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FOREWORD

The plastic pollution crisis presents a tremendous opportunity for humanity to demonstrate its ingenuity, creativity, and resilience. With the right public policies, technology innovation, and market-based solutions, we have all the tools needed to transform our relationship with plastic. Many necessary solutions already exist, but they have not been deployed with the coverage, scale, and quality that is required to address the problem.

 

The world has produced over 9 billion metric tons of plastic since the 1950s[1]. Today, only 9% of plastic waste is recycled, 19% incinerated, and 72% landfilled, openly burned or ends up in the environment[2], with detrimental effects on our ecosystems and human populations. Even if we were to reduce primary plastic production from today’s levels by 40% by 2050, the world would still produce another 11 billion tons which needs to be responsibly managed.

 

PCX Solutions continues to develop the Plastic Pollution Reduction Standard (PPRS), a framework for the registration of post-consumer plastic waste recovery and diversion projects, and the issuance of plastic credits. It requires the demonstration of additionality[3] and compliance to warrant environmental integrity and safeguard systems that aim to protect the people involved in waste management projects. The latter includes occupational health and safety, gender equality, social inclusion, and feedback and grievance mechanisms—all of which must be validated by third-party auditors. The PPRS, along with our management processes, constantly evolve to reflect best available technology, government policies, and industry best practices in all geographies we operate in. PCX Solutions reviews and updates the PPRS on a regular basis with support from its PCX Industry Steering Committee. Users may refer to the PCX Solutions website for the latest version of the PPRS, its modules, and relevant guidance.

 

There is no silver bullet that solves the plastic pollution crisis. Plastic credits assign a value to all kinds of plastic waste, including low value plastics that are typically not collected. They are also an important funding mechanism based on the ‘polluter pays principle’, which is particularly critical in emerging markets that lack waste management infrastructure, and which are most severely affected by the plastic pollution crisis. They can help deliver short- to mid-term impact from collection, transportation, and processing of plastic waste through both voluntary and compliance-driven action under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes. Plastic credits also incentivize longer-term, sustained investments in circular solutions and infrastructure such as upcycling and recycling facilities, and can change the unit economics of plastic: if companies take responsibility for their footprint and invest in plastic credits, they have to add the cost of credits to the low virgin plastic prices, which reduces the gap to recycled plastic or other alternatives.

 

PCX Solutions views plastic credits not as an excuse to pollute, but as a vital element of implementation and financing towards ending plastic pollution by complementing policy frameworks and corporate action to reduce plastic waste. Our mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, and to build a future where no plastic ends up in nature. With bold action and optimistic determination, we can be the generation that solves the plastic pollution crisis.

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[1] United Nations Environment Programme (2021). From Pollution to Solution: A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution. Nairobi, https://www.unep.org/resources/pollution-solution-global-assessment-marine-litter-and-plastic-pollution

[2] OECD (2022), Global Plastics Outlook: Economic Drivers, Environmental Impacts and Policy Options, OECD Publishing, Paris,

https://doi.org/10.1787/de747aef-en

[3] The concept of additionality is further discussed in module 2, objectives and guiding principles, p.18. Furthermore, as this is one of the criteria for PPRS registration, determination and evaluation of additionality is elaborated in Module 3, Criteria 2.

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