This paper aims at analysing the following two issues: (i) what are the main factors that have stimulated the use of organised waste trafficking in Italy, and (ii) the extent to which the existing enforcement system has been able to offer a more or less effective form of deterrence. The results of the analysis innovate economic crime literature not only because a particular type of offense is analysed, such as the environmental one so far neglected by literature, but also because Italy is an important case study, given the cumbersome presence of mafias and various criminal systems operating in different illegal markets. Furthermore, the empirical analysis is based on an original database since it takes a census of the total number of investigations concluded with the ordering of precautionary measures from 2002 - the year of the first application of art. 260 - to 2015. The rest of the paper is articulated as follows: section 2 analyses the main features of the criminal phenomenon linked to organized waste trafficking. Section 3 briefly summarizes the main theoretical and empirical reference literature, emphasizing the theoretical hypotheses empirically tested. Section 4 describes the database and empirical model used; its results are outlined in section 5. Section 6 offers some concluding remarks.