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What Is Plastic Offset?

August 19, 2022

What Is Plastic Offset?

There’s plastic around us in all different kinds of settings, from home and work to the supermarket. Even when we’re trying to be a more conscious consumer and reduce our plastic footprint, it’s a lot easier said than done. We might end up purchasing plastic because it’s the most feasible option. That’s where plastic offset becomes valuable.

Keep reading to learn about how you can have a positive impact in the fight against plastic pollution.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • What Is Plastic Offsetting?
  • Benefits of Plastic Offsetting
  • Pollution Problem
  • How Is Plastic Credit Reshaping the Recycling Landscape?
  • Final Thoughts

What is plastic offsetting?

Plastic offsetting is an innovative solution to help companies and individuals decrease plastic waste levels in the environment by compensating for the plastic they use.

It focuses on the concept that consumers and organizations can buy plastic credits or choose to offer financial contributions to social and environmental projects that combat plastic waste.

To properly execute the idea behind plastic offset, an agency has to precisely measure how much plastic they use in packaging and their products.

Next, they must balance this figure by actively contributing funds that remove and recover at least that same amount of plastic waste in nature.

How does plastic offsetting work?

For individuals, you can invest in or partner with a company that will help you calculate the amount equal to your plastic footprint, and then they’ll offset it for you by charging you a monthly or yearly fee. Your contribution will go toward a social enterprise of your choosing that works toward eliminating plastic waste.

What is plastic neutral?

For companies, there’s a similar option available, allowing them to market their products as “plastic neutral.”

They’d use an assessment tool that calculates the volume of sales multiplied by the weight of used plastic by the company. The result is the organization’s plastic footprint.

There are specific guidelines that a company must adhere to if they want the plastic neutral certification. They must demonstrate a commitment to reducing their plastic use.

It’s vital for an agency not to use the plastic neutral badge as a way to continue polluting while appearing to be helpful.

Plastic offset might appeal more to companies trying to avoid plastic use altogether, except where necessary. However, in the immediate, plastic credits provide an effective, short-term solution to long-term reduction goals.

The most important goal is that the company contributes to plastic recovery from the environment. Offsetting indicates that plastic that wouldn’t have otherwise gotten collected is gathered and recovered. This is called additionality. These strategies are most beneficial where waste is heavily mismanaged.

Benefits of plastic offsetting

Here are the key benefits of plastic offset by individuals and businesses:

  • Plastic offsetting helps to prevent increasing and excessive amounts of plastic waste that can cause flooring, poor health, and unsightly living conditions.
  • Social impact projects can help reverse negative environmental effects like marine animals ingesting plastic, marine animals getting entangled in plastic waste, and microplastics entering our bodies through the food we consume.
  • You get tangible results via measuring recovered plastic, making it possible to see the effects of your contributions.
  • Encourages companies to take measurable, immediate actions while supporting marginalized, vulnerable communities worldwide.

Pollution problem

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that since 1990 CO2 levels have risen approximately 41 percent. The planet’s biodiversity is under constant threat by global warming.

To start creating a positive impact on our environment, organizations can engage in plastic offsetting by investing in environmental projects to balance their plastic footprints.

Plastic pollution

We often believe we can make things better if we intend to recycle after use. Unfortunately, that’s not the sole solution to the problem, as only around nine percent of plastic actually gets recycled. The other 91 percent? It goes to uncontrolled dumpsites and landfills, or worse, they leak into our oceans.

With the sheer amount of plastic we as consumers produce yearly, even the best recycling systems cannot manage such an extreme volume of plastic. Here’s where plastic offsetting becomes useful.

These credits facilitate finance for developing recycling infrastructure, plastic collection, and recovery for related projects. Lastly, plastic credit incentivizes individuals to recover low-value plastics by granting them a market value.

How is plastic credit shaping the recycling landscape?

Despite the countless opportunities to collect and recycle plastic, there isn’t enough funding to support it from companies, communities, and governments alike.

Plastic credits offer corporations a way to participate voluntarily in the extended producer responsibility or EPR and take measurable actions toward sustainability goals.

Like carbon credits, plastic credits are a funding tool where companies have simple and scalable ways to participate in sustainability.

In general, companies can’t actively collect and recycle the plastic that they’re responsible for producing at scale. For this reason, plastic credits are a mechanism used to fund recycling operations and plastic collection in highly impacted areas. As a result, the money can help to remove and recycle this plastic from the environment.

Recycling alone cannot be the only solution in our efforts to help restore and preserve our planet. However, plastic credits are making individuals and companies more aware of their plastic use before it enters the recycling systems. This solution will prove to show its benefit in the long run.

Plastic offset, final thoughts

We are currently living during a plastic waste epidemic, and we have the power to affect immediate change. Plastic offsetting is a feasible solution to get tangible results now that we can continue to build upon and improve.

By engaging with Second Life, you are in support of plastic collection operations throughout the world designed to produce an appreciable change in regards to social and environmental impact.

Biodiversity hotspots and vulnerable communities are prioritized along with areas negatively impacted by the plastic crisis.
Second Life is the first plastic project to receive certification under the new Verra standard. Get in touch with our team to learn more about how we can help your organization achieve its own plastic sustainability goals. Here’s to building a sustainable environment not only for ourselves but for the coming generations as well.