|Abstract:||Electrical and electronic waste or e-waste is a term used to describe or to cover all items of electrical and electronic equipment and its parts, which have been discarded by its owner as waste without the intent of re-use. Due to the rapid development of the industry and information technology, as also increasing consumption, e-waste became one of the fastest growing waste streams. E-waste consists of valuable components and also contains non-negligible amounts of hazardous elements and materials and is thus expensive to treat in an environmentally sound matter.
Researchers have discovered that more than 80 percent of all discarded e-waste is illegally shipped from developed countries to developing countries, where is e-waste recycled by informal workers. Inadequate dismantling of e-waste, for the purpose of gaining money by selling valuable elements, is damaging to the environment and to human health. By tightening the legislation, developed countries wanted to prevent the illegal trade and shipments of e-waste, but the desired effect did not occur.
In order to research the issue of illegal trade and shipment of e-waste, we examined and proposed the most appropriate preventivon techinques of Clarke’s situational prevention theory to curb the illegal e-waste trade. Situational crime prevention seeks to reduce the opportunities for specific crime by increasing the associated risks and difficulties and reducing the rewards.
In the doctoral dissertation, in the theoretical part, we presented e-waste (terminology, the composition, health, environmental and economic impacts of e-waste, the international and national legal regulation of e-waste and current findings), the situational crime prevention theory (the meaning, the situational crime prevention techniques and current findings).
In the empirical part, we used mixed methods to: 1) conduct a case study of detected (il)legal e-waste shipment cases; 2) analyse Slovenian penal policy for e-waste cases, 3) analyse the statistical data and 4) conduct a partially structured interview with three groups (enforcement authority; e-waste management schemes; individuals who illegally engage in e-waste and “free riders”). We asked "free riders" (who are producers or distributors of electrical and electronic equipment (e-equipment), but do not have a contract with one of management schemes for e-waste) about their e-waste management.
The results of the interviews showed that illegal management and export of e-waste in Slovenia remain almost unobserved. More problematic is the the theft of valuable materials and metals from e-waste by individual people and selling on to Slovenian companies which purchase the valuable and precious metals. »Free riders« gave superficial responses, and all of them affirmed that they handled e-waste properly.The penal policy for e-waste is very rare. Meaning, it is very hard to prove the pollution and endangered of human health, which are direct result of improper handling of e-waste or illegal shipment of e-waste.
The findings from the empirical work formed the basis for adapting the techniques of the situational crime prevention model. For Slovenia, these situational crime prevention techniques are suitable as follows: raising consumer awareness; regular surveillance of enforcement authorities over actors dealing with e-waste; training of and additional employment in the staff of enforcement authorities; formation of a special group for controlling cross-border shipments of (e-)waste; ensuring appropriate, secure premises for collection and storage of e-waste; unification of the official database for producers/manufacturers and distributors of e-equipment; creation of two e-waste management schemes; reduction in prices for and greater availability of spare parts for non-functioning or defective e-equipment; reduction in purchase value for the valuable metals that are extracted from e-waste in order to deter illegal dismantling of e-waste.|