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Frequent Questions on International Agreements on Transboundary Shipments of Waste

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What is the OECD?

The OECD is an international organization established in 1960 to assist Member countries in achieving sustainable economic growth, employment, and an increased standard of living, while simultaneously ensuring the protection of human health and the environment. OECD Member countries concern themselves with a host of international socio-economic and political issues, including environmental issues such as the transboundary movement of waste, which is the subject of the final rule.

As of November 2020, there are 37 OECD Member countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The OECD website Exit contains the most current list of OECD Member countries and updates. Member countries approved by the OECD to participate in transboundary movements of waste for recovery between member countries can be found at International Agreements on Transboundary Shipments of Hazardous Waste.

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How does the OECD control the shipment of hazardous waste between Member countries?

On March 30, 1992, the OECD passed a multilateral waste agreement, called a decision, that applies to transboundary movements of waste destined for recovery operations between OECD Member countries ("Decision of the Council C(92)39/Final Concerning the Control of Transfrontier Movements of Waste Destined for Recovery"). The 1992 Decision provides a framework for OECD Member countries to control transboundary movement of recoverable waste in an environmentally sound manner.

On June 14, 2001, the OECD Council amended the 1992 Decision by adopting ‘‘Revision of Decision C(92)30/FINAL on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations’’. The goal of the 2001 OECD Decision was to harmonize the procedures and requirements of the OECD with those of the Basel Convention and to eliminate duplicative activities between the two international organizations as much as practical.

Subsequent to the 2001 OECD Decision, an addendum, C(2001)107/ADD1, which consists of revised versions of the notification and movement documents and the instructions to complete them, was adopted by the OECD Council on February 28, 2002. The addendum was incorporated into the 2001 OECD Decision as section C of Appendix 8, and the combined version was issued in May 2002 as C(2001)107/FINAL. On March 30, 2004, the OECD Council adopted C(2004)20, which updated the OECD waste lists, entitled ‘‘Appendix 3: List of Wastes Subject to the Green Control Procedure’’ (also known as the Green list) and ‘‘Appendix 4: List of Wastes Subject to the Amber Control Procedure’’ (also known as the Amber List). To the extent possible, the Green and Amber Lists were revised based on the amendments made to Annexes II, VIII, and IX of the Basel Convention in November 2003. The 2001 OECD Decision was further amended in November 2005 and November 2008. The OECD Council decisions are collectively referred to as the Amended 2001 OECD Decision.

For more information on the OECD Council decisions on the shipment of waste and the consolidated text of the Amended 2001 OECD Decision, please visit the OECD Control System for waste recovery Web page Exit.

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Why is the United States required to comply with OECD Council Decisions?

OECD Council Decisions are international agreements that create binding commitments on the United States under the terms of the OECD Convention. By consenting to the Amended 2001 Decision, the United States Government agreed to promulgate regulations necessary to ensure that the United States can implement the agreement.

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Where do I find the green and amber lists of waste?

The green and amber lists of wastes contained in the Guidance Manual for the Amended 2001 OECD Decision Exit are incorporated by reference in 40 CFR section 260.11. The guidance manual with the complete green and amber lists is also available in the docket in the Original copyright document for OECD Guidance Manual for the Control of Transboundary Movements of Recoverable Wastes.

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Why hasn't the United States ratified the Basel Convention?

The United States signed the Basel Convention in 1990 and the Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification in 1992, but before the President can ratify the treaty, implementing legislation is required. 

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What is the relationship between the OECD Multilateral Waste Agreement and the Basel Convention?

The Basel Convention is a multilateral agreement governing all transboundary movements of hazardous waste for recovery or disposal. As of November 2020, 187 countries and the European Commission are parties to the Basel Convention Exit, but the United States is not a party. The OECD waste agreement is a multilateral international agreement governing the smaller subset of transboundary movements of hazardous waste sent for recovery only between the OECD Member countries participating in the OECD multilateral waste agreement. This agreement qualifies as an Article 11 multilateral agreement under the Basel Convention and is considered to provide a level of environmentally sound management equivalent to that of the Basel Convention requirements. The United States is a Member of the OECD.

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