What is the Global Recycled Standard

Global Recycled Standard - what does the certificate contain?

The Global Recycled Standard, GRS, is a certificate for products made from recycled materials. The certificate is administered by a global, non-profit organization Textile Exchange

I have compiled the main points of the certificate criteria in this publication. However, the literature is much more comprehensive and detailed than this. You can read the whole set of criteria in English here. 

What does the GRS certificate contain?

As the name implies, the core of the certificate is to ensure that the material used is recycled. However, the criteria are much broader than just the material and take into account the principles related to the responsibility of production in many ways. 

The certificate sets the requirements

  • recycled material content
  • traceability of the production chain
  • social responsibility
  • environmental responsibility
  • to avoid harmful chemicals

Recycled material is monitored until the end product

If the product is GRS-certified, it must contain at least 50% recycled material.

Recycled material can be either used (post consumer waste) or unused (pre consumer waste), such as textile waste that is not used as such in production. 

The content of the certified material is ensured and documented at all stages of the work, starting with the collection of the material.

Social responsibility

Social responsibility also plays an essential role in the criteria, and there are quite a few detailed conditions for protecting employees. I have summarized them as follows.

  • The work must be voluntary and the use of punitive and coercive measures, the collection of bail and the withholding of identity documents or salary are prohibited.
  • Minimum age limits for workers to avoid child labor
  • Freedom of association, assembly and collective bargaining
  • Anti - discrimination
  • Counteracting mental and physical violence
  • Health and safety. The work environment must be safe and staff must be familiar with safe working methods and emergency equipment.

Working conditions and pay

  • Organizations should favor permanent employment relationships 
  • The salary paid for normal working hours must cover at least the basic needs and, in addition, discretionary expenses for the employee and his family. 
  • Regular weekly working hours are limited to 48 hours. Overtime cannot be regular, but must be voluntary and paid overtime.
  • Employees can have a maximum of 6 consecutive working days and their annual income is paid.

Environmental responsibility

The certified organization must have an environmental management system and a senior environmental manager. The system must include objectives, measurement, monitoring and documentation 

  • handling of chemicals
  • energy consumption
  • water consumption
  • wastewater and waste treatment
  • climate emissions

Chemical handling

All chemicals used in production must be documented and the use of harmful chemicals is prohibited.

What are the benefits of a certificate?

Recycled materials are often used, even as a very small part of a product, in marketing, however. Thus, some RECYCLED-labeled products contain more new than recycled material.

The GRS mark on the product guarantees that the material of the product is actually recycled, it is at least 50% and the product is made in a sustainable way. 

Global Recycled Standard logo

The GRS-certified products in the Upcycler range are 100% recycled. Because these products are manufactured in Asia, the responsibility aspect of the certificate for ethical production plays a very important role for me.

 Also read: What is Fair Trade in textiles?

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