Key RPM Questions and Answers

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What is Plastic Pollution?

It’s plastic that's where it shouldn’t be and negatively affecting the environment. It’s in the sea, rivers, beaches, pathways and it’s causing harm to the environment, wildlife and humans. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually (UK Government, 2018)

What’s the Scale of Plastic Pollution?

Current estimates show that at least 8 million pieces of plastic are entering the oceans every single day. It's killing and injuring wildlife and affecting food chains.

The total plastic in our environment is growing dramatically and is now approximately 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic, weighing 269,000 tons. That's equivalent to 1345 adult blue whales. And 500 times the number of stars in our galaxy. Reports state that there will be more pieces of plastic in the sea than fish. The need for action is indisputable.

Why Responsible Plastic Management and not Plastic Free?

Plastic-free can be a confusing and misleading term. It is often associated with the reduction of single-use plastics but not necessarily the complete elimination. Plastic use is not all bad, it helps with some of the many processes and products that society needs and wants. The key problem is the overuse of unnecessary, virgin and problematic plastic, the lack of circularity in product and process design and the mismanagement of plastic after use. Society and organizations should eliminate the use and demand for Single Use Plastic whenever possible.

We are unlikely ever to have a plastic-free society but the development of a responsible plastic society will reduce plastic use, increase circularity efforts, help protect the environment and our climate from negative plastic impact.

Ask your organization or suppliers what they are doing to incorporate responsible plastic management practices.

What makes RPM unique?

The RPM Program is the only initiative with a practical and pragmatic journey framework for organizations from plastic awareness to verification and certification. For interested parties we have an ISO based Standard that can be used for certification. Organizations that claim to have responsible plastic management practices from the outset can move to verification or certification without the necessity for training and projects.

For organizations starting off and interested in preparing policies, reviews and controls for responsible plastic management we have a formalised improver pathway. RPM is suitable for any type of organization regardless of size or type. The initiative is complementary to other initiatives that are occurring in sectors, regions and companies.

How is the RPM Program operated?

The RPM Program is a not-for-profit social enterprise. It is managed by a core team of standards and certification experts and engages support from consultants and accredited certification bodies. We have operations in over 16 countries and have regional management to facilitate at a local level. We derive our funds from services offered to listed Supporters and from projects with Engaged organizations.

The approved certification bodies and consultant organizations have a global reach and can facilitate the needs of engaged organizations across the globe. RPM provides the training and measurement tools that are needed for organizations to progress on their pathway to responsible plastic management.

What are the requirements to achieve certification?

We have an offering for both Verification and Certification. Verification involves the validation of plastic management improvements over a given time for an organization. The scope of the Verification can be agreed with the organization and can be targeted at specifics such as Single-use plastics or improved circularity. This delivers the 'Verified Engaged' status for organizations. The requirements to achieve Certification are set out in the RPM Standard. This is a standard created by sustainability and standard experts and reviewed by environmental bodies and certification experts. The RPM Standard has detailed criteria across key areas of Policy, Measurement, Action Planning, Records and Communications. Organizations engage an approved Certification Body who review the organization and only those meeting the criteria of the RPM Standard receive RPM certification . Organizations are reviewed by the Certification Body on an annual basis after year one.

What do RPM Accolades/Kite Marks mean for a business?

The RPM Supporter accolade communicates that the organization is 'Plastic Conscious' and is making a commitment to commence efforts and improvements in Responsible Plastic Management. They take part in RPM Program coaching and motivational work shops. The RPM Engaged accolade communicates that an organization is active in projects to identify and reduce problem and single-use plastics where viable. These organizations undertake RPM Program Reviews that plots status and helps to create goals and targets. The organization has an option to have their efforts and achievements independently verified and this entitles them to the 'Verified Engaged' status The RPM Certification is a recognised symbol of an organizations ability to meet the best practice criteria of the ‘RPM Standard’. Certification demonstrates a third party verification by an accredited certification body. The Certification means that an organization has a best in class and indisputable level of progress and control and they can report this Certification and progress to stakeholders with confidence.

What does RPM Engagement for a business mean?

The RPM Engagement is a recognised symbol of an organization’s Responsible Plastic Management commitment and progress. It demonstrates a commitment to a policy of measuring, controlling and reducing their single use and problem plastic, ultimately contributing to their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. The RPM Engaged accolade means that an organization can clearly communicate its commitment and report the progress to stakeholders with confidence

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