Recycled Material Standard (RMS)

A third party standard and tool to address challenges within the recycling value chain.

The Recycled Material Standard (RMS) is in early development stages and is ultimately meant to serve as a voluntary, market-based tool to be implemented by value chain participants and audited independently by credible third-party certification bodies.  The purpose of the standard is 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 or finished products.

The RMS is being developed by GreenBlue for common packaging materials including paper, plastic, glass and metal, but could be employed for the same materials in markets other than packaging (e.g. the use of recycled plastic in composite lumber).  


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, How2Recycle, CleanGredients, among other projects.



The RMS will use two independent tracking system options which will be defined in separate parts of the standard:

  1. 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 post-consumer and post-industrial sources).  The chain of custody system will allow for claims to be made using either an average percentage method or credit-based claims.
  2. 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.

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 commitments is to increase the use of post-consumer and/or post-industrial recycled materials to replace virgin feedstocks.  In order to have a greater level of assurance, members are increasingly specifying a need for verification or certification of recycled content claims.  

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.  Investment in new technology is often necessary to reprocess commingled or contaminated materials. By establishing a certificate trading scheme based on the Attributes of Recycled Content (ARCs), the RMS standard helps support investment in the development of new capacity for processing recycled materials.  The RMS is being designed for processors using either mechanical or advanced recycling technologies in facilities that meet the criteria that will be set forth in the RMS eligibility guidelines.

Help us shape the RMS

We are currently developing a coalition of interested stakeholders to help with the standards development process.  Ideal RMS Advisory Group candidates will have some experience with certification standards, environmental marketing, waste management or recycling.  

RMS Advisory Group Members will fall in three categories:

  1. Value chain participants – material reprocessors, converters, brand owners, retailers
  2. Environmental Non-Government Organizations (ENGOs)
  3. Government & Academia – local, state or federal government or academic backgrounds

RMS Advisory Group Members should:

  1. Be willing to commit to serving for a two-year term
  2. Be willing to attend two in-person meetings per year
  3. Have at least three years of experience in their membership category


If you are willing to serve or have suggestions for nominations please contact:

Laura Thompson


Interested in just staying in-the-loop on the project? Enter your email below: