top of page

MODULE 1: DEFINITION OF TERMS AND SCOPE

Reference Documents: 

 

1. UNEP Basel Convention and Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal  (2011). Technical Guidelines on Environmentally Sound Co-processing of Hazardous Waste in Cement Kilns.

2. Plastics Europe (Accessed 11 May  2024). Chemical Recycling

3. Ellen MacArthur Foundation (Accessed 20 Mar 2024). Circular Economy Definition

4. ISO (2016). ISO 14021:2016 - Environmental labels and declarations - Self declared environmental claims (Type II Environmental Labelling)

5. European Union (2008) Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives. 

6. OECD (Accessed 11 May 2024). Extended Producer Responsibility Definition

7. European Bioplastics (2020). Back Ground: Mechanical Recycling

8. UN (2018). Manual on the Basic Set of Environment Statistics of the FDES 2013. Generation and Management of Waste

9. UNEP (2019). Waste-to-Energy: Considerations for Informed Decision-Making

10. ISO (2023). ISO 5157:2023(en) Textiles — Environmental aspects. Upcycling Definition.

11. Asian Development Bank (2020). Waste-to-Energy in the Face of Circular Economy Best Practice Handbook

12. Circular Plastics Alliance (2021). Guidance on Waste Definitions.

Definition of Terms:
 

Aggregator: An individual or an organization (government or non-government) who collects post-consumer plastic waste from various sources and consolidates it for delivery to processors. 

 

Chemical Recycling[4]The process of converting polymeric waste by changing its chemical structure and turning it back into substances that can be used as raw materials for the manufacturing of plastics or other products. There are different chemical recycling technologies, e.g. pyrolysis, gasification, hydro-cracking and depolymerization.

 

Circular Economy[5]A system where materials never become waste, and nature is regenerated. In a circular economy, products and materials are kept in circulation through processes like maintenance, reuse, refurbishment, remanufacture, recycling, and composting. The circular economy tackles climate change and other global challenges like biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution by decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources.

 

(Environmental) Claim[6]A statement, symbol, or graphic that indicates an environmental aspect of a product, a component, or packaging.

 

Co-processing[7]The use of suitable waste materials in manufacturing processes for the purpose of energy and/or resource recovery and resultant reduction in the use of conventional fuels and/or raw materials through substitution.

 

End-of-Waste[8,9]The EU Waste Framework Directive specifies that certain waste shall cease to be waste when it has undergone a recovery. This includes recycling and operation, and complies with specific criteria to be developed in accordance with the following conditions:

a. The substance or object is commonly used for specific purposes;

b. A market or demand exists for such a substance or object;

c. The substance or object fulfils the technical requirements for the specific purposes and meets the existing legislation and standards applicable to products; and

d. The substance or object will not lead to overall adverse environmental or human health impacts.

The criteria shall include limit values for pollutants where necessary and shall take into account any possible adverse environmental effects of the substance or object.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)[10]An environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. An EPR policy is characterized by:

a. the shifting of responsibility (physically and/or economically; fully or partially) upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities; and

b. the provision of incentives to producers to take into account environmental considerations when designing their products.

While other policy instruments tend to target a single point in the chain, EPR seeks to integrate signals related to the environmental characteristics of products and production processes throughout the entire product chain.

 

Impact Verification: The process of reviewing and confirming evidence (supporting documents) submitted by a Project for a specific plastic waste volume to generate plastic credits. Impact verification is performed by a VVB appointed by PCX Solutions. A positive impact verification results in the issuance of a plastic credit, while a negative verification means that the Project’s claim for plastic credit generated shall not result in the issuance of a plastic credit. 


Mechanical Recycling[11]Operations that aim to recover plastics via mechanical processes (grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding), thus producing recyclates that can be converted into plastics products to substitute virgin plastics.

 

Ocean-bound Waste: Post-consumer waste collected within a 50-kilometer distance from the nearest coastlines, which if not recovered, has a high likelihood of leaking into the oceans. 

 

Plastic/sAny of a group of synthetic or organic materials, including resins, resinoids, polymers, cellulose derivatives, casein materials, and proteins. Further enumeration is included in the Scope (Module 1).

 

(PPRS) Plastic Credit: Refers to an environmental unit representing 1,000 kilograms or 1 metric ton of post-consumer plastic waste diverted away from nature, which is obtained through documented and verified collection, aggregation, and recycling or processing activities, and is registered in the PPRS Registry. Each unit is generated through an end-to-end process that starts from collection and concludes in the End-of-Waste processing of the collected feedstock. 

