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Recycled Material Standard launches to advance the use of recycled plastics

The standard is a voluntary, market-based framework to ensure consistent labeling of products that contain or support certified recycled plastic.

November 15, 2021

GreenBlue, a Charlottesville, Virginia-based environmental nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable use of materials, and the Recycled Material Standard (RMS) team have officially launched the RMS and are ready for brands and suppliers in the plastics recycling value chain to pursue RMS certification.

The RMS is a voluntary, market-based framework to ensure consistent labeling of products and packaging that contain or support certified recycled material. It has been developed as a multistakeholder initiative using a consensus process.

According to a news release from GreenBlue and RMS, the RMS offers average recycled content and mass balance allocation claims as well as a certificate trading system that channels investments to recyclers. The two groups say this allows for targeted investments to help grow the supply of available recycled materials. Those seeking certification can apply to the program, access supporting documents and connect with a certification body to pursue an audit.

“The RMS promises to be the most comprehensive standard available for North American plastics supply chain members,” says Laura Thompson, director of the RMS. “When recyclers, converters and brands learn about the RMS, they understand the opportunity it provides to advance the use of recycled materials and help producers reduce their reliance on virgin plastics.”

The RMS will help track and trace the use of recycled materials in both mechanical and chemical recycling systems. Through the purchase and trade of attributes of recycled content (ARC) certificates, companies can invest in the recycling system. RMS and GreenBlue report that because certified recyclers can immediately generate ARCs, brands can purchase and use credits, helping to expand the supply of recycled materials.

The standard supports verification of postconsumer and postindustrial plastics to enable a full and accurate accounting of the use of all types of recycled plastics. The RMS also offers multisite certification, which GreenBlue and RMS say is an advantage for larger companies operating multiple locations in North America.

“The RMS really reflects a solution to the challenges that we’ve been hearing from the plastics industry when it comes to meeting circularity goals,” says Nina Goodrich, executive director of GreenBlue, the parent organization that supported the development of the RMS.

A copy of the standard, along with the plastics module and other supporting documents can be downloaded here.