Decisions about waste: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Official title: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Decisions related to Wastes

Subject category:
Chemicals & Wastes
Type of agreement / instrument:
Multilateral
Form:
Legally-binding decisions
Status:
  • On December 14, 1960, 20 countries originally signed the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Signed by Canada: December 14, 1960.
  • Ratified by Canada: April 10, 1961.
  • Decisions are legally binding on all member countries that do not abstain at the time they are adopted.
  • Canada is an ongoing member of the OECD
Lead & partner departments:
Lead:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Partners:
Natural Resources Canada, Global Affairs Canada
For further information:
Web links:
Contacts:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
January 2020
Reference #:
A20/EN

Plain language summary

The OECD Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste looks at how waste management and resource efficiency practices could be improved across OECD countries and beyond. Participation in this OECD working party is important because it allows Canada to gather information on emerging issues such as management of hazardous waste and adoption of circular economy practices. It also allows Canada to participate in the OECD system for the movement of waste between different member countries. Canada is an active contributor to this working party, providing information on best practices in Canada (e.g., extended producer responsibility schemes) and informing the direction of reports and studies by the working party.

Objective

The Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste was established in 2011 and mandated to define, oversee and coordinate the Environment Policy Committee’s (EPOC) work programme on policies to improve resource productivity and circular economy, reduce the environmental impact of waste generation and improve waste management.

Key elements

OECD Council Decisions Related to wastes:

  • Decision of the Council concerning the Control of Transboundary Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations C(2001)107;
  • Council Recommendation on Resource Productivity (OECD/LEGAL/0358)
  • Decision-Recommendation of the Council on the Reduction of Transfrontier Movements of Wastes C(90)178;
  • Decision of the Council on Transfrontier Movements of Hazardous Wastes C(88)90;
  • Decision-Recommendation of the Council on Exports of Hazardous Wastes from the OECD area C(86)64;
  • Decision-Recommendation of the Council on Transfrontier Movements of Hazardous Wastes C(83)180.

The Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste also deals with a number of recommendations adopted over the years to advance the implementation of policies and share experiences with OECD and non-OECD members.

The Working Party adopts biennial work programmes to undertake projects and studies covering a range of relevant issues. The 2019-20 work program includes reports on

  1. circular economy, including macroeconomic consequences of transition towards the circular economy, plastic and the environment, and digitization and the circular economy;
  2. assessment and management of hazardous household waste;
  3. promoting resource efficiency in value chains and the extractive industries; and
  4. economic instruments for resource efficiency, including extended producer responsibility, food waste prevention.

Expected results

The work within the OECD Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste is expected to help member countries develop and implement policies and recommendations to improve resource productivity, circular economy and the environmentally sound management of wastes containing hazardous chemicals. It is also expected to contribute to member countries’ effective management of transboundary movement requests with other OECD members.

Canada’s involvement

These activities are important to Canada because they influence the development of policy objectives domestically. Canada participates in discussions that align with its objectives and priorities with regards to resource productivity, circular economy and sound management of hazardous wastes through information and data sharing and development of technical papers. Canada is also active in discussions concerning transboundary movement requirements and new members’ accession to the organization, since these directly impact our domestic implementation and management of requests for transboundary movements of wastes.

Results / progress

Activities

Environment and Climate Change Canada contributes to the activities of the Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste and participates in its meetings and in the work of a number of expert groups. Environment and Climate Change Canada engages in discussions and review of documentation related to accession procedures for new members of the OECD. By participating in the OECD Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste, Environment and Climate Change Canada benefits from:

  • Access to an intra-OECD trade regime for waste and recyclable materials destined for recovery to maximize environmental and economic outcomes;
  • the exchange of scientific knowledge, data, and policy outcomes related to waste reduction and management;
  • the sharing of policy work and expertise on promoting environmentally sound management of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials;
  • the development of knowledge in new areas of work concerning circular practices to increase resource efficiency, decouple economic growth from unsustainable use of natural resources, and sustainable product design.

Reports

Reports and documents released by the OECD Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste can be found on the OECD website and cover a wide range of work relating to sustainable materials management, green growth, and environmentally sound management of wastes.

Recent publications:

  • Business Models for the Circular Economy (2019)
  • Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060 (2019)
  • Improving Markets for Recycled Plastics (2018)
  • Extended Producer Responsibility: Updated Guidance for Efficient Waste Management (2016)
  • Nanomaterials in Waste Streams: Current Knowledge on Risks & Impacts (2016)
  • Material Resources, Productivity and the Environment, 2015

Results

Canada’s involvement in the work of the OECD Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste is important to reflect Canadian interests and share experiences in the development of policy and science related to resource efficiency and waste management. It also informs Canada’s international priorities and efforts at the G7, G20, and United Nations Environment Programme. Participation in accession and post-accession discussions prepare Canada to effectively manage transboundary movement requests from new OECD countries.

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