A Certification Model for those who are making Plastic Neutrality a Reality


80 % of Plastic Marine litter is originated from land based activities, it is then clear that Plastic Marine Litter is a consequence of poor plastic waste management on Land. (Source : European Commission)

Plastic enters Oceans from Land because it is either directly thrown in it or in a river, or because it is carried by winds or rains. It is estimated by the OceanCleanup studies that rivers contribute to 10 to 20% of the problem1

(1.14 Million to 2.41 Millions tons of the commonly admitted total number of 8.4 to 12 million tons per year of Plastic in the Oceans). The rest, the majority (80% to 90%) then comes from Coastal areas.

Therefore, 80% of Plastic in our OCEANS was before OCEAN BOUND PLASTIC, which means abandoned plastic waste in specific areas like Riverbanks, River Streams, Coastal Areas.

So our thinking is simply: if we catch OCEAN BOUND PLASTIC, we can solve 80% of the problem!

Now, there are many projects for capturing commercially recyclable Ocean Bound Plastic, but very few projects exists to capture non-commercially recyclable Ocean Bound Plastic because this plastic waste has no commercial value. At the same time it is technically impossible as of now for companies to produce all their plastic good with recycled plastic.

That is why we think, like others, that Plastic Offsetting or Plastic Neutrality is a good solution to tackle the non recyclable part of the plastic waste. In this model companies pay for the removal of plastic from the environment to neutralize or compensate their plastic usage solving the economical value issue and the recyclability issues.


ZERO PLASTIC OCEANS (ZPO), in association with the certification company Petterson Control Union developed a Certification Program that covers the full Plastic Neutrality Cycle. Since our focus is on Ocean Bound Plastic this program only covers plastic offsetting by the removal of Ocean Bound Plastic, focusing on the non-recyclable portion of it (actually the vast majority).

The program allow organization to get certified for:

1) The collection of Ocean Bound Plastic and its treatment in an environmentally acceptable way (disposal or valorization)

2) The emission of Neutralization Certificates

3) The Plastic Offsetting (allowing companies buying the Neutralization Certificates to offset their plastic use to claim their product are Plastic Neutral or OBP Neutral)


The full cycle is certified by independent Certification Bodies (not by ZPO), giving all actors the necessary guarantees of transparence and quality. The Neutralization Certificates are also certified by the Certification Body and registered by ZPO in a public registry. This guarantees the work has effectively been performed and that no double counting is possible.

The model is shown below:



The certification guarantees logically the origin of abandoned plastic waste removed as Ocean Bound Plastic, but it also also to guarantee specific categories (Shoreline and Waterways), ensuring a more positive impact and also allows for the fully traceability to the precise source (depending on supply chain model chosen).

However for us it is overall the way to guarantee social and environmental standards are respected all along the cycle (waste pickers, collection companies, offsetting companies) as all of them has to comply with requirement such as:

Fair working conditions – fair Payment to waste pickers

No child labor

Waste management practices guaranteeing no OBP is generated back


All informations and contacts are available on the dedicated page of the OBP CERTIFICATION PROGRAM www.obpcert.org but if you have any doubts or question you can drop us a note in our contact form.

The certification process is handled directly by Certification Bodies, for the moment Control Union is the only Approved Certification Body so you can contact them directly to get a quote to get your organization audited and certified.

Our certification standards and other guidelines and templates are of course public and also available on www.obpcert.org in the document center.


1) You will read commonly that 90% of Plastic in our Oceans comes from 10 Rivers. This is a misinterpretation of a study by Schmidt, Krauth, Wagner ‘Export of Plastic Debris by Rivers into the Sea’, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017. What the study says is that 10 rivers represent 90% of the Plastic carried by Rivers, this is very very different.