 

Plastic Credit Buyer: An individual, organization, or corporation engaged in plastic pollution reduction, avoidance, and/ or responsibility (i.e. by purchasing plastic credits).

 

Plastic FootprintAmount of plastic associated with a business' activities, including products and services, measured in units of mass (kilograms or metric tons) and based on a defined scope. This may include plastic used in the manufacturing, distribution, promotion, and sale of products or services, as well as in general and administrative functions. It may encompass plastic retained within the business, released to the market and still in use, and/or emitted/leaked into the environment, providing an inventory of the business's overall plastic usage.

 

Plastic Footprint Assessment: Process of quantifying the plastic footprint of a given entity. 

Plastic Footprint Verification: Independent evaluation conducted by any qualified third-party to check that the quality and sources of input data to the plastic footprint assessment are in line with the methodology used for the assessment. 

 

Post-Consumer Plastic WastePlastic waste generated by end-user waste generators such as households, businesses, hotels, restaurants, or similar. This definition excludes ‘post-industrial’ or ‘pre-consumer’ waste produced by factories (i.e. products or packaging that are defective, rejected, returned, or do not meet quality standards). This definition excludes any plastic waste that is classified as hazardous waste by relevant national regulations. 

 

PPRS Conformity Assessment: A process performed by an independent VVB on a Project to ensure its conformity to the PPRS, including its compliance to local regulations, as a requisite for Project Registration. This may sometimes be referred to as Validation or Project Validation.

 

PPRS Registry[12]A secure and publicly available registry that is owned and operated by PCX Solutions. It contains project information for PPRS Registered Projects and information on issued and retired PPRS Plastic Credits. This includes, but is not limited to, issuance and retirement date, quantity, and verified supporting documents of the end-to-end collection and processing of the corresponding tonnage of plastic wastes.

 

Project: Refers to activities and facilities managed as a single operation that collects and processes post-consumer plastic wastes. This operation may generate plastic credits upon registration and is subject to verification of impact delivered. The scope of the Project is defined by the Project Partner and subject to the validation of a third-party VVB.

 

Project PartnerMay refer to an Aggregator, a Processor or an entity that covers both collection and processing of post-consumer plastic and whose Project has passed the registration requirements of the PPRS. The PPRS may also refer to organizations or individuals undergoing the registration process as “Project Partner”. The qualifying word would be “PPRS Registered”.

 

Project Registration: Occurs when a Project has successfully completed a PPRS Conformity Assessment with an independent VVB. The validated project information is then published in the PPRS Registry. Project Registration is valid for five (5) years, subject to the Project Registration terms and conditions between the Project and PCX Solutions, and yearly compliance monitoring/review by the VVB.

 

Processor: An entity that receives, treats, or converts post-consumer plastic waste into other useful forms through material or energy recovery (End-of-Waste).

 

Recycling[13]Any reprocessing of material in a production process that diverts it from the waste stream, except reuse as fuel. Both reprocessing as the same type of product, and for different purposes should be included. Direct recycling within industrial plants at the place of generation should be excluded.

 

Upcycling[14]Process of converting waste products to new materials that are of higher economic value or quality than in the original product.

 

Validation and Verification Body (VVB): Refers to a third-party organization, independent from PCX Solutions and the Project Partner, that has been approved by PCX Solutions to carry out validation and verification of Projects to evaluate conformity with the PPRS. PCX Solutions also appoints a VVB to verify the credits prior issuance (see impact verification definition). The VVB appointed to perform impact verification is referred to as the “Impact Verification Auditor”.

 

Waste-to-Energy (WtE)[15]Refers to a variety of treatment technologies that convert waste to electricity, heat, fuel, or other usable materials, as well as a range of residues including fly ash, sludge, slag, boiler ash, wastewater and emissions, including greenhouse gases.

SCOPE OF THE PPRS


The PPRS covers the processes of conformity assessment and registration of projects, verification and issuance of plastic credits, and some guidance for self-declared environmental claims that Plastic Credit Buyers may wish to make in relation to plastic credits.

Plastic Credit Value Chain

5_edited.jpg

Figure 1: Plastic Credit Conversion Example.

Aggregation: This includes all informal, semi-formal, or formal waste collection activities such as, but not limited to, diversion from landfills, waste picking, waste trading (i.e. junk shops), and government, community, or private-led waste collection activities. This may also include the storage, sorting, and pre-processing that is necessary to gain acceptance of feedstock to responsible End-of-Waste processing facilities.

 

For avoidance of doubt, aggregation of post-consumer plastic waste by itself is insufficient to generate a plastic credit. There will be no issuance of partial plastic credits as well. For the aggregation activity to enable the generation of plastic credits, the destination of or processing to End-of-Waste shall be included. Further details are available in Module 3. 

