In 1992, plastic industry leaders started Operation Clean Sweep, an initiative designed
to provide companies that work with plastic pellets the tools and resources to minimize pellet loss in the environment. Pellet loss not only represents a lost asset, but also an environmental threat. And, once in the environment it can be extremely difficult .to recapture pellets. Our leaders wisely identified the need for the industry to take concrete steps – including a public commitment — to keep resin pellets out of the environment.
Everyone who handled pellets was invited to “Take the Pledge” and implement Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) at their companies. Through OCS, companies had access to important resources and tools that provided good housekeeping practices in the handling of plastic pellets. For most companies, these resources helped them build upon practices already in place. Companies also had the opportunity to join with others in the plastics value chain to publicize the good work of this voluntary initiative.
More than 20 years later, OCS is going strong – but there are still companies out there that haven’t taken the pledge.
A time for change
Pledging to follow and implementing OCS best practices is easy, free and, frankly, the right thing to do as a good neighbor and a proper steward of the environment. Keeping plastic pellets out of the environment and in your company is also good for your bottom line.
Since its inception, Operation Clean Sweep has grown from a domestic initiative to a global one. OCS materials have been translated into French, Spanish and Portuguese. Numerous plastics associations in 11 different countries have signed licensing agreements to utilize the initiative’s tools and resources. The sad truth is that plastic pellets continue to be found where they should not be — in rivers, lakes and oceans throughout the world. That’s why pellet containment and OCS is part of our industry’s commitment under The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter. And it’s why I urge every company that handles plastics pellets to do their part.
A commitment to prevent plastic pellet loss
Now is the time to take the pledge. For the plastic packaging world, that means converters signing a statement committing themselves to work to prevent resin pellet loss at their companies. And for plastic packaging designers and innovators, that means spreading the word about the initiative throughout the packaging value chain and encouraging those that work directly with resin pellets to join. Do you know a pellet handling company that could benefit from Operation Clean Sweep? Send them a link to this piece, share the below video, or a direct link to the Operation Clean Sweep website.
Marine debris is a global issue, and it will take all of us to keep materials such as plastics out of our oceans and waterways. Supporting OCS is a good starting place.