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Plastic Credit Exchange Seizes Opportunity to Cut Plastic Waste

Ryan Quintal

More than 380 million tons of plastic are produced globally every year, but only about half of it is likely to be recycled for other uses. The rest might sit around for years, decades, or even centuries taking up space and fouling the environment. These numbers provide a stark reminder of the massive ecological impact of plastic – and why some experts say efforts to deal with it must move beyond a “reduce, reuse and recycle” strategy.

Photo Courtesy Sigmund

One company working toward that end is Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX), which is a plastic offset platform that provides solutions that can mitigate plastic waste so it doesn’t wind up in nature. The platform lets business partners purchase credits to offset their plastic footprint. PCX then uses the money to recover, transport, and process plastic waste.

In addition to keeping plastic out of nature, PCX aims to provide economic opportunities to partners who collect plastic waste from their neighborhoods. The company’s ultimate goal is to help reduce the amount of plastic that’s generated in the first place. One strategy is to replace plastic packaging with sustainable paperboard products.

“We view plastic offsetting as only one part of what should be a comprehensive solution set for businesses to take responsibility for their plastic waste, but not as an excuse to pollute,” PCX Founder and Chairperson Nanette Medved-Po told the Environment + Energy Leader website in a recent interview.

Though PCX is headquartered in the Philippines, many of its leaders and business partners have extensive backgrounds in the United States. That includes Medved-Po, a Honolulu native who spent her younger years in the Philippines before earning degrees in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Babson College in Massachusetts and spending time as an actress, model, philanthropist, and businesswoman.

Photo Courtesy OJ Serrano

The company has made a big move into the U.S., announcing partnerships with American companies Herb + Flora, Peanut Butter & Co., and Touchland Hand Sanitizer. The move makes sense, considering that the U.S. generates more plastic waste than any other country in the world, and more than half of it is exported overseas.

PCX’s foray into the U.S. has already paid dividends for Peanut Butter & Co., a family-owned peanut butter brand available at more than 15,000 stores nationwide. Earlier this year, the brand committed to achieving Plastic Neutral Brand Certification in partnership with PCX. In a May press release, Peanut Butter & Co. said it had already offset its plastic footprint by neutralizing more than 220 metric tons of plastic used in 2020. It also committed to offsetting its plastic consumption in the coming years.

“Working with Plastic Credit Exchange allows us to take direct responsibility for the environmental impact of our packaging and actually do something to help take plastic out of the environment,” said Peanut Butter & Co. Founder & CEO Lee Zalben. “The burden of dealing with packaging waste cannot fall on consumers and governments alone – brands need to step up and take responsibility for their part. We hope this will inspire others in the grocery industry to join us as we strive to make our planet a cleaner place.”

Business partners like Peanut Butter & Co. purchase credits from PCX to offset their plastic footprints, after which PCX uses the funds to ensure the plastic is channeled to environmentally preferred end destinations. For waste management, PCX prioritizes women micro-entrepreneurs in low-income communities.

Whenever feasible, the plastic is recycled into new products. If it’s end-of-life plastic, it’s safely eliminated by co-processing partners. PCX facilitates the entire chain, from sorting to transportation, to make sure plastic waste arrives safely at partner processing centers without leaking into the environment.

The entire process is verified by third-party auditors such as Ernst & Young and PwC. To ensure full accountability, transparency, and traceability, credits and offsets are registered in PCX’s public blockchain ledger, which was built and powered by technology partner Microsoft.

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