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.

GreenBlue is developing the RMS as a global standard with support from NSF and the RMS Advisory Committee. The standard will start by addressing plastic packaging in North America, and eventually the RMS will incorporate other common packaging materials including paper and glass. The standard could be used for the same materials in markets other than packaging (e.g. the use of recycled plastic in plastic toys or composite lumber).”

Members of the RMS Advisory Committee:

  • Kate Davenport, Co-President, Eureka Recycling
  • Eric DesRoberts, Senior Manager, Trash Free Seas® Program, 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
    Chemical Company
  • 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

 

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.  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 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.

To learn more, download this guide.

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