Circular economy: Certification with ISCC PLUS

Constanze Illner CSR & Responsible Sourcing, Environment

Update: August 2020

A plastic tax is to be introduced in Europe from 2021. That was decided at the EU summit on COVID-19 aid. As of January, all EU countries will transfer 80 cents to Brussels for every kilo of non-recycled plastic packaging waste. Another incentive for companies to improve the recycling balance of packaging materials. The principle of the circular economy helps companies to deal with this challenge. In the following, we will introduce you to the circular economy model and present one of the leading standards that supports companies in the introduction of a circular system: ISCC PLUS.

Slowly but surely, society is becoming aware that there is no going back in terms of sustainability. After all, the consequences of our throw-away mentality end up again with us in the form of environmental pollution, climate change and resource scarcity. In the face of these challenges, our “take-make-waste” industrial model has become unviable.

The European Union also sees it that way and has now introduced a plastic tax, which is due to come into force in January next year. Companies now have a choice: either they pass the costs on to their customers – or they take the opportunity and align the company so that it will continue to meet social and regulatory requirements in the future.

A promising approach to realizing the second option is the so-called circular economy. The economic framework focuses on carefully managing resources so that nothing is wasted. In other words, products and materials are kept in use—reused, remanufactured and recycled continuously— for as long as possible to achieve maximum value. This restorative and regenerative approach aims to create a closed-loop supply chain that “designs out” waste.

The advantage of such an economic system is obvious: the maximization of economic, natural and social capital. This is how environmental goals can be achieved and economic growth stimulated. So much for theory. The reality is of course a lot more complicated. However, there are standards that make it easier for companies to transition to a circular economy. One of those standards is ISCC PLUS.

The certification system enables producers to take full responsibility for the sustainability impact of their raw materials. Here you can learn more about the principles of ISCC PLUS and examples of use.

ISCC PLUS certification for the circular economy

The ISCC PLUS certification for the circular economy can be applied to all raw materials that can be recycled. The standard offers two options for these materials:

Materials are either physically segregated in production processes throughout the supply chain (“physical segregation”) or mixed in production but separated in bookkeeping (“mass balance approach”).

In this way, mixed plastic waste can find its direct way back into the supply chain. The mass balance method not only gives the material an economic value, it also reduces the risk of plastic waste being released into the environment in an uncontrolled manner. The ISCC PLUS certification guarantees that the material is actually recycled and the consumption of new raw material is reduced.

The certification is particularly interesting for manufacturers of biopolymer packaging, which are made, for example, from the biodegradable material PLA (polylactic acid), or for companies that process household waste, landfill gases or used car tires into valuable products.

The advantages

Certification with ISCC PLUS helps companies to master existing and future sustainability requirements. Consumer wishes are met, sustainable corporate governance supports employee loyalty and future regulatory requirements can be prevented.

Are you interested in an ISCC certification? Contact us – we will discuss your project!

Constanze Illner Administrator
Constanze Illner is Research & Communication Officer at DQS CFS GmbH
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Constanze Illner Administrator
Constanze Illner is Research & Communication Officer at DQS CFS GmbH
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