Processing: As the optimal recovery option for plastic waste depends on many prevailing circumstances, PCX Solutions encourages their Project Partners to adopt a life-cycle perspective prior to deciding the best processing option. The decision depends on the type and composition of the plastic waste and the capabilities and regulations in the respective countries, as well as the consideration of which options would be environmentally favorable and sustainable. At the very least, Projects should sort out the materials where higher levels of processing (such as mechanical recycling) are viable, to ensure that the waste management hierarchy is observed. In the case of commingled or composite plastic waste, or where there is insufficient suitable and at scale recycling infrastructure, energy recovery and chemical recycling processes may sometimes represent a viable choice. Plastic waste should be managed in accordance with the waste management hierarchy, prioritizing prevention and minimization of waste, and considering the holistic environmental aspects to avoid adverse environmental impacts. In general, plastic waste processing technologies that may be utilized by PCX Solutions’ partners can be divided into the following classes:

 

a. Material recovery (mechanical recycling, chemical recycling, and biological or organic recycling)

b. Energy recovery in the form of heat, steam, or electricity generation using plastic waste as substitutes for primary fossil fuel resources

c. Other Best Available Technologies (BAT) that have undergone and passed assessments from reputable organizations, which are subject to PCX Solutions’ review and qualification under the PPRS

Figure 2: Visual Representation of UNEP Basel Convention: Technical Guidelines on Environmentally Sound Co-processing of Hazardous Waste in Cement Kilns - Waste Management Hierarchy.

The PPRS provides relevant guidance to ensure that our Project Partners abide by local and international environmental and social requirements in their respective processes. For the example of co-processing plants, the PPRS aligns with the requirements of the “Technical Guidelines on Environmentally Sound Co-processing of Hazardous Waste in Cement Kilns[16]” released by the UN Environment Programme Basel Convention. Similar references will be used based on the type of process covering environmental and social safeguard systems.

 

The PPRS aligns with the Asian Development Bank’s Waste to Energy in the Age of Circular Economy’s Best Practice Handbook[17] in that “‘Incineration’ is a term associated with technology from the 1960s, which was highly pollutive. Incineration should not be confused with modern thermal treatment facilities, which treat air pollutants. Direct cost of thermal waste treatment is typically more expensive than landfilling. This is due to the additional capital and operating costs for air pollution controls on modern thermal waste treatment facilities. These facilities are often called WtE plants, energy-from-waste (EfW) plants and, incorrectly, incinerators. Some references continue to use the term “incineration” to associate historical environmental performance with modern facilities.”  Waste-to-Energy, as defined and referenced in the PPRS therefore pertains to modern thermal waste treatment facilities as means to recover energy or materials and are utilizing appropriate technologies to mitigate adverse impact to the environment. 

Only processing technologies and infrastructure that have regulatory frameworks in the country where it is implemented shall be considered in the PPRS scope. In the case where regulatory frameworks and applicable international standards exist, the more stringent requirements shall take priority.

Qualified Post-Consumer Plastic Materials 

 

Plastics as defined in the PPRS cover a wide range of materials that go into the waste stream. These include:

a. All materials made of the seven types of plastics: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene or Expanded Polystyrene (PS or EPS) and Other Plastics (O) 

b. Any of a group of synthetic or natural organic materials, including resins, resinoids, polymers, cellulose derivatives, casein materials, and proteins which include, among others, acrylic or poly methyl methacrylate, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyamide (nylon), polycarbonate and polylactic acid 

c. Composite materials containing the plastics and material types listed above, such as multilayer paper boards with polyethylene and/or aluminum layers 

 

Multi-component materials, such as tires and UBC (used beverage cartons), can be more specifically referred to as “Used Tires Credit[18]” or “UBC Credits”, respectively, to further specify that plastic credits are sourced from these post-consumer materials collected. 

 

For avoidance of doubt, the PPRS Plastic Credit may only be generated for volumes of collected and processed post-consumer plastic wastes. Volumes derived from the collection and processing of industrial, manufacturing, or pre-consumer wastes are not eligible to generate plastic credits. To illustrate, below are examples (not limiting) of commonly considered post-consumer plastic wastes:

 

  • Plastic packaging of consumer goods as delivered to the end-user, such as plastic bottles, food wrappers, plastic bags, and sachets (whether mono- or multi-layered)

  • Bulk plastic packaging of consumer goods as delivered to retailers or distributors

  • Consumer goods with plastic components such as toys, appliances, clothes, and tires

  • Abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear

  • Discarded postal and courier packaging

  • Discarded food and other services packaging, such as disposable utensils, plates, and cups

 

Alternatively, the following are examples of excluded wastes from the definition of post-consumer plastic wastes: 

 

  • Production rejects, recalls, and scraps 

  • Plastic packaging of raw or intermediary materials for use in a secondary manufacturing or production process

  • Medical wastes 

  • Wastes classified as hazardous under national regulations such as Waste Electronics and Electrical Equipment (WEEE), chemical contaminated containers, and other hazardous wastes that would pose significant risk and harm to humans and the environment when handled by untrained or unlicensed persons. 


