Verra’s “Plastic Program” is a methodology to enable consistent accounting and crediting of a variety of plastic collection and recycling projects. This is a very exciting initiative and I believe should increase the value, and therefore investor focus, on recycling. As we know more than 350 million tonnes of plastic are being used every year, with globally only 10% of this being recycled every year. Given the high recovery rates and recycling of PET bottles, in Sweden as high as 99% (in 2014 !) this means that some Plastic waste types are not being recycled at all. This must become a critical concern for companies and consumers.
Through Verra’s new Plastic Program, new incentives will be created that can help to meaningfully scale up waste collection and recycling to the levels needed to reduce the use of virgin material and keep significant amounts of plastic from entering the environment and the world’s oceans. The Program enables the independent auditing of projects to determine the extent to which they have reduced plastic waste in the environment and/or increased recycling. Credits are issued based on how much plastic is collected and recycled above baseline rates (i.e., what would have happened in the absence of the project activity). This “plastic crediting mechanism” provides an efficient and powerful means of financing activities that verifiably reduce plastic in the environment anywhere in the world.
The development of the Plastic Program was conceptualized and supported by the 3R Initiative of which Verra is a founding member. All projects need to be assessed and the program covers projects as diverse as waste collection from the environment, development of new municipal infrastructure, collection and sorting of recyclable plastic waste, and the development and/or scaling up of new recycling technologies. We will be closely following the development of this standard and examining how Re>Pal’s projects may qualify.