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In the global battle against plastic pollution, a promising solution is emerging: plastic credits. Similar to carbon credits, these credits aim to mitigate plastic waste, particularly in our oceans. However, experts caution that this initiative could lead to greenwashing if not carefully managed.

Source: Reuters/YouTube

Every year, a staggering 11 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, a weight almost double that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The challenge to remove this amount of waste is monumental, requiring both public and private efforts. Plastic credits, a concept developed by the private sector, offer a potential solution by funding waste management infrastructure in areas lacking such services.

Joel Tasche, CEO of CleanHub, explains that plastic credits work by assigning a monetary value to waste removal. Companies measure the amount of plastic waste they produce and then purchase credits that fund the removal of an equivalent amount from the environment. This system particularly targets ‘low value plastics’, like crisp bags, which are costly to collect and process.

The concept differs from carbon offsetting in a key aspect: plastic is tangible and quantifiable, making its removal easier to verify. However, the notion of offsetting has raised concerns about companies using plastic neutrality claims to continue business-as-usual practices, potentially exacerbating the problem.

Christina Jäger, co-founder of environmental consultancy Yunus, emphasizes the complexity of measuring the impact of plastic offsetting. Unlike CO2, whose effects are globally uniform, plastic Pollution impacts are localized. A major challenge is ensuring that companies don’t create Pollution in one area while funding waste collection in another.

Moreover, the plastic credits market currently lacks regulation. This absence of a standardized system raises questions about the actual value of plastic credit and the transparency of those issuing it. Third-party auditing is essential to maintain credibility.

While plastic credits offer a novel way to fund waste collection, particularly for low-value plastics, they are not a panacea. The ultimate goal should be to limit plastic production and transition towards models emphasizing repair, reuse, and remanufacturing. Plastic credits can be a part of the solution, but a holistic approach is crucial for a sustainable future.

 Solution Not Pollution by Tiny Rescue: Climate Collection
Solution Not Pollution by Tiny Rescue: Climate Collection

Solution Not Pollution by Tiny Rescue: Climate Collection

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