Glossary

FAQ

  • Plastic Pollution Crisis
  • Plastic Neutral Certified
  • About PCX

Aggregators

An individual, a group of individuals, or an organization (government or non-government) who collects post-consumer plastic waste and forwards this to Processors.

Assessment

Process of quantifying the Plastic Footprint of a given entity through a third-party independent auditor, using transparent methods that are consistent for all organizations.

Auditor

A qualified individual or an entity who is tasked to perform an assessment or process review of any Offset Buyers, Aggregators, or Processors.

Awarded Plastic Credit

A plastic credit that is purchased and assigned to an Offset Buyer and registered in the blockchain ledger.

Blockchain

A secure digital database that tracks the information on the activity and status of plastic credits and shares this with public.

Certificate Applicant

An individual, a group of people, or a corporation applying for Certification.

Certification

Refers to either a Plastic-Free, Plastic Neutral, or Plastic Negative Certification.

Ocean-bound Plastic

Post-consumer plastic collected within a 50-kilometer distance from the nearest coastlines, which if not recovered, is expected to leak into the environment.

Offset Buyer

An individual, a group of people, or a corporation purchasing plastic credits and/or applying for a plastic neutral or plastic negative certification.

Operating Partner

Refers to an Aggregator, Processor, or an entity that covers both aggregation and processing that has been accredited by PCX.

Negative Tonnage

Refers to the collection of any plastic waste beyond a current Plastic Footprint, whether that collection is fresh or vintage.

Net Plastic Footprint

Refers to the amount of Plastic Footprint when the Plastic Offset volume, which is collected through recycling, co-processing, material and energy recovery, and other reduction methods, is subtracted from the Gross Plastic Footprint.

Plastic/s

Any of a group of synthetic or natural organic materials, including resins, resinoids, polymers, cellulose derivatives, casein materials, and proteins.

Plastic Credit

Transactable environmental asset representing a unit of weight, typically 1,000 kilograms or 1 metric ton (tonne) of plastic waste from documented and verified plastic offsets and registered in the blockchain ledger.

Plastic Credit Retirement

State in which a Plastic Credit may no longer be used because it has already been accounted for in a claim.

Plastic-Free

State in which an individual, company, brand, product, or service that has refrained from using plastic.

Plastic Footprint

Amount of plastic emitted into the environment as a result of the activities of a business based on a defined scope. This includes plastics emitted through manufacture, distribution, promotion, and sale of its product or service, as well as general and administrative functions. This represents an inventory, in units of mass (kg or metric ton) of plastic waste. Also referred to as Gross Plastic Footprint.

Plastic Neutral

State which is achieved when at least 100% of the net plastic footprint associated with a company, brand, product, or service is reduced to zero through Plastic Offsetting, recycling, co-processing, material and energy recovery, and other reduction methods for a defined period.

Plastic Negative

State which is achieved when at least 200% of the net plastic footprint associated with a company, brand, product, or service is processed through Plastic Offsetting, recycling, co-processing, material and energy recovery, and other reduction methods for a defined period.

Plastic Offsetting

Act of recovering and processing post-consumer plastic waste to compensate for an established plastic footprint for a defined period.

Plastic Reduction Goal

Refers to an individual or organization’s commitment to achieve any of Plastic-Free, Plastic Neutral, or Plastic Negative status.

Processors

Facility that receives, treats, or converts post-consumer plastic waste into other useful forms through material or energy recovery.

Verification

Independent evaluation conducted by any qualified third-party to check that the quality of input data, plastic footprint assessment, or that the use of certification badge is in line with the approach and principles of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Standard.

Vintage

Refers to the year the Plastic Offset or Plastic Credit has been processed.

Plastic Pollution Crisis

What is plastic pollution and how does it affect our environment? Why is it important now?

Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX) recognizes the decades-long global challenge of plastic pollution, which is the harmful accumulation of plastic waste in the environment. In 2015, researchers estimated that more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic had been produced, with an additional 300 million tonnes being added each year, 79% of which is mismanaged. PCX has seen firsthand how this has created problems for the environment, wildlife, and human populations. The Ellen MacArthur foundation warned that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, unless we commit to meaningful change.

Can you tell me more about plastic pollution?

You can learn more about the crisis here: https://www.unep.org/interactive/beat-plastic-pollution/

What is a plastic credit? Is it any different from an offset?

