ZERO PLASTIC OCEANS is an ONG registered in France and founded in 2019 by experienced professionals in the certification, solid waste management, environment and marine biology fields. Concerned by the ever-increasing plastic pollution of the environment and the ocean in particular the founders started a model for companies to finance the collection of Ocean Bound Plastic (called ZPO Initiative). The cornerstone of ZPO´s Initiative was a certification dedicated to the collection of Ocean Bound Plastic.
The project later evolved in completing the certification to cover both the recycling and plastic neutrality value chains to form the OBP Certification Program.
ZPO is the developer and owner (standard setter) of the Ocean Bound Plastic Certification Program. This program is composed of four standards dedicated to ocean´s protection from plastic marine litter and covering all operations related to OBP from collection, recycling, treatment or plastic footprint offsetting and OBP Neutralization certificates generation.
Already involved in the protection of the ocean against plastic litter our founding team noticed a striking fact: Plastic pollution in the ocean was and still is, by far, the most mediatic side of plastic litter in the environment but at the same time plastic litter in the ocean is a rather small percentage of the global plastic production (estimated around 3%). At the same it was clearly recognized and measured that most of marine plastic litter comes from land-based activities, whose waste streams are unproperly managed and become abandoned plastic waste at risk of entering waterways and the ocean, also called Ocean Bound Plastic. (see the standard definition of ocean bound plastic here)
Naturally, focusing on Ocean Bound Plastic, of course starting by its collection so that it does not remain at risk of entering waterways and oceans if the most direct and efficient way to solve the marine plastic litter issue (at least on the short/medium term). This works as long as there are means to finance this Ocean Bound Plastic collection and as long as the actors in the value chain really focus on Ocean Bound Plastic.
The first component of the OBP program (The OBP Collection Organization Standard) was developed to ensure that organizations collecting Ocean Bound Plastic really do so, according to a standard and published definition and do it also in a way that is ethical, socially responsible and respectful of the environment.
Adding to this first standard a second standard (The OBP Recycling Organization Standard) was developed to ensure the traceability along the value chain of recycling until final products, while verifying that the same ethical, social and environmental standards are applied. Combined, this two Standards give us a tool to help the plastic industry focus on removing and recycling Ocean Bound Plastic.
However, the majority of Ocean Bound Plastic is not commercially recyclable and a solution to incentivize this low value plastic is also needed. This is where we believe the concept of plastic credits / plastic offsetting can be used most effectively focusing the money that the sales of credit generates to pay for the collection and treatment of Ocean Bound Plastic waste that has no value and that would not be collected otherwise. This led to the creation of the OBP Neutrality Subprogram, designed to certify organizations active in collecting and treating non-commercially recyclable Ocean Bound Plastic and organization willing to offset a plastic footprint and become OBP Neutral.