plastic ocean beach
Max Craipeau of Greencore Resources says the audit and certification process Greencore pursued helps ensure the scrap his company handles has been diverted from an alternative outcome as litter.
Image provided by Greencore Resources Ltd.

Greencore Indonesia facility earns ocean-bound plastics certification

Plastics recycler calls Control Union certification an independent third-party system that authenticates scrap as ocean bound.

April 14, 2021

Hong Kong-based Greencore Resources Ltd. has announced receiving a certification for its Indonesia plastics recycling facility it says authenticates that it reprocesses ocean-bound plastic in that nation—which may be the foremost contributor to discarded plastic in the world’s oceans.

Max Craipeau, the company’s CEO, says China had been the world’s largest marine polluter, but it has devoted resources to prevent its contributions, causing Indonesia to move into the dubious first position.

Craipeau says that “taking into consideration” Indonesia’s ranking, Greencore decided to pursue certification demonstrating that its existing plastics reprocessing plant in Surabaya, Indonesia, was using ocean-bound plastics (OBP).

“We decided to team up with the world’s first third-party verified label to avoid OBP waste reaching marine environments: the Ocean Bound Plastic Certification developed by Zero Plastic Oceans and overseen by Control Union,” says Craipeau, who also serves as chair of the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) Tyres & Rubber Committee and is a board member of the BIR Plastics Committee.

Netherlands-based Control Union and France-based Zero Plastic Oceans launched the OBP certification program last year.

Adds Craipeau, “We decided to have our Indonesia factory focusing solely on ocean-bound plastic recycling—organizing the collection and then the recycling in our own facility in Surabaya of such at-risk plastics.” The Surabaya facility collects and reprocess polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polycarbonate (PC), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyamide (PA) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) scrap.

Craipeau says gaining certification involved “months of preparation for the onsite audit (the whole chain of custody is third-party audited from A to Z), both from an environmental and social point of view.” He says Greencore’s Surabaya facility received its certificate in early April, making it “the first recycling company that is ocean-bound-plastic third-party certified in Indonesia, the world’s largest marine polluter.”

The France-born recycler says he is most proud of the authenticity of the OBP certification. “Many recyclers and brands have adopted a questionable approach in their ocean-bound plastic marketing, claiming whatever they want without any third-party independent verification or audits.”

He continues, “Some are using so-called ‘social enterprises’ to have a certification done, but these social enterprises get a fee per ton, so it can be counterproductive. What’s the incentive for these companies to reject batches if they are paid by the ton?”

Craipeau calls the certification program launched by Zero Plastic Oceans and Control Union “really the only program that offers authenticity on the claims for brand owners. It’s independent and transparent, it’s the world’s first and it answers to the academic definition of ocean-bound plastic.”

He also says the OBP label “ensures consumers and certification holders that no child labor has been used in the whole chain of collection and treatment of plastic waste, nor in the product manufacturing; that waste pickers have been paid a fair price for their work; that all OBP collected has been treated to the highest available environmental standards; and that all actors on the value chain respect international social and environmental standards.”

Greencore also has “decided to register a trademark reflecting our philosophy: SEArcular searcularplastics.com, where ocean plastic prevention meets circularity, as the plastic collected is recycled into secondary raw materials (flakes, pellets) to make new bottles, cups, etc., over and over again.”