certifications for oceans’ protection

Welcome to the Ocean Bound Plastic Certification program

The OBP Certification Program was codeveloped by the NGO Zero Plastic Oceans and the certification group Peterson Control Union to protect oceans from the continuous leakage of Ocean Bound Plastic (OBP) from land-based activities.

The OBP Certification Program is designed to encourage the removal of Ocean Bound Plastic from the environment by adding value in effectively collecting and treating it before it reaches oceans. The scheme is composed of two subprograms; the Ocean Bound Plastic Recycling Subprogram, and the Ocean Bound Plastic Neutrality Subprogram.

The program covers both the commercially recyclable and non-commercially recyclable Ocean Bound Plastic. This is fundamental if we want to have a real impact, because collecting recyclable alone is not enough.

OBP  Recycling Subprogram

When OBP is commercially recyclable*, collectors can sell it to recyclers who will make new products with it.

This subprogram allows actors of the value chain to make certified claims on the origin of the Ocean Bound Plastic and the content of Recycled Ocean Bound Plastic of the products. The program certifies the full value chain with 2 standards : the OBP Collection Organization Standard which covers the collection, and the OBP Recycling Organization Standards which covers all the other steps until final product commercialization.

*Commercially recyclable means that OBP is technically recyclable and that it can be sold locally to recyclers for a price that renders its collection attractive to waste pickers or collection organizations. Currently, especially in countries where OBP is leaking into the oceans, a significant portion of technically recyclable OBP is unfortunately not commercially recyclable.

OBP Neutrality Subprogram

When OBP is not commercially recyclable*, collectors treat it and emit a Neutralization Certificates, later purchased by companies willing to offset their plastic footprint and produce plastic neutral products.

This subprogram allows plastic product producers or users to make claim about the OBP Neutrality, or Plastic Neutrality of their production. The program certifies the full neutralization process chain with 2 standards : the OBP Neutralization Services Provider Standard which covers the collection and waste management of the non recyclable OBP, and the OBP Plastic Producers & Users  Standard which covers the compensation of the plastic footprint.

*Not commercially recyclable means that OBP cannot be sold for an attractive price but also includes products or packaging which are technically not recyclable (because of the resin used, the mix of different materials or because they are too damaged).

Getting certified

Getting certified to the OBP Certification requires an Audit by a third party auditor, you can find the list of Certification Bodies Approved by Zero Plastic Oceans to audit and deliver the certification in this page. Upon contacting the Certification Body they will send you an application form, based on which they will provide you with a quotation.

You can also previously review the standards of the program to understand what requirements you will need to comply with to obtain the certification.

Scope of the certification

For both Subprograms the certification verifies

  • International social and environmental standards are implemented all along the value chain of plastic collection, transformation, and disposal, including no child labor, fair working conditions, fair payments to the waste pickers and adequate waste management.

  • The origin of the collected plastic waste as OBP, and additional options such as Shoreline OBP or Waterways OBP.

  • The source of the OBP which can be traced back to a specific river, coastline or city for example.

  • FOR THE OBP RECYCLING SUBPROGRAM : The traceability all along the supply chain, covering collection, preparation, transformation, incorporation into new product and sales of the products containing Recycled OBP (following example is the traceability along the value chain applying the Mass Balance Model, for the OBP Recycling Subprogram)

  • FOR THE OBP NEUTRALITY SUBPROGRAM : The traceability all along the supply chain, covering collection, preparation, treatment (disposal or valorization). (following example shows the traceability along the value chain applying the Identity Preserved Model for the OBP Neutrality Subprogram)

  • FOR THE OBP NEUTRALITY SUBPROGRAM : The certification also covers the verification of the neutralization-compensation cycle through the emission and purchase of neutralization certificates.

Neutrality model operation: The Ocean Bound Plastic Neutrality model is focusing on removing non-commercially recyclable OBP from the environment. The work of collecting this OBP and treating it (Valorization or adequate landfilling) is done by organizations certified under the OBP Neutralization Services Provider Standard.

These organizations, once they have performed the job, send evidence of it to the certification body and to ZPO. Upon approval they are given a Neutralization Certificate and this Certificate is publicly registered by ZPO to avoid double counting.

This Neutralization Certificate is sold to companies willing to offset their plastic usage footprint. These companies are also certified under the OBP Plastic Producers & Users Standard so that the Neutralization Claim they make is verified and customer are also ensured that they or their subcontractors respect international social and environmental standards.

What benefits do you get from getting certified?

Getting certified with any of the OBP certification subprograms allows you to:

  • Access higher value markets and environmentally conscious consumers
  • Be a proactive actor of ocean’s protection and preserve biodiversity
  • Have a positive social impact creating jobs and better economic opportunities within vulnerable communities
  • Comply with UN Sustainable Development Goals and your own sustainability goals

What do the OBP labels guarantee to consumers?

The OBP certification program guarantees:

  • International social and environmental standards are implemented all along the value chain of plastic collection, transformation, and disposal, including no child labor, fair working conditions, fair payments to the waste pickers and adequate waste management.
  • The origin of the collected plastic waste as OBP, and additional options such as Shoreline OBP or Waterways OBP.
  • The source of the OBP which can be traced back to a specific river, coastline or city for example.
  • Traceability of the chain of custody until the final product.
  • Determined content of Recycled Ocean Bound Plastic in certified products.
  • The true neutrality of Ocean Bound Plastic Neutral products.

Partners and contributors

This Certification has been developed by Zero Plastic Oceans in partnership with Control Union, with inputs and comments from Heng Hiap Industries, OVALL, Oceanworks, Race for Water Foundation, ANCON, Marea Verde, EuroFil, EcoFil, Alcane Conseils, Jan & Oscar Fondation and the support of SUEZ Central America and Caribbean. We would like to thank them all for their precious contributions.

.