Resource productivity and waste

RE-CIRCLE: resource efficiency and circular economy


CIRCLE project logo
In the last century we have seen an unprecedented increase in the use of natural resources and materials. Global raw material use rose at almost twice the rate of population growth. The OECD finds that efficient use of resources and furthering the transition to a circular economy can help not only material security, but improve environmental and economic outcomes as well.


The project

The OECD RE-CIRCLE project provides policy guidance on resource efficiency and the transition to a circular economy. RE-CIRCLE aims to identify and quantify the impact of policies to guide a range of stakeholders in OECD member countries and emerging market economies through quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Our Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy work focuses on interlinkages between material use and:

  • economic activity
  • labour market
  • international trade
  • climate change
  • digital innovation
  • food security
  • circular business models
  • global value chains
  • plastic waste





1. Quantitative analysis

The quantitative work stream investigates the interlinkages between materials use and economic activity. Modelling tools are used to examine plausible long-term trends in global materials use and assess the macroeconomic implications of policies to stimulate resource efficiency and the transition to a circular economy. These core assessments are complemented by more detailed analysis. Upcoming work assesses labour market and distributional consequences, resulting changes in international trade and links with climate change.

2. Qualitative policy guidance

The qualitative work stream covers specific economic policy instruments, the potential influence of digital innovation, assessments of particular material resources and food security, the role and effects of circular business models on the environment, and resource efficiency in global value chains. Plastics are given particular attention, as they are one of the major material waste streams where circularity is less developed and leakage into the environment is putting marine eco-systems at risk.



Further reading



The RE-CIRCLE work is led by the Environment and Economy Integration Division in the OECD Environment Directorate. For more information, contact:



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