Demystifying PCR Certification Webinar Q&A
We all play an important role in the world of plastics recycling, and with the right tools we can work together to make the circular economy a reality. The production and consumption of post-consumer resin (PCR) are essential in a circular economy. The APR PCR Certification Program provides transparency to support a reliable, robust PCR market—for reclaimers, brand companies, and converters. APR held a webinar in November 2022 providing an overview of the APR PCR Certification program, how reclaimers prepare to get certified, the required resources, and the steps involved in the auditing process. See below for questions and answers from this informative session.
How do I start the process?
Please contact APR, and we will send you our current list of endorsed certification companies. When you're ready we can put you in touch with one, or multiple, certifiers to get a quote and start the process.
Is the APR PCR Certification program open to converters and brand companies?
The APR PCR Certification program currently certifies chain of custody from source to pellet and/or flake, but plans to expand the Program to certify chain of custody from source to end-product are currently underway. Brand companies and convertors can play a pivotal role by requesting or requiring certified PCR and signing a long-term contracts with PCR suppliers.
Does the APR PCR Certification Program certify the exact amount of PCR content in the pellet or flake?
The APR PCR Certification Program currently certifies only pellet or flake derived from post-consumer sources. We do not certify mixed pellets, so we do not include specific percentages of PCR. We will be expanding the APR PCR Certification program to end-products soon, and this certification will indicate what percent of the product is made with PCR.
If a facility manufactures both PCR and PIR, can the certification bodies verify this using a mass balance to determine how much PCR waste it can sell?
Yes, during the verification process, the PCR waste can be verified if the proper systems are used to clearly verify the sources and manage the claims.
What does it cost to get my PCR certified?
The cost will vary based on the number of products being certified, suppliers, sites being audited, and other factors. You can expect the cost to begin at approximately $5,000 USD. Contact the APR endorsed certifying companies to request a quote. Please note, APR does not charge or collect a fee for this program.
What is the renewal process for APR PCR Certification?
The certification is good for 1 year, and it will need to be renewed each year.
Is 3rd party certification required by any of the EPR laws?
Many EPR and content mandate laws are currently being written and finalized. We expect 3rd party certification will be a requirement in several final laws.
Does PCR Certification demonstrate the quality of the recycled content, or is it solely about chain of custody back to post-consumer sources?
APR PCR Certification demonstrates chain of custody back to post-consumer sources and does not measure the quality level (ie: food grade) of the recycled content. A mass balance analysis will be conducted of all material flows within the recycling facility to ensure that enough post-consumer raw materials were purchased and used in production to consistently meet the recycled content claims within the certification period. There will also be an evaluation of the source of the recycled raw materials to determine the total percentage (by weight) of post-consumer plastics being used to manufacture the product. A site visit, virtual or in-person, will also be conducted.
How do the certifying companies verify the feedstock is from post-consumer sources?
To verify feedstock, the auditor requires an attestation form from the supplier and purchasing invoices for the material. A site audit may be required if further verification is required due to material or information gaps.
If new recycling equipment is purchased during the certification cycle would that disrupt the process?
According to SCS, the auditor could assess if a provisional certification can be provided for a new system start-up and have a follow-up audit to verify the production during mid-cycle.
How is APR PCR Certification different from ISCC Plus Certification and SPC's Recycled Material Standard (RMS)?
All three programs can be used to certify PCR, but the primary differences are:
- APR only certifies PCR. Pellets or flake sourced from post-industrial sources do not meet APR's standard. To enable a circular economy, turn old plastic packaging into new recycled content, and meet voluntary corporate commitments and legislative requirements, the industry must focus on strengthening the PCR market.
- APR currently traces chain of custody to pellet or flake level, so certification is currently for reclaimers only. We plan to expand to the end-product level in 2023.
- APR has multiple endorsed auditors that meet its rigorous criteria for companies to choose from.
- APR does not charge or collect a fee for its program. The only fee is paid to the certifying company.
What's the difference between APR PCR Certification Program and the APR Recycling Demand Champions Program?
Both programs were designed with the goal of building a reliable and robust PCR market. The APR Recycling Demand Champions Program recognizes companies that increase their PCR use each year. The APR PCR Certification program recognizes reclaimers that produce certified PCR. In 2024, we plan to harmonize the two programs so that Demand Champions will be recognized for increasing their use of certified PCR.