Press Release

Advancing the Use of Recycled Materials: New RMS Program Director Named

By: Sarah Messer

February 17, 2021

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — GreenBlue is starting 2021 off strong by introducing a new recycled material certification program.  The new Recycled Material Standard (RMS) establishes criteria for third-party certifications of participants in the recycling value chain, enabling robust chain-of-custody tracking, as well as the creation of a new environmental commodity (Attributes of Recycled Content, or ARCs) to support investments in recycling infrastructure. The first material module will focus on plastics, with additional material modules to be added in time.  

Leading the effort to publish and implement the RMS will be highly esteemed, RMS Director, Laura Thompson, Ph.D. Thompson has been an integral part of GreenBlue for many years and has served as a board member as well as an SPC Executive Committee member.  Her prior experience with voluntary standards for renewable energy, as well as third party certification of wood products, has helped shape the development of the RMS.  With advanced degrees in chemical engineering as well as a wide range of industry expertise, Thompson has been long regarded as a thought leader in sustainable development. 

Under Thompson’s direction, the RMS team is looking forward to launching the standard and onboarding the early adopters. The team is currently focused on accreditation of certification bodies, and training auditors to meet the expressed demand from supply chain participants to become RMS certified.   

“We have made extraordinary strides in developing the standard, gathering valuable input through workshops with SPC members, from our advisory group, through pilot testing, and receiving feedback during the public comment process,” says Thompson.  “I look forward to leading the process as the RMS pivots from development to implementation, and seeing the value it creates when applied by participants working to advance the use of recycled materials.”

The RMS, being developed by GreenBlue, is leveraging the experience of the organization in developing cutting-edge consumer education tools and offering sustainability solutions for members.  

“We believe the RMS has the power to transform supply chain transparency around the use of recycled materials, increase supply and bring better visibility of recycled materials to consumers,” noted Nina Goodrich, Executive Director of GreenBlue.  “Ultimately brand owners need to demonstrate progress on their recycled content goals, and the RMS will be a critical tool in enabling that.”  

The intention of the RMS is to be the most comprehensive third-party audited standard available for recycled materials. The standard will provide a means to certify claims of recycled content, offer visible labeling for brands to communicate claims to consumers, and create a new certificate trading system that encourages investment and expands the recycling infrastructure.  

About the Recycled Material Standard 

The Recycled Material Standard (RMS) enables participating brands and suppliers to celebrate their sustainability efforts that collectively advance the use of recycled materials. The standard establishes requirements necessary to assure the accuracy and transparency of claims with the support of a robust third-party certification system. Research has shown that one of the most prevalent packaging goals is to increase the use of post-consumer and/or post-industrial recycled materials to replace virgin feedstocks. Anticipating an increase in materials captured for recycling, the RMS has been developed to help advance the use of recycled materials. The RMS serves as a voluntary, market-based tool to address the challenges that brands, their suppliers, and the recycling industry face in trying to incorporate higher amounts of recycled content into packaging or finished products.

About GreenBlue

GreenBlue is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable use of materials in society. Our mission is to promote the principles of sustainable materials management — use wisely, eliminate toxicity, and recover more. Through our projects, we achieve our goal by influencing the debate, enhancing supply chain collaboration, and creating action. GreenBlue is the parent nonprofit to The Sustainable Packaging Coalition, How2Recycle, CleanGredients, Forests in Focus, and other programs.