European Anti-Fraud Office

Fighting illicit waste trafficking: OLAF at the OPFA WASTE workshop

Fighting illicit waste trafficking: OLAF at the OPFA WASTE workshop

07/05/2021

On 5 May, experts from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) took part in a workshop session on “Transfrontier Shipments of Waste: EU Regulations and illicit trafficking patterns’’. The session was part of the second edition of a workshop cycle organised by OPFA WASTE, an EU-funded operational project that provides assistance in police operations tackling trafficking in waste. The aim of the cycle: developing standardised investigative methodologies at EU level to fight illicit waste trafficking.

Environmental crime and fraud affecting environmental projects more in general have been increasingly on OLAF’s radar as fraudsters and traffickers seek new opportunities for illicit profits. Waste management has been no exception. In fact, waste recycling rates are on the rise in Europe as we collectively move towards a more circular economy – but traffickers try to take advantage of the gap between waste production and recovery capacities. 

Careful monitoring of the flows helps avoid illegal waste management or illicit exports of waste to countries with lower environmental standards. With a long-standing experience in fighting fraud and smuggling into the EU’s borders, OLAF contributes to the coordination of supranational control activities as international cooperation plays a central role in tackling the challenge. 

In the spirit of mutual exchange and cooperation, OPFA WASTE’s workshop cycle brought together a wide range of stakeholders – police forces, inspection authorities, customs, EU agencies, waste management companies, research institutes, universities. OLAF shared its experience in tracking suspicious containers, acting as a coordination hub among different national authorities and legal systems and working as a knowledge centre on transnational fraud and trafficking patterns.

More information can be found on OPFA WASTE’s website.