The board of directors of the Packaging Association (PAC) and the leaders of its PAC NEXT initiative announced the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding to begin promoting Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) to resin pellet handling operations within their membership.
Originated by the Society of Plastics Indstry (SPI) more than 25 years ago, OCS is now a joint program of SPI and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and is licensed to the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) to administer and promote in Canada. OCS is an environmental stewardship program that has been implemented by almost 200 U.S. companies, 70 Canadian companies, and close to a dozen international plastics organizations around the world including the CPIA.
Plastic pellets are often transported long distances from the manufacturer to the processors, the U.S. EPA stated. Along the way they may be spilled or dumped, allowing the pellets to enter the environment to be distributed by rainwater and drainage systems into aquatic environments. The water pellets may float, remain in suspension, or sink to the bottom. In the environment they may be ingested by organisms and the EPA states that birds often mistake plastic pellets for fish eggs.
OCS is working to ensure that spilled resin pellets do not make their way into local waterways, lakes or oceans is a priority. The goal of OCS is to help resin pellet handlers implement systematic housekeeping and pellet containment practices toward achieving zero pellet loss.
"We're excited to be working with SPI, ACC and CPIA to help promote the OCS program and to ensure our members engaged in resin pellet handling sign onto the OCS program," said James Downham, PAC president and CEO. "PAC and PAC NEXT urge all of their members who handle resin pellets to take the OCS pledge to prevent the loss of resin pellets into the environment. We all agree that plastic pellets don't belong in the environment, and this program can help us practice better pellet stewardship across our industry."
ACC's VP of Plastics Steve Russell added, "Industry collaboration is essential in tackling marine debris, both at home and globally. PAC's support of OCS helps further unite the value chain on essential best practices for keeping pellets out of our waterways."
The OCS program and manual contain guidelines to help plant operations managers reduce pellet loss to the environment. The OCS manual and customizable implementation tools are available online at no cost to companies wishing to implement the OCS program. Learn more about the program and sign onto the OCS program at www.opcleansweep.org for plants operating in the U.S. and through the CPIA website www.plastics.ca/ocs for plants operating in Canada.