The Plastic Standard and its supporting program enable the consistent accounting and crediting of a variety of plastic collection and recycling activities that reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment and the use of virgin plastic. The requirements in the Plastic Standard and accounting methodologies allow projects to quantify their impact in a credible, transparent and consistent way in order to generate Plastic Credits. Credits are issued based on how much plastic is collected from the environment and/or recycled above baseline rates (i.e., what would have happened in the absence of the project activity).

Plastic Credits can be purchased by companies that have fully maximized efforts to reduce the plastic footprint of their operations and are interested in further mitigation of plastic waste beyond their own value chains. The revenue from credit sales enables projects to continue or scale-up their collection and/or recycling activities.


Projects must adhere to the rules and requirements in the Plastic Standard in order to be certified. This includes social and environmental safeguards: projects should not negatively impact the natural environment or local communities, and project proponents must develop and implement a stakeholder engagement process.

Furthermore, project baselines must be adjusted periodically (e.g., every seven years during crediting period renewal) to reflect the new, increased collection and recycling rates in the region, raising the bar for the future issuance of Plastic Credits.

All projects are subject to desk and field audits by qualified independent third parties to ensure that requirements are met and accounting methodologies are properly applied.


Each Plastic Credit represents one tonne of plastic waste that would otherwise have not been collected or recycled. Plastic Credits are characterized by a number of quality assurance principles which are confirmed through the project validation and verification process. There are two types of credits that are collectively known as Plastic Credits. Once verified, projects that enable plastic to be collected from the environment may be issued Waste Collection Credits (WCCs) and projects that enable plastic to be recycled may be issued Waste Recycling Credits (WRCs).

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.


Methodologies set out detailed procedures for quantifying the plastic waste collected and/or recycled as the result of a project activity and provide guidance to help project developers determine project boundaries, set baselines and assess additionality.

The methodologies may be revised over time to ensure they conform to current requirements, international best practices and scientific consensus. New methodologies applicable to other project activities (e.g., chemical recycling) may be developed in the future. More information and a list of approved methodologies can be found here.


The 3R (Reduce, Recover, Recycle) Initiative (3RI) is a coalition of companies and NGOs committed to achieving zero plastic waste. In order to catalyse corporate plastic leadership, the 3RI supported the development of a market-based approach that will scale up collection and recycling activities, and increase accountability for plastic waste reduction efforts around the world.

The 3R Initiative Steering Committee provided input on topics including corporate circular economy commitments, environmental and social responsibility goals and extended producer responsibility schemes to benefit the development of the Plastic Standard. Please visit the 3R Initiative website for further information.