Reducing plastic pollution the 3R Initiative way

Just over three years after its launch, the 3R Initiative which was founded by BVRio, Verra, Nestlé, Danone, Tetra Pak and others, has transformed from an idea to help solve the problem of plastic pollution into a fully functioning market-based approach with its component products now progressing independently.
The 3R Initiative, named for its objectives of reducing plastic waste, recovering plastic from the environment and increasing recycling rates, is the first global effort designed to reduce the plastic and packaging footprint of consumer goods companies, producers, retailers and others by standardising their efforts and creating tradable instruments that can scale up reductions via a market-based credit scheme. Following the completion of the initial phase, the initiative’s three major products are now all progressing in different directions.
The Guidelines for Corporate Plastic Stewardship, which set out best practices for companies that aim to reduce plastic waste and achieve circular use of plastic, will move forward as a key input of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Corporate Plastic Footprinting and Disclosure (WBCSD) workstream.
The Plastic Waste Reduction Standard, managed by Verra, sets out requirements for new or scaled-up plastic waste collection and recycling projects to quantify their impact in a credible, transparent and consistent way to generate Plastic Credits. It has many impact-driven projects in the pipeline and a diverse and passionate multi-stakeholder advisory group.
The concept of ‘plastic credits’ was pioneered by BVRio, who since 2013 has operated a system of Reverse Logistics Credits in Brazil. BVRio’s experience on this subject was important for conceiving the architecture of an international plastic credits market under the 3R Initiative. In this context, BVRio created the Circular Action Hub, the first global platform to connect buyers and sellers of waste management services worldwide. The Hub now features over 100 initiatives in 40 countries looking to connect with investors to support their packaging recovery activities and foster the circular economy either through direct financial support or through the acquisition of credits. The Hub is the world’s first online marketplace for circular economy-related projects. These outcomes have been successful due to the collaboration between 3R Initiative members and stakeholders.The first phase of the initiative has now reached its end, but the transformation of how we avoid plastic waste will continue.

­­­­One of the final outputs from the initiative is the release of a myth-busting explainer video about the concept of plastic credits.

Plastic crediting is an innovative financial tool that drives investment into plastic waste collection systems and new recycling ventures. Companies can compensate for the plastic pollution they cannot yet prevent by investing in projects that generate Plastic Credits. Transparent reporting, monitoring and independent auditing of waste management and recycling systems ensure that investment goes to credible and additional activities that improve the status quo.

BVRio Director, Pedro Moura Costa, said at the launch of the initiative in 2019, “To address the problem of plastic pollution, we need market-based solutions that can be used at scale and replicated worldwide. Market instruments such as credits provide the basis for a cost efficient and environmentally-sound solution for plastic recovery and recycling.”

Speaking about the success of the initiative in 2021, Moura Costa added, “The systems are now in place to ramp-up activity and investment in this sector. We are excited with future prospects of improving waste management worldwide, in a socially, and environmentally, robust way.”

Visit www.3rinitiative.org for more about this initiative.