Published 2 years ago.
About a 6 minute read.
Image: Waste pickers in Nairobi, Kenya | All images by Anjali Malpani for rePurpose Global
Plastic credits are poised to generate the momentum necessary to launch a circular plastic economy and give brands the opportunity to act. In order for brands to take action, they will need to follow these four priorities …
The world’s plastic crisis is only growing worse: Plastic production continues
to expand and single-use plastic has skyrocketed, thanks to
COVID — and frankly, waste management cannot keep up.
To make matters more challenging, there is no silver bullet to the plastic
crisis. Our society requires plastic to function, but its consumption and
disposal need to change drastically. As trillions of
circulate our oceans and plastics choke our environment, accelerating system
change is essential and imminently required.
Aggravating the issue is the complexity of tackling the severe environmental and
human costs. Currently, the ethical disposal and management of waste are starkly
underfunded. In the next 20 years, we need $600
to bridge the evident funding gap in our system and turn this crisis around.
However, there is a silver lining: If we enable systemic solutions now, we may
still turn the clock in our favour. The question to ask is, what is being done?
Truly sustainable businesses address the many interconnected social and environmental challenges that brands and their customers face — and strive for net-positive outcomes and impacts, in addition to growth. SB's latest guidebook can help your company navigate the path toward enhanced brand sustainability with key insights, actionable steps and a holistic framework that defines a roadmap for good growth.
Our society needs to empower innovations that can tackle plastic waste and spur
the adoption of circular economy
One such tool up for the task is plastic credits. In a nutshell, purchasing
a single plastic credit enables a kg of plastic waste to be diverted from
The adoption of plastic credits is relatively novel, and the plastic credit
market is still taking shape. Corporate dollars constitute the accelerating
force behind the flow of funding to plastic-waste management initiatives.
rePurpose Global's Customer Success Manager, Arpitha Sandeep (R), visits with plastic-waste pickers in Goa, India
As the plastic credit market continues to gain ground, the need for
standardization has been a priority. The resulting Plastic Waste Reduction
Standard, headed by Verra and launching today, has
evolved from months of toiling over drafts and countless consultations. The
coalition of leaders contributing to its development includes major bodies such
as BVRio and the 3R
Initiative; brands including Danone,
Veolia and Tetra Pak; and
impact platforms such as rePurpose
The plastic credit market’s standardization defines a roadmap for plastic
reduction, recovery and recycling through a transparent and verifiable impact
process. The Plastic Waste Reduction Standard provides clear methodologies for
generating plastic credits and comprehensive guidelines for corporate plastic
Under this framework, brands can take action combatting their plastic footprint,
by purchasing rigorously assessed and verified plastic credits.
A critical foundation for the assessment process and the plastic credit market
is the concept of additionality: Each plastic credit must account for one
additional kg of plastic waste otherwise bound for nature. An example explaining
additionality is the recovery of non-recyclable, multi-layered plastic waste —
specifically, when the recovery occurs in a geography such as rural India,
where such materials have no after-market value. Thanks to plastic credit
financing, the collection, processing and end-use of the neglected plastic waste
can be ensured.
The plastic credit market is creating an opportunity for brands to seize the
moment, convert their reduction claim into action, and answer the call of their
customers and stakeholders. In fact, 88 percent of
want brands to make a positive impact. Brands such as Grove
Collaborative and The Hut
Group's Myvegan brand have taken the initiative and used plastic credits
to amplify their existing sustainability strategies. Both brands have set a
precedent by becoming certified Plastic
by financing the removal of as much nature-bound plastic waste as their product line creates.
As the call for environmental action grows louder, corporate stewardship is the
need of the hour. While the journey may seem daunting, taking plastic-waste
reduction actions — including becoming certified Plastic Neutral — is attainable
for brands of any size, anywhere in the world.
Image credit: rePurpose Global
Conscious action is the climate economy's new currency. Individuals and brands
recognize the need to reduce their plastic footprint; however, plastic
alternatives are not always a cost-effective solution. Welcome to the plastic
Plastic credits are poised to generate the momentum necessary to launch a
circular plastic economy and give brands the opportunity to act. In order for
brands to take action, they will need to follow these four priorities:
The first step of taking action is to calculate a brand's plastic footprint
through a specialist organization. Much like one’s carbon footprint, each brand
will need to measure the
and polymer of plastics being used in their supply chain, packaging and
products. Primarily, a plastic waste audit can help illuminate where and how
your brand can internally reduce its plastic footprint and set targets for the
future. Additionally, understanding quantity and quality will set the stage for
the purchase of plastic credits to take immediate action against your remaining
Plastic credits play a dual role in the battle against plastic pollution. On the
one hand, they finance plastic-waste removal projects. These projects often
focus their recovery on geographies devastated by plastic waste, lacking
formalized recycling, or inundated with marine plastic
On the other hand, plastic credit funding enables brands to support plastic
action beyond their own footprint — by accelerating the avoidance, reduction and
redesign of plastic out of the system entirely. These plastic credit financing
projects are usually platform-specific; but a great example is the rePurpose
Global’s collaboration with Saathi Pads — an
India-based manufacturer of plastic-free, biodegradable sanitary pads. Through
plastic credit financing, they are able to subsidize the cost of distributing
Saathi Pads to marginalized community members in Gujarat, India — avoiding
single-use plastic-containing menstrual pads entirely.
Reduction targets frequent the environmental newsfeeds; but they’re often
vague, with loose
Setting actionable, internal plastic-waste reduction targets and milestones is
key to every credible reduction strategy. Each goal should be specific and
encompass six characteristics: informed, measurable, precise,
ambitious, comprehensive and timely. Committing to these claims will
help define each brand’s corporate stewardship and set an industry precedent.
To ensure transparency, every plastic credit will be rigorously monitored to
verify the impact created — mandating accountability through both internal and
external inspections. Personnel will monitor every stage of the impact project
supply chain to ensure impact delivery. As a result, compliance and
environmental metrics will be communicated through a client dashboard. Moreover,
a registry system will be maintained to store data on all registered impact
projects to track generation, retirement and cancellation of credits.
Plastic-waste pickers in Goa, India
The plastic credit market displays the unique potential to not only help the
world fight the plastic waste epidemic but lead us in the right direction to
avoid, reduce and redesign plastic entirely out of our system. Effectively, we
need brands to guide the way and answer the call to truly empower the plastic
credit market. There is still time to create a world without plastic, but we
must band together. When brands and consumers join forces to fight the plastic
waste problem and raise their voices together, conscious action will surge. It’s
time we turned the tide.
Published Feb 10, 2021 7am EST / 4am PST / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET