Verra, a global nonprofit devoted to tackling the world’s most intractable environmental and social challenges, has contributed to the 3R Initiative, a coalition of companies dedicated to reducing plastic waste. The coalition has launched a new plastics stewardship initiative to establish the first comprehensive framework for companies to verifiably manage and reduce plastic waste. The goal is to create a best practices model for achieving and reporting on goals to collect and recycle plastic. According to David Antonioli, CEO of Verra, “With less than 10 percent of the 350 million [metric tons] of plastic produced each year currently recycled, we face an unprecedented plastic pollution crisis, which must be addressed.”

The member-led 3R Initiative developed the Guidelines for Corporate Plastic Stewardship, which provides best practices for companies to credibly and transparently quantify and report their plastic footprints, leakages, and commitments to reduce plastic waste.

As part of the 3R Initiative, member organization Verra developed and manages the Plastic Standard, which helps companies that have already taken steps to reduce their own plastic footprint to invest in projects that collect and recycle plastic waste. Essentially, companies purchase plastic credits from projects that meet the Plastic Standard. The standard’s implementation began with 24 projects in 18 countries on 6 continents. Participating members in the 3R Initiative include Nestlé, Danone, Tetra Pak, BVRio, Conservation International, Lloyd’s Register, McKinsey.org, South Pole, SYSTEMIQ, Natural Capital Partners, and Veolia. Projects in Indonesia have already helped bring new waste collection services to a country where 165 million people lack waste management access.

The 3R Initiative is named for its three main objectives, which include reducing plastic waste, recovering plastic from the environment, and increasing recycling rates. The organization aims to catalyze responsible design, use, and recovery of packaging materials; support companies in reducing their plastic waste footprints and mitigating potential environmental pollution and leakage; and stimulate the development of new plastic recovery and recycling projects around the world with participant investment. 4-21