Plastic credits are measurable, verifiable, and transferable units representing a specific quantity of plastic that has been collected from the environment, or recycled.
South Pole sees plastic credits as an opportunity for companies to invest in regional collection and recycling infrastructure. Thereby plastic credits can help companies take responsibility in creating the conditions of a circular economy, beyond existing reduction and redesign efforts. We believe plastic credits should work alongside, or enhance, Extended Producer Responsibility regulation.
Regional waste management infrastructure lacks the capacity to capture and recycle all the plastic waste we generate. We all currently rely on regional governments to manage our waste, without any alignment to the companies who design the products and packaging that become waste.
Extended Producer Responsibility legislation offers a local and mandatory solution. Plastic credits on the other hand offer an additional or integrated voluntary and internationally standardized solution.
Companies can address their plastic footprints by buying plastic credits from certified activities that enable the regional scale-up of collection and recycling infrastructure, while supporting community development.
After implementing upstream solutions, businesses can use plastic credits to address their residual footprint. To achieve net zero plastic leakage, companies need to:
Once a company has addressed the plastic leakage from their footprint, they can invest in regional recycling infrastructure by ensuring that an equivalent weight of the plastic they put into the market is recycled. A company can achieve net 100% recycled at end-of-life by:
By addressing plastic leakage through plastic credits, companies take transparent and accountable action for their impact, and drive financing to plastic waste collection & recycling infrastructure.
In 2019, South Pole became a founding advisory member of the 3R Initiative that works towards increasing the accountability of plastic waste reduction efforts.
The 3R Initiative developed two tools:
Learn more about the tools from this Webinar Recording.