They are two sides of the same coin. A plastic credit is a verified plastic offset and each one is equivalent to 1 tonne of plastic waste. When plastic credits are used by companies to balance out their footprints, it’s called offsetting.

What is plastic offsetting?

Plastic offsetting is the act of compensating for generating plastic by cleaning up plastic waste so that it doesn’t pollute the environment.

How are plastic offsets generated?

PCX generates plastic offsets by working with partners for the aggregation, transport, treatment, processing and disposal of plastic waste, so that plastic waste is diverted away from nature and fed back into the circular economy.

How do plastic credits help fight the plastic pollution crisis?

Plastic credits allocate funding into projects that help solve the plastic pollution crisis. This includes investing in: operations that physically divert plastic waste away from nature; plastic waste collection infrastructure to assist underserved communities; information and education campaigns to drive behavior change and encourage the adoption of a circular economy mindset; and crucially, additional clean-up operations to help chip away at decades’ worth of plastic accumulation beyond a company’s own footprint.

Why can’t we get rid of all plastic today?

Cutting out plastic completely is not as easy as people would like to think. The lightweight, durable material continues to make the modern world possible and many things we take for granted depend on it. Food, for instance, has been made safer and less cumbersome to transport, reducing spoilage and food cost-- therefore alleviating hunger and climate change. Modern medicine has also greatly benefited from disposable plastic (look no further than the COVID pandemic to see proof of that).

What has made plastic the problem it is today is that we never figured out what to do with it once we are done using it - or assigned that responsibility clearly. We need to work hard to reduce wherever we can the use of non-essential plastic, recycle that which is essential, and innovate to find better alternatives to plastic,  not only because of the waste it produces but also because it increases the extraction of fossil fuels which heats our planet.

How do I know if plastic credits work?

All plastic credits issued by PCX have undergone reputable third-party verification. This means we ensure that post-consumer plastic is physically diverted away from nature through our vetted aggregators and processors. We measure our impact and success versus the achievement of United Nations Sustainability Goals and only recognize offsets that are in compliance with our Plastic Pollution Reduction Standard.

How much does offsetting plastic cost?

Get an estimate through this link.

Plastic Neutral Certified

What does plastic neutral mean?

Plastic neutrality is achieved when the plastic footprint of a brand is reduced to zero for a defined period. It means having a balance between producing plastic and cleaning it up from the environment or at the source.

We don’t make a physical product – am I already plastic neutral?

You may still have a plastic footprint. All the plastic you use in your marketing, logistics, advertising, and administrative activities count towards your plastic footprint. Depending on the level of certification you choose, you’ll need to offset these to become plastic neutral.

Is there a company size required for certification?

There isn’t, though it certainly will help if your company has been operating for at least a year.

How can I estimate my plastic footprint?

Download our full Plastic Footprint Calculator or walk through our survey and we can help you assess your company's plastic footprint. It's the first step to going Plastic Neutral.

Do I need to have my plastic footprint audited?

If you have an annual footprint of more than 100MT you must have your plastic footprint audited by a third party - and we can help you with that. If your footprint falls below 100MT, you simply need to complete the plastic footprint calculator and sign an attestation to submit your application.  

How much of my plastic footprint do I need to offset to become plastic neutral?

To become Plastic Neutral Certified you must purchase plastic credits equivalent to your annual plastic footprint for the previous year, and commit to offsetting an additional 2 years minimum with PCX.

Can offsetting alone be the answer to our sustainability targets?

Offsetting is not an excuse to pollute. We recommend all organizations find a solution set that best suits their operations which includes a combination of reducing plastic wherever they can in their supply chains, reusing and recycling whenever possible, and only that which is left as essential plastic should be offset so that we can ensure it doesn't wind up in nature.

Once I get certified, what happens?

Celebrate! Show the world you’ve joined a movement committed to ending the plastic waste crisis by displaying your new Plastic Neutral Badge on products and marketing channels! This will inspire other companies to take bold action to streamline their plastic usage and offset whatever is left so that we ensure a healthier planet.

What are the levels of your certifications?

We can support you wherever you are in your sustainability journey. Currently we offer the following Certifications:

Plastic Neutral Product. Offset your plastic footprint for all products under a single product category.

Plastic Neutral Brand. Offset your plastic footprint for all products of all categories under a specific brand.

Plastic Neutral Company. Offset your plastic footprint for all parts of your company’s operations, including the plastic inputs to products and services, logistics, advertising, promotion and selling, as well as general administrative activities of a company.

