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SPI’s pellet-containment protocol heads north

The Society of the Plastic Industry's environmental stewardship program that aims to keep loose resin pellets out of waterways and, eventually, oceans, has been extended northwards to Canada following a licensing agreement among the Canadian Plastics Industry Assn. (CPIA), SPI, and the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council.

Leaders of those groups held a ceremony to announce the introduction of Operation Clean Sweep to Canadian pellet-handling operations during the Plast-Ex trade show (Toronto Congress Centre; June 21-23). Started by SPI more than 25 years ago, Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) has now been implemented by more than 200 U.S. companies, with recent adoption by New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The program aims to mitigate of eliminate the loss of resin pellets down plant drains where they can eventually work their way into rivers, lakes, and oceans. The program includes a system of housekeeping and pellet containment practices to work towards zero pellet loss. The OCS program and manual contain guidelines to help plastics operations reduce the loss of pellets.

Greg Wilkinson, CPIA president and CEO, said his group will push the program out to Canada's 3350 plastics firms, encouraging their participation. The CPIA estimates there are more than 106,000 people employed in the Canadian plastics industry, which generates $31 billion in annual revenue.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminsitration (NOAA) lists resin pellets under its "land-based" sources of marine debris.

Debris generated on land can be blown, swept, or washed out to sea. Among the sources of the debris are littering, dumping in rivers and streams, and industrial losses such as spillage of plastic resin pellets during production, transportation, and processing.

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