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:
Legally-binding decisions
  • 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:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Natural Resources Canada, Global Affairs Canada
For further information:
Web links:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
October 2018
Reference #:

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.


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, 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;
  • 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 on Resource Productivity and Waste adopts biennial work programmes to undertake projects and studies covering a range of relevant issues. The 2017-18 work program includes:

  1. continuation of work from 2015-16 to support primary and secondary materials extraction, production and processing and a simplified database on the transboundary movements of waste;
  2. new work on the economic effects of transitioning to a circular economy, aligning waste and chemical policies to improve plastics recycling, and improving markets for secondary plastics; and
  3. collaborative work with other parts of the OECD (e.g. cities and sustainable materials management, and impacts on material resources and the environment from moving to a low carbon economy).

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 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


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:

  • the exchange of scientific knowledge and data, for example, through its contribution to the expert group’s work to develop a life cycle assessment of sustainable construction materials;
  • the sharing of policy work and expertise on promoting sustainable materials management. For example, Environment and Climate Change Canada contributed a Canadian case study on waste electrical and electronic equipment as part of the review of OECD guidance related to extended producer responsibility schemes;
  • the development of knowledge in new areas of work concerning nanomaterials in the waste streams, including the impact of nanomaterials on waste management processes and practices.


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:

  • 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
  • Sustainable materials management: case studies (e.g. critical metals in mobile devices)
  • Sustainable Materials Management - Making Better Use of Resources, 2012;
  • Resource Productivity in the G8 and the OECD;
  • Greenhouse gas emissions and the potential for mitigation from materials management within OECD countries.


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. Participation in accession and post-accession discussions prepare Canada to effectively manage transboundary movement requests from new OECD countries.

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