The Recycled Materials Standard (RMS) is a voluntary, market-based tool developed to advance the use of post-consumer and/or post-industrial recycled materials in place of virgin feedstocks. The standard serves as a vehicle for brands to track, validate and communicate recycled material claims with a certified chain of custody. According to the standard, any organization that processes or trades recycled plastic materials is eligible to seek RMS certification.
Recycled Materials Standard Certification
Certify your company’s use of recycled content to promote, celebrate and elevate your brand’s sustainability initiatives, corporate message and investment profile
Our planet has finite resources, which is why one of the most in-demand corporate commitments is to verify and certify a company’s use of recycled content. The Recycled Material Standard (RMS) allows organizations to demonstrate their use of recycled materials through third-party certification and verification. The RMS enables companies to track, validate and communicate these claims with a certified chain of custody. A unique feature of this program is its ‘Attributes of Recycled Content’ (ARC) trading system. An ARC is similar to carbon offsets and renewable energy credits or RECs. This system allows companies to purchase and retire ARCs which generates funding to invest in expanding recycling resources and advance the use of recycled materials.
SCS Global Services, with its long-established history of providing thorough, science-based auditing and certification is the first certification body to certify to the RMS.
Why Choose SCS?
SCS Global Services has decades of experience certifying recycled content in materials ranging from packaging to building materials to textiles, jewelry and beyond. SCS is an authorized certification body for the RMS, a standard of nonprofit Greenblue, and was the first to certify companies under the RMS. SCS’s ground floor knowledge of the RMS and its customer-focused approach can assist your organization every step of the way.
- Program Documents
Companies wishing to become certified to the Recycled Materials Standard can engage in the following process.
Step 1: Your company will need to review the RMS Framework and Plastics Module to see if your organization can meet the requirements of the standards.
Step 2: If you find your company can fulfill the above requirements, you may complete and submit an application for participation in the RMS program.
Step 3: Develop an RMS management system and implement the standard.
Step 4: Contact SCS Global Services to request a quote for certification and sign an agreement.
Step 5: Once an agreement is signed, SCS Global Services will complete the initial conformance audit. Once it is determined that your organization’s operations meet the RMS requirements and you’ve submitted payment for the Certification Administration Fee, you will receive certification from SCS.
Step 6: SCS will provide a summary report to GreenBlue. Your organization can now be entered into the certificate database on the RMS website and ARC Registry.
Step 7: After your company is certified and agrees to the Rules for Use of RMS on Product Labels, it may seek approval from GreenBlue to use the RMS label.
Step 8: SCS will perform an annual conformance audit to ensure maintenance of the RMS certification.
Additional information can be found on the RMS website: https://www.rmscertified.com/prepare-for-certification/
Why would a brand specify RMS certified materials?
Some of the primary reasons include having a label that is trusted by consumers; supply chain consistency and transparency; and assurance of clear and credible claims that meet marketing guidelines. By having a certified chain of custody, brands can make claims about the use of recycled materials that clearly shows a brand’s commitment to the circular economy in a way that resonates with consumers.
Why is the RMS limited in geographic scope to just North America?
The RMS was designed around the legal framework that exists in this area and currently does not address social issues that may be a concern for recycling in developing countries. It’s anticipated that the geographic scope of the RMS will expand in the future.
How do I apply?
You must first complete the RMS Participant Application. Go to the RMS website and fill out the online form. Be sure to sign the RMS Participant Terms and Conditions (directly in the application), or upload a signed copy or email to a colleague to sign. Then pay Certificate Administration Fees (either through credit card or invoice). The Fee Schedule can be viewed here.
How do I get certified?
Your company must work with an approved Certification Body. SCS Global Services is approved through Greenblue to provide certification services for the RMS. The process includes annual audits to verify conformance with the RMS and maintenance of a valid RMS Certificate.
If my company has more than one location, does each site need its own certificate?
There are two options: your company may choose to hold multiple, single-site certificates or choose a single multi-site certificate. You may apply for additional certificates under the same account by selecting ‘My Account’ via the “Account” dropdown menu, then click “Apply for a New Certificate” on the RMS Site (after you’ve already submitted your first application).
Is the RMS appropriate for both chemical and mechanical recycling?
Yes. The RMS uses the mass balance approach to track recycled material from chemical recycling processes. The mass balance approach is supported by chain of custody tracking—and can also be used by mechanical recyclers.
Is the process to convert plastics to energy/fuels handled by the Recycled Material Standard?
Although fuels are created through the same processes creating chemical intermediaries to be further processed into usable materials, they are excluded for eligibility under the RMS. If a process creates both chemical intermediaries and fuels, only the chemical portion is eligible. The portion converted to fuel would be a ‘loss’ accounted for by the conversion factor.
How much do ARCs cost?
Their price is determined by market value. A variety of factors can affect pricing, including resin type; post-consumer vs. post-industrial status, and current market conditions. ARC transactions can be made between material processors who generate ARCs and purchasers, or can be facilitated by an ARC trader.
Can I buy ARCs for products manufactured outside of the US?
No. ARCs can only be generated by entities certified under the RMS and at this time, only companies located in North America (i.e. US, Canada, Mexico) are eligible for certification. ARCs may be purchased and used for claims in connection to products manufactured in any location.
When will I be able to purchase ARCs?
ARCs should be available for purchase in 2021. Eligible reprocessors of recycled materials will be able to start generating them and offering them for sale once the standard is finalized and they’ve obtained a valid RMS Reprocessor Certificate.
How do ARCs support investments in recycling?
ARCs sepapate the environmental attribute from the physical material and allow it to be traded on the open market. To avoid double-counting, the corresponding physical material is sold without a recycled claim. Meanwhile, users of plastics may purchase and retire ARCs. By doing this, they provide financial support to investments in material reprocessing. When ARCs are paired with plastics of the same type used in a finished product or package, that item may carry a claim that it supports investments in recycling.
Certification to the Recycled Materials Standard benefits you, your customers, and other stakeholders, by demonstrating:
- Alignment with environmental and sustainability best practices
- Accurate tracing of Recycled input materials
- Access to a newly created recycled materials trading system tool so corporations can benefit from your smart recycling choices
- Verification and assurance that the materials you produce contain recycled content and are processed more sustainably
- Demonstrate innovation in recycled material use
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