The majority of the output of recycling plants in several countries is currently non-certified products, but due to stricter
demands from end-users, who would like to use recycled products conforming to specifications and guaranteed quality, certification has become an important step in the supply chain management context. This page conveys information on existing quality control certifying systems used to certify recycled C&D waste products quality and performance both in Australian and overseas contexts.
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
EPD is a standardised way of quantifying the potential environmental impacts of a product or system. EPDs are produced according to a consistent set of rules – Product Category Rules (PCR) – that define the requirements within a given product category. These rules are a key part of ISO 14025 (ISO 2006) as they enable transparency and comparability between EPDs. EPD Australasia is an independent framework for business in Australia and New Zealand to provide objective, science-based environmental data and other information about their products and services. There are two alternatives for verification:
EPD Individual Verification (most common): verification of LCA-based data, additional environmental information and the EPD, conducted by a recognised individual verifier, or:
EPD Process Certification: verification of an internal organisation process that creates EPDs according to the General Programme Instructions. Only accredited certification bodies are allowed to certify an EPD Process.
The EDP benefits include quantification of impact across a broad range of environmental issue to reduce corporate risk and improve product performance, avoiding greenwashing and providing a sound basis for marketing claims, providing comprehensive and credible information for end user on environmental performance of products
How to create an EPD
Creating an EPD and getting it registered and published by EPD Australasia includes the following steps:
1. Find, or create, a relevant Product Category Rule (PCR) for your product (see here)
2. Undertake an LCA study according to the PCR
3. Compile the EPD Report based on the LCA
4. Get the EPD and background data independently verified
5. Registration and publication with EPD Australasia and the International EPD® System
Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) Standard
This standard identifies environmental, quality, regulatory and social criteria that the top products sold in the Australian marketplace can meet in order to be recognised by GECA as “environmentally preferable”. The primary purpose of this standard is to define environmental performance criteria for products made from recycled content materials. Recycled products may be environmentally preferable based on reduced demand for virgin materials and reduced amounts of waste going to landfill.
The standard is applicable to the following categories of recycled/reused content products:
Glass, Plastics, Rubber, Timber, Fill and foundation materials such as sand and gravel
Intertek’s Verified Recycled Content program includes an evaluation report, certificate and the use of an Intertek Sustainability Certification mark that can be used on products and packaging and will help you to effectively market your recycled content claim to your customers.
The verification process involves several steps with the Intertek team:
Data Collections and Analysis: Intertek helps you assemble your data and documentation required for our review. This includes information about manufacturing, processes, and chain of custody procedures for materials to determine if conformance is achieved as well as the nature of your claim.
Evaluation: The Intertek evaluator writes a draft assessment report that details the findings of the review, including data analysis, non-conformities, and opportunities for improvement. You are required to respond to any non-conformities with a root cause analysis and corrective action.
Onsite Inspection: The evaluator uses a risk-based approach to determine if an onsite inspection is required based on the data and documentation collected in step 1. If it is needed, the onsite inspection may be recommended prior to granting certification.
Technical Review: The Intertek Program Manager reviews the evaluation and report, which is then sent to you for review and comment, prior to certification.
Certification Decision: If the requirements of the verification are met, Intertek issues the final report, certificate(s), and certification mark. Once certified, your company and products are listed on the Intertek Sustainability Certification Directory.
Certification Maintenance: Certification is valid for 3 years provided there are no changes to materials, suppliers, processes, etc. Intertek’s Certification Manager will send a brief survey each year to confirm that no changes have occurred.
European Quality Association for Recycling e.V.
EQAR is the European roof organization of national quality protection organizations and producers of quality-controlled recycled building materials from the EU member states. In accordance with the Articles of the Association adopted by the founder members in the centre of the activities of the Association, there are
promotion of international cooperation and
exchange of experience between the national quality protection organizations and their members and
know-how transfer and
support in spreading the idea of quality protection and quality assurance of recycled building materials on the European level.
Global Green Tag Certification
Global GreenTag is one of the trusted and widely recognised eco-labels. The organisation independently assures that every product is fitness tested and certified under one of our two leading certification programs that use standard scientific methods.
Global GreenTag’s GreenRate certification is a Green Building Council of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa recognised product rating system designed to meet the requirements of the Green Star® ‘Sustainable Products’ credits. All certified products are examined for ‘Fit-for-Purpose’ and confirmed for Building Code compliance. Based on Full Disclosure of ingredients, it looks in detail at Health and Ecotoxicity and the other Priority Assessment Criteria. It looks at different aspects of the product and its ingredients at various stages and for various issues including; aspects of resource use (post consumer recycled and rapidly renewable content), waste reduction, availability of greenhouse and water footprints.
CodeMark Certification Scheme
The CodeMark Certification Scheme is a non-mandatory building product certification scheme that provides a method for verifying that a building product meets nominated requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). As well as allowing a certificate to attest compliance with relevant Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Provisions, the scheme permits a CodeMark Certificate to attest the compliance of a building product with relevant Performance Requirements of the BCA. Use of a building product certified in this manner represents a relatively simple Performance Solution for a construction practitioner, because technical analysis has already been undertaken by the Conformity Body who issues the CodeMark Certificate, making completion of the process and documentation requirements of A2.2(4) relatively simple.
ViroDecs™ Environmental Product Declaration
Third-party verified environmental impact data. In an Australian first for ready-mix concrete, Holcim developed ViroDecs™, our Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) that covers our normal class concrete range nationwide.
An EPD is an independently verified document demonstrating relevant environmental data about the life-cycle impact of a product. Launched in 2019, the ViroDecs™ EPD enables designers and builders to make more informed choices about materials based on their environmental impacts. Completely transparent and third-party verified, the ViroDecs™ EPD provides a range of environmental indicators for Holcim’s ready-mix concrete products.
Since the launch of the ViroDecs™ EPD, Holcim has been recognised by the Green Building Council of Australia for its industry leadership which continues to shape the way the construction sector designs and builds.