What is the difference between a brand and a product?

A product may refer to a single SKU or multiple SKUs which do not complete the whole product line. A brand covers all the products within the portfolio of the company’s trademark.

Can I get certified from anywhere?

You bet!

Will you be providing offsets from more countries?

Our goal is to build a rigorous, ethical, environmentally-sound marketplace that enables companies to offset  plastic waste from anywhere around the world. PCX is hard at work seeking out the best partners globally to help us make plastic offsets available from multiple locations. 

Why should I offset from a country outside of my own?

The plastic crisis is a global problem that needs a global solution. Plastic waste touches nearly every corner of the world but developing countries like the Philippines and Indonesia have become the “world’s dumping ground” and thus lie at the epicenter of the problem. If we want to get serious about ending the crisis, we need everyone on board, and we empower companies from anywhere around the globe to do just that by providing geographically agnostic offsetting solutions.

How much does it cost to get certified?

We do not charge for certification. You simply need to have an accredited 3rd party auditor verify your plastic footprint and offset at least that amount for the past year, plus 2 years moving forward, in order to be certified by PCX.

About PCX

Why is PCX a non-profit organization?

From the very beginning, PCX has been a non-profit organization so that we prioritize the interests of people and planet above all else. We direct all our efforts towards ensuring the welfare of our communities and protection of our environment, rather than any commercial interests of partner companies.

I have questions about PCX – how can I get in touch?

Let’s talk! Shoot us an email at info@plasticcreditexchange.com or through the form on our Contact Page.

What does it mean when you see the Plastic Neutral Certified label?

The Plastic Neutral Badge assures customers that the product bearing the label has been certified in compliance with the Plastic Pollution Reduction Standard. PCX encourages all plastic neutral partners to display the badge on their products, services, and marketing channels, to inspire more companies to take meaningful action today.

Who is behind PCX?

We come from different backgrounds, including environmental research, management, and policy, united by a common vision of a plastic waste-free world. Get to know the team here!

What is PCX’s end goal?

Our vision is Zero Plastic Waste in Nature. In a perfect world, our work would not exist! In the meantime, our goal is for the PCX Plastic Neutral Badge to become a call to action where consumers and brands come together to take a stand for plastic clean-up and reduction for as long as the problem exists.

How do I know I can trust you guys?

Transparency is foremost among our guiding principles. We are the first non-profit plastic offset platform to release a standard like the Plastic Pollution Reduction Pact for full accountability in reporting plastic footprints and offsets, and awarding certifications. We are committed to faithful stewardship and continuous improvement, so will be updating our standard periodically to reflect developments in industry and government policy and international best practice.

And did we mention blockchain? Our partnership with Microsoft has allowed us to develop a blockchain that would ensure we addressed concerns around transparency, traceability, and additionality in our process. This innovation welcomes the public to hold all companies-- especially ours-- accountable for the impact we deliver.

Still doubtful? Check out our case studies!

How will PCX make its certification meaningful and important to my customers?

We designed a thoughtful Plastic Neutral badge for you to show off on your products and materials! Our new mark is intended to inspire a movement which will unite champions from different sectors to advance a world free from plastic waste. Recognizing there is power in simplicity, we made sure our badge feels familiar, speaks to our story, and is flexible enough for any brand or consumer to make it their own-- through communication campaigns, sustainability champions, and our own active engagement with regulators. Our big goal is to make the Plastic Neutral badge not only as ubiquitous as possible, but also to become a symbol for real, lasting environmental and social impact that the public can trust.

I want to convince my company to go Plastic Neutral – do you have something I can share to help me do this?

Glad you asked! Download this pitch deck and you’ll be ready with what you need to make your case.

What does poverty have to do with the plastic pollution problem?

As with climate change, it is the poorest and most marginalized who are most severely affected by the plastic pollution crisis. The issue is critical in developing countries, where more than two billion people lack adequate waste management infrastructure, leading to food insecurity, increased illness, unnecessary deaths, greater harm to livelihoods, and further destruction to our environment.

Solving the plastic problem won’t automatically alleviate poverty, but we cannot solve either one without solutions that consider the welfare of the planet and every person. Thus, when we fight for climate justice, we must also demand social justice. 

We invite you to read further here: UN environment programme’s report, NEGLECTED: Environmental Justice Impacts of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution

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