The Recycled Material Standard (RMS) will serve as a voluntary, market-based tool to address some of the challenges that brands, their suppliers, and the recycling industry face in trying to incorporate higher amounts of recycled content into packaging or finished products.
GreenBlue is developing the RMS as a global standard with support from NSF International and the RMS Advisory Committee. The standard will initially focus on plastic packaging in North America and eventually will incorporate other common materials including paper and glass. The standard can also be used for the same materials in markets other than packaging (e.g. the use of recycled plastic in toys, the automotive sector, or building products).
GreenBlue is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to the sustainable use of materials in society. GreenBlue is the parent nonprofit of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), How2Recycle, and CleanGredients, among other projects.
The RMS will use two independent tracking systems which are defined in separate parts of the standard:
- The chain of custody system will specify material management requirements along the full value chain in order to assure the accuracy and transparency of claims associated with recycled materials. The chain of custody system will allow for claims to be made using either an average percentage method or mass balance based claims and will include traceability for both post-consumer and post-industrial sources.
- The attributes of recycled content (ARCs) will be a certificate-based trading scheme tracked through a secure registration platform. Organizations purchasing ARCs will help support the development of new, additional capacity for processing recycled materials through increased demand for recycled materials. Purchasing ARCs will also allow companies to communicate the environmental benefits associated with these materials instead of virgin raw materials.
How SPC members can use the Recycled Material Standard:
Sustainable Packaging Coalition members demonstrate their leadership through various corporate commitments related to packaging. Research has shown that one of the most prevalent packaging goals is to increase the use of post-consumer and/or post-industrial recycled materials to replace virgin feedstocks. Members are increasingly requiring verification or certification of recycled content claims across the full value chain. The RMS will offer that assurance mechanism.
It is currently difficult to source packaging materials containing recycled content that meet performance needs. Investment in new technology is often necessary to reprocess commingled or contaminated materials. The Attributes of Recycled Content (ARCs) trading system establishes a funding mechanism to advance technology investments made by both mechanical and chemical recycling facilities. Companies purchasing ARCs will be able to demonstrate their support for investments in recycling technology.
The standard is currently in a pilot phase with supply chain participants across the full value chain from MRF sortation to brands and including both mechanical and chemical recycling. Participants include:
Members of the RMS Advisory Committee:
- Kate Davenport, Co-President, Eureka Recycling
- Tiffani Burt, Ph.D., Executive Director, Materials Lifecycle Innovation & Sustainability, Sealed Air
- Edith Cecchini, Project Director, Corporate Strategy and Policy, Ocean Conservancy
- Rachel Goldstein, Global Packaging Sustainability, Mars, Incorporated and Member,
GreenBlue Board of Directors
- Mickel Knight, Sustainable Packaging Senior Research Engineer, Printpack
- Jennifer McCracken, Director, Sustainability, HAVI
- C. Jason Pierce, Group Leader, Circular Economy and Life Cycle Assessment, Eastman
- Eadaoin Quinn, Director, Business Development and Procurement, EFS-plastics, Inc.
- Matthew Realff, Ph.D., Professor, David Wang Senior Faculty Fellow, School of Chemical
and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Tech and Member, GreenBlue Board of Directors
- Andy Smith, Zero Waste Markets Program Manager, King County, WA
To learn more, download this guide.
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