GreenBlue develops Recycled Material Standard
Plastic resin pellets
Sustainable Packaging Coalition

GreenBlue develops Recycled Material Standard

Standard will help brands, recycling industry address challenges in incorporating higher amounts of recycled content in packaging products.

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October 7, 2019

Charlottesville, Virginia-based GreenBlue, the parent nonprofit to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), How2Recycle and other programs, has selected NSF International, Ann arbor, Michigan, to facilitate the development of its Recycled Material Standard (RMS). The RMS is meant to serve as a voluntary, market-based tool to address some of the challenges that brands, their suppliers and the recycling industry are facing in trying to incorporate higher amounts of recycled content into packaging materials.

The global standard will help advance adoption of certified material for common packing materials, beginning with plastic, NSF says in a news release.

“GreenBlue and its Sustainable Packaging Coalition partners are coming together with NSF International to address the need for recycled material in packaging at a critical time,” says Joshua Brugeman, program manager for sustainability at NSF International, an independent, global organization that facilitates standards development and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries.

GreenBlue has developed a stakeholder committee comprised of individuals representing bands, manufacturers, nonprofits and sustainability groups to help with the standards development process. Members of the committee include Matthew Realff of Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta; Mickel Knight of Printpack, Atlanta; Rachel Goldstein of Mars Inc., McLean, Virginia; Eric DesRoberts of Ocean Conservancy, Washington; Eadaoin Quinn of EFS Plastic, Ontario, Canada; Jason Pierce of Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport, Tennessee;  Kate Davenport of Eureka Recycling, Minneapolis, Minnesota;  Andy Smith of King County, Washington; and Jennifer McCracken of HAVI, Downers Grove, Illinois.

“The stakeholder committee for the RMS is an important group of individuals who are ready to support the development of robust criteria for utilizing recycled materials,” says Rachel Goldstein, global sustainable packaging senior manager at Mars Inc. and a GreenBlue board member.

The RMS will use two independent tracking system options, which will be defined in separate parts of the standard. The chain of custody (CoC) system will specify material management requirements within an organization in order to demonstrate that recycled content materials and products purchased, labelled and sold as RMS certified originate from recovered materials derived from postconsumer and postindustrial sources.

The attributes of recycled content (ARCs) will be a certificate-based trading scheme tracked through a registration body to provide an investment mechanism for new processing capacity. Organizations purchasing ARCs will help support the development of new, additional capacity for processing recycled materials. Purchasing ARCs will also allow companies to communicate the environmental benefits associated with these materials in place of virgin raw materials.

Research has shown that one of the most prevalent corporate commitments is to increase the use of postconsumer or postindustrial recycled materials to replace virgin feedstocks, SPC says. Members are increasingly specifying a need for verification or certification of recycled content claims. In addition, the ability to source affordable, primary packaging materials with recycled content that meets performance needs is one of the limiting factors to increasing the use of recycled content. By establishing a certificate trading scheme, the RMS standard helps support investment in the development of new capacity for processing recycled materials, SPC says.

The RMS stakeholder committee will meet during SPC Advance Oct. 7-9 in Denver to review an initial draft of the requirements. Over the next several months, discussions will continue with the stakeholder committee as the standard is developed with a projected publication date in early 2021.