agency,” BBC News, December 8, 2011.
One kilogram of coca paste that is used to make cocaine in the jungles of Colombia produces 600 kilograms of waste and 200 liters of contaminated water.
Source: Lucy Seigle, “The end of the line,” Guardian, August 21, 2011.
60 percent of hazardous waste generated in Vietnam is properly treated and disposed. The remaining 40 percent is either illegally dumped, buried or reused, according to the head of the Environmental Crime office.
In 2010, 322 cases of hazardous waste violations were investigated with $476,000 (10 Billion Vietnamese Dongs) collected in fines.
Source: “Puny fines fail to deter environmental crimes,” Viet Nam News, August 3, 2011.
Trash smugglers in Sydney, Australia illegal dump up to 500,000 tons of trash across the state each year, waste management operators estimate.
By illegally dumping waste, smugglers are able to avoid up to $4,222 (3,840 Australian Dollars) in fees.
Source: Natalie O’Brien, “Organised crime linked to hazardous waste scourge,” Sydney Morning Herald, April 3, 2011.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it costs 10 times more to recycle a CRT monitor in the United States than it would to illegally ship the monitor on the black market to Ghana.
Source: “Undercover Investigations into E-Waste Smuggling,” Waste Management World, May 16, 2011.
Illegal trash smuggling consists of an estimated 16 percent of all trash exports of a single port in Rotterdam.
Source: Elizabeth Rosenthal, “Smuggling Europe’s Waste to Poorer Countries,” New York Times, September 26, 2009.