What Is Post-Consumer Recycled Content Certification?

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By Webdesk

From eco-friendly toilet paper and product packaging to books and even recycled shoes, we often see “recycled content” products without a “PC (post-consumer recycled) logo attached.

‘Recycled content’ is no more than a catchall phrase.

If something is labeled as being made from recycled materials without specifying, it generally means it’s pre-consumer recycled content.

Products that contain higher levels of post-consumer waste tend to be specified, since it’s not only trickier (and more expensive) to pull off, but also more environmentally friendly—and thus more marketable.

In order for a “recycled content” claim to have merit, verification is needed for obvious reasons.

And there are seemingly countless disparate recycled material certifications nowadays:

What Is UL 2809 ECVP For Recycled Content?

This voluntary global certification program evaluates (via independent third party) a products’ post-consumer, pre-consumer (post-industrial), closed loop or total use of recycled materials, ultimately to verify sustainability claims. 

Via rigorous scientific and data analysis as per their globally-accepted standards, UL 2809 assists brands to confidently showcase in the marketplace that products live up to their environmental claims.

It certifies any industry or material’s total recycled content, from electronics to jewelry and batteries to paper and plastic, and has completed projects involving glass, gold, copper, tantalum, and cobalt throughout the supply chain.

What Is RCS certification?

RCS certification, operated by the nonprofit Textile Exchange, has three main objectives: 

  • Align definitions of “recycled”
  • Credible verification of a products’ recycled content claims
  • Help brands and consumers make informed choices

This international and voluntary RCS sets requirements for third-party certification of recycled input and chain of custody to track recycled raw materials through the supply chain. Granting certification happens upon this.

RCS certification requirements are unfortunately a little lacking, mandating that a mere 5% of content is recycled.

What Is GRS certification?

Similar to the RCS and likewise operated under the Textile Exchange, the GRS features a higher minimum post-consumer recycled content percentage (50%) and further environmental stewardship and social requirements related to processing and chemical use in manufacturing.

In addition to the aims of the RCS, GRS has three additional aims:

  • Reduce the harmful impact of manufacturing on people and the environment.
  • Provide proof and assurance that items are made in a more climate-friendly way that supports a circular economy.
  • Promote the distinct advantage of higher proportions of recycled material in products.

So what is the difference between GRS and RCS? 

While both respected verifications of the Textile Exchange, GRS’s 50% recycled content and processing requirements make it far more rigorous than obtaining RCS certification verification.

What Is SCS Recycled Content Certification?

This popular, global voluntary standard from SCS Global Services assesses products made from both pre-consumer and post-consumer waste material and measures the percentage of recycled content to ensure claims made in the market are legitimate.

Receiving the mark is based on a mass balance calculation, combined with an evaluation of the manufacturer’s quality management system, looking at chain-of-custody and traceability, material segregation, supplier qualification procedures, and non-conformance procedures.

After a draft assessment report and upon awarding the mark, manufacturers obtain a numbered certificate (with specified and verified recycled material levels) and a certification mark for use on product and marketing of sustainability efforts.

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