Leading businesses launch 'plastic credit' system

14th June 2019

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Matthew Blaikie

A 'plastic credit' system similar to carbon credits has been launched by a group of leading businesses to support recovery and recycling activities worldwide.

Nestlé, and Veolia are among the founders of the 3R Initiative, which will see companies buy credits to offset their plastic packaging that is difficult to eradicate.

Rigorous rules will be set for the number and value of credits, with the revenue used to help projects in “plastic leakage hotspots“ in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

“To solve the problem of plastic pollution, we need market-based solutions that can be used at scale and replicated worldwide, said Pedro Moura Costa, president of environmental market developer BVRio.

Market instruments such as credits provide the basis for a cost efficient and environmentally sound solution for plastic recovery and recycling.“

Besides tackling plastic waste, the 3R Initiative's 'reduce, recover and recycle' crediting mechanism will also bring direct social benefits for some of the world's poorest people.

For example, it will allow disadvantaged waste pickers in Brazil to generate extra income by selling plastic waste recovery credits, which will also help unlock infrastructure investments in Southeast Asia.

Another component of the initiative is the 3R Corporate Standard, which will be used to assess corporations' efforts to tackle plastic waste inside and outside their value chains.

It is third-party certified, so companies can credibly quantify the impacts of their recovery and recycling investments.

“To date, there has been too little investment in waste recovery and recycling efforts, especially in the developing world where support is most needed, Costa continued.

“The 3R Initiative offers corporations the possibility of demonstrating to the public that they are willing and able to fight plastic pollution, with the goal of transforming unsustainable business models into truly circular operating systems.“

Image credit: Shutterstock

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