About the LIFE SMART Waste project

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The LIFE SMART Waste project (LIFE13-ENV/UK/000549) is an innovative partnership between key European bodies involved with addressing waste crime. The project will run from June 2014 to May 2020, and has been made possible with the support of EU LIFE+ funding.

Infographic Background Objectives Expected results Progress-to-date Project partners


LSW infographic (2019)

To download a summary of the LIFE SMART Waste project and supporting information, visit our publications page.


Waste streams that are of low quality and value, or are difficult to treat, persistently attract criminal activities that profit at the expense of the environment and legitimate operators in Europe’s waste industry. These illegal practises are ever-changing and are not easily visible.

For environmental and partner bodies, there are big gaps in understanding how such illegal markets behave and how to tackle criminal behaviour. This poses major challenges, but also opportunities for innovation.


The overarching goal of the LIFE SMART Waste project is to demonstrate innovative ways of understanding, tackling and reducing waste-related crime. The project will develop, test and apply new and modern ways of working, and demonstrate direct interventions to assess and target illegality in waste streams.

Collaboration is key to the project's innovative approach. The project envisages environmental bodies working together to: set intelligence and investigatory objectives using common tools for shared areas of concern; identify vulnerabilities; and tackle illegality. Collaborations are likely to involve non-environmental bodies - such as the police, customs or financial authorities - for certain interventions.

Specific objectives are:

  • To develop and demonstrate innovative intelligence gathering and analytical approaches to identify and understand waste crime issues associated with ‘challenging’ waste streams, problem waste operators and illegal waste activities
  • To design innovative intelligence-led interventions, and demonstrate how these can be used to tackle waste crime issues and reduce their impacts in targeted areas
  • To communicate the project results and learning to others, selling the benefits of the approach in tackling waste crime, and to influence European policy and legislative changes.

Expected results

  • New practices and technologies tested and available for use by interested enforcement agencies in Europe, with six or more environment or enforcement agencies (not participating in the project) adopting a product in their environmental crime work
  • An online communications platform available for use by interested enforcement agencies with three or more agencies (not participating in the project) using the 'Hub' beyond the life of the project
  • Coalitions, resource and information sharing between regulatory or enforcement bodies, with at least four agency partnerships sustained or created after the project is finished.
  • Reports to relevant EU bodies recommending policy or legislative interventions to disrupt or mitigate illegal behaviours in certain waste markets, with one short-term and one longer-term policy or legislative change recommendation adopted, and one domestic policy change intervention adopted in a Member State
  • Case studies detailing the application of smart, intelligence-led regulation and its benefits, including awareness-raising activities
  • Training packages and courses for enforcement organisations involved with the environment and/or waste management markets, with six agencies (not participating in the project) adopting intelligence-led and/or novel tools
  • Illegal waste practice interventions applied within Member States to disrupt or mitigate illegal behaviours, with at least three illegal operations detected and disrupted during the lifetime of the project and a minimum of €0.5 million saved by stopping criminal activity.


The LIFE SMART Waste project is structured to meet the contractual requirements of the LIFE Grant Agreement and the LIFE Common Provisions 2013. The LIFE actions have been separated into seven work streams as follows:

  • Intelligence Communications Hub (Actions B1, B2 & B9)
  • Tools, Approaches & Techniques (Actions B3-B8)
  • Investigations & Intelligence (Actions B10-B11)
  • Interventions (Actions B12-B16)
  • Project Impact Monitoring (Actions C1-C3)
  • Communication and dissemination actions (Actions D1-D9)
  • Project Management (Actions E1-E3)

A ‘Progress on technical actions’ report (inclusive of references to the project’s publications) was published in May 2019 and a brief update for each of the project's LIFE actions is also available in a quarterly progress-to-date report.

Project Partners

Follow the links for details of our project partners and External Steering Group.