Raw materials are essential for the global economy and future development depends on their continued supply. Like fossil fuels, minerals are non-renewable. In general, their deposits in the Earth’s crust are also geographically clustered, making security of supply a potential risk. The purpose of this report is to perform for the first time an analysis of critical minerals for the OECD countries as a whole.
Over the past two decades, OECD governments, the private sector and others have spent considerable resources on environmental protection and waste reduction. Yet, waste generation is still on the rise. To help governments make further progress in this area, the OECD is now engaging in an effort to establish an inventory of waste prevention measures that are in place and to identify the most effective policies.
When considering a by-product, can this material or waste be used in another industry or in another manufacturing process instead of putting it into the environment, moving “from waste to resources” as the OECD says?
Improving resource productivity and ensuring a sustainable resource and materials management building on the principle of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) is a central element of green growth policies. It helps to improve the environment, by reducing the amount of resources that the economy requires and diminishing the associated environmental impacts, and sustain economic growth by securing adequate supplies of materials and improving competitiveness. To be successful such policies need to be founded on a good understanding of how minerals, metals, timber or other materials flow through the economy throughout their life cycle, and of how this affects the productivity of the economy and the quality of the environment. This report contributes to this understanding. It describes the material basis of OECD economies and provides a factual analysis of material flows and resource productivity in OECD countries in a global context. It considers the production and consumption of materials, as well as their international flows and available stocks, and the environmental implications associated with their use. It also describes some of the challenges and opportunities associated with selected materials and products that are internationally-significant, both in economic and environmental terms (aluminium, copper, iron and steel, paper, phosphate rock and rare earth elements).
Let’s be honest, waste reduction doesn’t have much of a ring to it. To many, it’s a complex policy issue without much hope if consumers keep throwing their cans away in the street.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is increasingly recognised worldwide as an efficient waste management policy to help improve recycling and reduce landfilling of products and materials. This Forum took place on 17-19 June 2014, in Tokyo, Japan, to identify key challenges and opportunities for further developing EPR policies.
Have you ever wondered who was paying to recycle that plastic bottle you just threw away?
The OECD Environmental Strategy clearly outlines the need for governments to look for integrated solutions such as sustainable materials management to address current environmental concerns. Ideally public authorities should try to internalise all negative environmental externalities in the prices facing firms and consumers at all stages of the life-cycle.
The OECD is developing international policies to promote and harmonise the environmentally sound management (ESM) of wastes within the OECD area.
The OECD Council approved the Opinion of the Environment Policy Committee regarding the compliance by Israel with the OECD Decision C(2001)107/FINAL which establishes the OECD Control system for waste destined for recovery. Since 1992, transboundary movements of recyclable wastes between OECD countries are regulated by this Decision, established by OECD Council, and designed as an agreement under Article 11 of the Basel Convention.