Sorting plastic bottle caps is a form of hands-on plastic accounting

Plastic Accounting: The Case for Going Beyond Carbon

Carbon accounting does not capture the full range of negative impacts that could be associated with your company. This is why plastic accounting exists. In this blog post, we tell you more about the symbiotic relationship between these two forms of environmental accounting.

Plastic Accounting is a New Domain of Environmental Accounting. The mechanism helps companies understand the risks and opportunities associated with their plastic footprint.

Do you already integrate plastic accounting into your environmental stewardship strategy?

Measuring your company’s carbon footprint is a good first step. But it does not capture the full picture of negative impacts that could be associated with your company. Especially companies in the consumer packaged goods, retail, and foodservice industries, often neglect one of the biggest concern of consumers: plastic pollution. This is why plastic accounting exists.

Decoding Carbon Accounting

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol outlined three categories for the analysis of corporate emissions:

  1. Scope 1: covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources of the reporting company (e.g. fuel combustion, company vehicles)

  2. Scope 2: measures indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling consumed by the reporting company

  3. Scope 3: includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain (e.g. business travel, investments)

As of today, many companies report and address their Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. However, measuring Scope 3 emissions is a difficult undertaking because of complex value chains, limited data availability, and accuracy.

The Case for Plastic Accounting

Now, what does this mean for plastic pollution? I’ve got some good and some bad news for you.

Let’s start with the bad news: It turns out that carbon accounting does not fully capture the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of plastic pollution. Hence, there is a dire need to design a framework that creates transparency and accountability for the non-carbon impacts of plastic pollution.

The good news is that these frameworks exist and are quickly entering the limelight. Plastic accounting is a new domain of environmental accounting. It refers to the process used to measure the negative impacts of plastic pollution that can be associated with a company.

Although international standardization for plastic accounting has yet to be achieved, we help you make sense of your data today.

This is how it works:

Similar to carbon accounting, we split plastic accounting into three categories for analysis:

  1. Tier 1: covers pre-consumer plastic waste whose end of life destination you can influence as a company (e.g. plastics used at the warehouse, workplace-related plastics)

  2. Tier 2: measures post-consumer plastic waste whose end of life destination you can only partially influence as a company (e.g. product packaging, protective packaging used for shipping directly to the consumer)

  3. Tier 3: includes all other activities in the supply chain of a company that creates plastic waste (e.g. plastics used for agriculture, microplastics)

Start Your Plastic Accounting Journey Today

Already today, we empower you to better understand the risks and opportunities associated with your company’s plastic footprint. Plastic accounting also helps you cut through the noise, and ultimately take the right measures to create a positive environmental impact.

Ready to amplify your environmental accounting practices? Your plastic action journey starts here. Join us today!


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