Exploration and Assessment of the Governance and Management of the Electrical and Electronic Waste Sector in Italy.
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Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest-growing waste streams that is currently generated. Solid waste is a threatening issue, but e-waste is particularly toxic and urgent. It contains chemicals and materials that if not correctly dispose of are toxic for human health and extremely polluting for the environment. This research aimed at comprehending the governance and organizational structure and the stakeholders’ dynamics in a system adopting the EPR approach. To increase the general comprehension of EPR implementation and e-waste governance, the thesis focused on the governance and management of e-waste and the EPR system, with a case study in Italy. The governance and the organization of e-waste management were firstly studied through a policy analysis. Linked to this the performances of e-waste collection have been analysed between 2005 and 2020, to assess if the policy intentions were achieved in the performances. In parallel, a stakeholder analysis was performed. The result of this first phase showed that Italy built a complex bureaucratic system to fulfil EPR responsibilities, that are divided among various actors. The political sector appears quite lacking compared to the business sector that is efficient and technologically advances. The EPR implementation positively influenced the collection rate, efficiency, and recycling rates. However, the performances did not meet the European target and different areas need to be improved. To identify these areas, the strengths and weaknesses of the Italian system were assessed through a framework with 4 categories and 21 indicators. The framework was based on the study of the strength and weaknesses of the EPR systems and the success factors and implementations barriers for efficient e-waste management. Considering that Italy is vulnerable to criminal activities, a set of indicators to test the vulnerability of the system to criminality were added to the assessment framework. The analysis showed the main weaknesses relates to a legislation and regulation system, weak control and inspection mechanisms, a strong presence of the informal sector and free riders. Lastly, the ERP system implemented in Italy, as in many other countries, does not contribute significantly to the achievement of the eco-design goal.