Further guidance may be taken from the “Guidance on Waste Definitions[19]” by the Circular Plastics Alliance to distinguish between post-consumer wastes and pre-consumer/post-industrial wastes.

Heading (6).png

__________________________________

[4] Plastics Europe (Accessed 11 May  2024). Chemical Recycling. Accessed through https://plasticseurope.org/sustainability/circularity/recycling/chemical-recycling/

[5] Ellen MacArthur Foundation (Accessed 20 Mar 2024). Circular Economy Definition. Accessed through: https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/circular-economy-introduction/overview

[6] ISO (2016). ISO 14021:2016 - Environmental labels and declarations - Self declared environmental claims (Type II Environmental Labelling).

[7] UNEP UN Basel Convention (2011). Technical Guidelines on the Environmentally Sound Co-Processing of Hazardous Wastes in Cement Kilns.

[8] European Union (2008) Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives. Accessed through: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32008L0098&from=EN

[9] Illustration: A recycling process that processes PET bottles into rPET resins or pellets may already qualify as “End-of-Waste” if the recycler can show that it meets the technical specifications of the material buyers such that the recycler’s products (rPET) may be used as a primary material for the manufacturing process of the material buyer.

[10] OECD (Accessed 11 May 2024). Extended Producer Responsibility Definition. Accessed through: https://www.oecd.org/environment/extended-producer-responsibility.htm

[11] European Bioplastics (2020). Back Ground: Mechanical Recycling. Accessed through: https://docs.european-bioplastics.org/publications/bp/EUBP_BP_Mechanical_recycling.pdf

[12] The PPRS registry is currently in the final stages of development for version 8 and testing  (as of 5 June 2024). Relevant information on the issued and retired plastic credits are available in the public Credit Registry (https://app.pcxmarkets.com/registry). Further, all PPRS-registered projects are provided with a registration document containing their PPRS registration number. Stakeholders may email pprs@pcxsolutions.org to confirm the PPRS registration status of a Project. Once the PPRS registry is fully published and live, notification will be done through the PCX Solutions Website: www.pcxsolutions.org

[13] UN (2018). Manual on the Basic Set of Environment Statistics of the FDES 2013. Generation and Management of Waste. Accessed through: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/FDES/MS_3.3.1_3.3.2_Waste.pdf

[14] ISO (2023). ISO 5157:2023(en) Textiles — Environmental aspects. Accessed through the ISO Online Browsing Platform https://www.iso.org/obp/ui#iso:std:iso:5157:ed-1:v1:en:term:3.2.6.39 on 20 May 2024.

[15] UNEP (2019). Waste-to-Energy: Considerations for Informed Decision-Making

[16] Based on the waste management hierarchy (see Figure 2), co-processing in cement kilns with the proper safeguards and monitoring is an environmentally preferable alternative to landfills and open burning. Please refer to the “Technical Guidelines on Environmentally Sound Co-processing of Hazardous Waste in Cement Kilns” released by the UNEP Basel Convention. “Where waste avoidance is not possible, reuse, recycling and recovery of waste are preferable alternatives to non-recovery operations. As an example, co-processing in cement kilns provides an environmentally sound resource recovery option preferable to landfilling and incineration.” Accessed through: https://www.basel.int/Portals/4/Basel%20Convention/docs/pub/techguid/cement/tg-cement-e.pdf

[17] Asian Development Bank (2020). Waste-to-Energy in the Face of Circular Economy Best Practice Handbook. Accessed through: https://www.adb.org/publications/waste-to-energy-age-circular-economy-handbook

[18] The PPRS follows a 1:1 conversion of used tires credit to plastic credits. When used tires are collected and transported to the end-of-waste processing facilities, the plastic components/ synthetic materials cannot be mechanically separated from the rest of the components and this is taken into consideration.

[19] Circular Plastics Alliance (2021). Guidance on Waste Definitions. Accessed through: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/46954/attachments/8/translations/en/renditions/pdf

bottom of page