Plastic Credits have a valuable role to play in stimulating technology and infrastructure development to enhance collection and recycling systems, especially for difficult to collect or recover plastics. In the context of a comprehensive plastic stewardship program, Plastic Credits can be used to address the plastic waste a company cannot yet eliminate.

The Guidelines for Corporate Plastic Stewardship, developed by Verra as a part of the 3R Initiative (3RI) in collaboration with South Pole (a 3RI member), Quantis and EA, advise companies in best practices for plastic stewardship, plastic footprint and leakage mitigation activities, as well as setting and meeting ambitious plastic waste reduction leadership commitments.

A robust assessment of a company’s total plastic footprint is the foundation of a plastic stewardship program. Once a footprint is understood, a company can engage in activities to reduce it.

As illustrated in the figure below, companies should prioritize reducing total plastic use and the potential for waste through product redesign, then, where plastic use cannot be avoided, use recycled material to replace virgin input, and, as a final priority, ensure that plastic waste that cannot be eliminated is appropriately managed. Plastic Credits certified under the Plastic Waste Reduction Standard can be used as part of this final stage. Crucially, companies should decrease their reliance on Plastic Credits over time as they increasingly integrate activities to reduce their plastic footprint into the value chain and municipal waste collection and recycling systems improve.