The Circulate Initiative
Plastic Credits are the newest kind of pollution offset - but do they make a difference?
Updated: May 25, 2022
Author: Kristin Toussaint
One factor at the core of our climate crisis is excess: We’re producing too many carbon emissions, more than our atmosphere can handle. We’re creating too much single-use plastic, more than can be recycled. This excess has reached dangerous levels. Our planet has just 9% of its global carbon budget left, and each year, 8 million tons of plastic makes its way into our oceans.
To combat all this excess, companies can try to simply produce less, but these excesses can be hard to remove entirely from a business model. When a company can’t reduce, there are offsets or credits, which create a market for the effort to reduce these pollutants. When an organization does something that would reduce carbon, like planting trees, they can sell that benefit to a company looking to effectively reduce their emissions.
Now, the concept of credits are moving beyond emissions to one of the other most pressing forms of pollution: plastic.