Keywords: Waste disposal policy - Governance - Public and private partnership - Policy outcomes - Democratic accountability
Environmental legislation and especially waste management policy deserve careful consideration for both the composite nature of the problems to be dealt with and the technical solutions that are available within specific social and political contexts. This article concerns the Italian waste management policy over the last two decades and highlights the difficulties in implementing national legislation in the field. Special attention is paid to the Ronchi decree (1997) which introduced the public-private partnership in urban waste collection, treatment and disposal. According to EU directives, the Italian legislation has created a national regulatory framework, leaving implementation choices and responsibilities in the hands of local governments. Looking at actual results, the essay emphasizes the differences in the governance arrangements emerged in the various regions of the country and raises the question of democratic accountability in waste management policy.