In July 2018 our friends of the Ekoe Cooperative contacted us: they had had an idea during a training session about compostable materials with a customer and they would like to share it with us.
A Plastic Free Certification? At the time the focus on the plastic free issue was already high, but there was nothing like a certification for those who wanted to take the plastic free path. An ambitious idea, with many obstacles on the way, but urgent and necessary.
We look each other and we think: yes, we would love to be part of this project and to make an important and innovative contribution to the issue. We come from very different realities but we have an invisible thread that binds our paths: the protection and the safety of the Planet and the Human Being.
Luca, an expert in European standards, get started and the Plastic Free Standard begins to take shape.
We meet periodically and if we can’t all be present live we use alternative channels to discuss the Standard, the improvements to be made, the practical difficulties that customers might have in the Plastic Free Standard application. After almost a year, the Plastic Free Standard - company management system, sees the light in its (first) final version.
Plastic Free Certification has officially born: an innovative start-up owner of the first Plastic Free Standard in Italy and certification body also.
Mauro Colagreco, already engaged in a personal plastic free path, contacts us for his restaurant in Menton, the Mirazur, and he becomes our first customer.
It is a very exciting moment, that leads us to receive many requests in the following months for information and collaborations from every part of the world, literally.
We can’t believe it and we don’t have time to stop and to think: there is so much work to do, we would need to work on the project full-time, day and night, to translate all the material in five languages, to manage the requests, to take care of the site, to assist the customers.
Everything seems to be going better than we could just imagine. Dominique Crenn contacted us for her Atelier in San Francisco, California. We organize the trip in a few days, they need training on alternative materials and helps on the Plastic Free Standard. Laura returned a few days before the borders closed due to the coronavirus.
A complicated period begins, Plastic Free Certification stops and none of us knows if this beautiful project will go on or if it will be sucked into the black hole of the activities that cease to exist because of the Covid19.
We don’t give up, we return to work on the Plastic Free Standard. We make it easier and we improve all the documentation. Again we have to translate all the material into English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Little by little something begins to move again, old and new contacts decide to start the certification program. Of course the process is slow, due to lockdown and stops. But the sustainable conscience returns even more strongly than before.
And here we are, as always. We decide to become a Benefit Company. We expand the network of our Italian and international partners. We launch training projects for teachers and pupils in schools. We join Asvis, Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development. We participate in a European project to implement block chain solutions and ensure even more security and transparency to our customers.
The world continues to deal with the pandemic, the restrictions, the contractions of the market. Meanwhile, single-use plastics are seeing an exponential increase in their use around the world.
We are not discouraged: on the contrary, Plastic Free Certification strengthens its proposal, develops collaborations and strengthens its international presence, certifying new responsible realities aware of the increasingly urgent and global environmental challenge.
First of all, we optimize the usability and reliability of the certification processes. Thanks to the collaboration with B2lab, we inaugurate a blockchain space that guarantees the security and transparency of the necessary documentation. We develop an online platform manageable in backend for direct monitoring of the reduction processes of certified bodies, which allows us to overcome the now obsolete spreadsheets.
The digitization processes open up exciting horizons: we dream of a device capable of quantifying the CO2 reduction achieved thanks to the certification processes, and thus being able to enhance the environmental commitment even with a concrete and tangible value. But we are not used to keeping dreams unrealized: soon we sign a collaboration with a research group of the Department of Industrial Engineering, Information and Economics of the University of L'Aquila, aimed at an unprecedented research on the environmental impact of disposable plastics and compostable alternatives, through the Life Cycle Assessment methodology.
In the meantime, new realities start the certification process, those already certified confirm their commitment for the second year and the Committee issues the first Renewals. We are honored to assign the Plastic Free Ambassador recognition to some prestigious chefs who have taken our mission particularly to heart: Mauro Colagreco and Dominique Crenn.
Our dynamism does not go unnoticed in the world of international environmental certifications. Thus, we begin to receive collaboration proposals from various parts of the world. The Institute of Global Sustainability Certification (IGSC) in Seoul contacts us to include our services among the proposals for environmental enhancement in South Korea. We also enter into an agreement with the French Ecotable association which promotes responsible solutions in transalpine restoration. Finally, we have the first contacts with Control Union UK, one of the largest and most reliable certification bodies in the world, with which a stimulating and creative collaboration is established for the development of new initiatives.
Finally, the last important impulse of the year came with the inauguration of the new Plastic Free Certification headquarters. The offices move to the historic center of Bellante, in a wonderful space in river stone and terracotta bricks, illuminated by large glass arches facing the Gran Sasso massif, where originally was the public source of the village, a space that has always been consecrated to the flow of relationships and constant work respecting the natural cycle of things.
From the beginning, 2022 proves to be a year of great development for Plastic Free Certification.
We are inaugurating a new certification service for sustainable events, with the drafting of a specific specification that promotes good practices in the organization of initiatives with a reduced environmental impact. In February we are in Mexico to certify the first of many Plastic Free events: “Mirazur Beyond Borders”.
We complete the collaboration with the research group of the University of L'Aquila, thanks to which we develop a calculation matrix of the equivalent Kg of Co2 that will allow us to quantify the environmental impact of the certified reduction of our customers. We initiate a restructuring of the platform for customers, able to integrate the data of the matrix.
The collaboration with Control Union Uk continues and we become owners and managers of a new Standard for the certification of products without plastics, without microplastics, without plastic packaging.
Our nature as a Benefit company motivates us to also develop social and awareness-raising initiatives: we collaborate with local associations, with municipal administrations, with the Teramo Prison for the realization of environmental promotion events and for the presentation of projects of social utility .
The challenges that await us in this new year are many, some unpredictable.
Our strategy at such an unstable time? Continue to do what we do and what we like to do, dedicating our soul and heart to this project, certain that there is no other way to achieve our goals.
P.IVA/Cod. Fis. 02059040671