The mandate for work on obsolete pesticides, POPs and mercury was given in the original Arctic Council Action Plan to Eliminate Pollution of the Arctic (ACAP), which was adopted by the SAO in 2001. Subsequently ACAP developed projects on brominated flame retardants, cleaner production, creation of integrated hazardous waste management strategy for the Russian Federation (IHWMS) and short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) in line with the respective SAO decisions. ACAP also developed a special project steering group to identify and mitigate contaminant issues in indigenous communities (IPCAP). The work was later on reorganized in Expert Groups.
In 2015, ACAP decided to reorganize the six Expert Groups to improve the efficiency of the work being undertaken by the working group. EGs on Obsolete Pesticides, PCBs and IHWMS were merged as an Expert Group on Hazardous Waste. EG on Dioxins and Furans was merged with the EG on Mercury to be called as the EG on POPs and Mercury. IPCAP and SLCFC EGs continued. In 2018, at its meeting in Toronto, the ACAP WG decided to expand mandate beyond hazardous waste such as liquid and municipal solid waste, as well as plastics and microplastics and agreed that the EG on Hazardous Waste should be renamed to the Expert Group on Waste.
The mandate of the Expert Group on Waste is to develop and facilitate Arctic Council demonstration projects that: