Sustainability Solution – Recycled Content Label/Mark

Recycled content is not a new concept to the textile and apparel market. The importance of circularity has steadily increased throughout the entire fashion industry. This allows for old and discarded materials to be produced as new textile fibres and new garments. Thus, the verification and certification of recycled content are increasingly in demand to secure the circular economy.

Challenge
As industry gains a better understanding of how pre-consumer and post-consumer waste impacts the environment, there is an ever-increasing demand for products made of recycled materials. Many organizations make claims about the environmental benefits that result from products made with post- and pre-consumer waste content, but have difficulty verifying and substantiating those claims. A number of governmental bodies have now issued marketing guidelines or regulations that require marketers to substantiate their environmental claims to avoid deceiving or misleading consumers.

Solution
Intertek Hong Kong is accredited to provide recycled content verification and certification for cost-effective solutions, such as the Global Recycled Standard (GRS), the Recycled Content Standard (RCS) and the Intertek Green Leaf Verified Mark – Recycled Content, to enable the sustainable development of the textile business.

Global Recycled Standard
This is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. The goal of the GRS is to increase use of recycled materials in products and reduce / eliminate the harm caused by their production.

The GRS is a higher level of certification compared with RCS, applicable only to recycled raw materials. The RCS-qualified supplier reduces the unnecessary repetition of audit and relevant cost, equivalent audit/ standard of recycled content, and social and environmental management. For example, if a factory has obtained RCS certification, then the relevant audit on recycled content would be exempted; if a factory has valid SA8000 certificate, the audit of social responsibility would be partly or wholly waived. For textiles, the ZDHC MRSL is adopted as a part of the chemical criteria for production, in a response to the “Detox” commitment of some famous brands and retailers.

Recycled Content Standard 
RCS is a chain-of-custody standard to track recycled raw materials through the supply chain. The standard was developed through the efforts of the Materials Traceability Working Group, part of OIA’s Sustainability Working Group, in 2013. It is a standard supporting external third-party certification. Certified companies are authorized to use the RCS label to market their products and communicate with downstream users and consumers. 

Intertek Green Leaf Verified Mark – Recycled Content 
This is a service validating that recycled content claims have been independently verified by Intertek. It involves a simple, straightforward three-step process. Once you complete the verification and attain the required level, you can use the Mark to educate and communicate to consumers about the recycled content attributes of your products, your environmental policies and your brand’s commitment to designing, sourcing and manufacturing eco-friendly products. 

Benefits
  • Alignment of Recycled definitions across multiple applications;
  • Track and trace Recycled input materials;
  • Provide consumers (both brands and end consumers) with a tool to make informed decisions;
  • Reduce harmful impact of production on people and the environment;
  • Provide assurance that materials are actually Recycled and in a final product;
  • Drive innovation in addressing quality issues in the use of recycled materials. 
 

Softlines - Green Recycled Content_table


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