For more information, contact:

Elle Brumley
Senior Manager, Industry Affairs
ebrumley@plasticsindustry.org
202.974.5213

Browse this page for articles from the newsletter, The Clean Sweep, which delivers the best of Operation Clean Sweep straight to your inbox. For further details and news, please visit: opcleansweep.org.

 

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - March 31, 2017

    OCS Goals for 2017: Increasing Participation + Increasing Awareness = Increasing Impact

    By Elle Brumley, Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)

    Every year the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) set target goals and program priorities for Operation Clean Sweep (OCS). Below is a list of what we hope to accomplish in 2017, which will serve as a guide for all of our activities throughout the year:

    • Increasing Numbers – As always we will continue to increase the number of OCS partners, supporters and international license holders.
    • Increasing Awareness – We will also continue to bring OCS to the attention of the global plastics industry by delivering presentations at industry events both nationally and internationally.
    • Better Metrics – Registering and converting existing OCS partners into a list of all facilities (rather than all companies) will enable us to create a clearer map of OCS’ reach across North America.
    • Sharing Best Practices – This year the OCS team will work to create a library of best practices that can be housed on the OCS website and shared with new partners. These best practices will become a useful resource for new signatories and serve as a platform to recognize those companies that are already operating their own successful OCS programs.
    • Recognizing Excellence – With a bit of work and support, 2017 will be the first year in OCS’ 25-year history to offer a Gold OCS partner membership, which will recognize those companies that go beyond running their own OCS programs and commit to share their best practices with other companies and complete an annual survey of OCS members. Only five companies across the industry will be awarded Gold status and they’ll be recognized at an OCS meeting that’ll serve additionally as a networking venue for OCS partner companies and an orientation for potential OCS partner companies to come and learn about the program.
    • Globalizing OCS - An OCS international landing page will be created to improve and increase communications between the burgeoning international OCS community. The new online OCS portal will help members of the global industry identify their region’s program, give more visibility to the international partners, encourage more international partners to join and house copies of the OCS manual in different languages. A password-protected section of this page will enable international partners to share OCS tools and best practices with one another.

    Your support is a vital part of expanding OCS’ reach and its impact, so we hope you’ll join us as we work to turn these goals into achievements that ultimately benefit the entire global plastics industry.

     

    OCS Profile: Larry Freeman of Innovative Injection Technologies (i2tech)

    By Jacob Barron, Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) with thanks to Larry Freeman of i2tech

    The best resource to learn about how to make Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) a part of your company’s operations is the people around the globe that have implemented their own programs at their facilities. That’s why we’ve started the OCS Profile series, which will interview one key member of an OCS partner company about how they went about putting the OCS guidelines to work and engaged their employees to pursue zero pellet loss. For this first edition we spoke to Larry Freeman of Innovative Injection Technologies (i2tech).

    Tell us about your role at i2tech.

    I’m the director of engineering here. A typical day is managing my 13 direct reports—tooling engineers, project engineers, quality engineers. I’m responsible for sales as well so I’m working on leads and quotes, approving quotes and approving POs for new tooling and new projects.

    Tell us more about what i2tech does.

    We’re a custom molder. We mold for OEMS and tier-two suppliers s to OEMS and we have presses ranging from 55 tons up to 3200 tons.

    When did OCS come to your company?

    I believe in 2010. It’s still ongoing. It’s still constant. I’m currently involved with similar projects that expand upon Operation Clean Sweep. We just wrote an article in our newsletter that featured the celebration of Operation Clean Sweep’s 25 years to promote that and we recently studied all of our waste streams and identified what we could do to eliminate other waste going to our landfills.

    How have you engaged other employees in this process and these projects?

    We have all employee meetings every week that touch every person in the building. We go through things but even before that we’ve made sure our materials handlers are trained on how to handle pellets and powders and so are our technicians. We implemented the training and then make that a part of the all-employee meetings and that’s how we monitor the program.

    How on a company-wide level are issues identified and the program maintained and updated?

    We maintain a stormwater pollution prevention plan and that basically consists of a committee that identifies sources of pollution and sources of entry into the environment and develops a mitigation plan that we stage internally. We follow that plan and audit that monthly.

    Have you shared the OCS guidelines with your customers or other companies?

    Well nothing formally but I wrote an article for our company newsletter and that is shared with our past employees and customers. We have a big email distribution list that we send that to so again it’s nothing formal, but it’s something.

    What were/are the challenges that come up in implementing or administering OCS?

    Getting the protocols and procedures set in place was the biggest challenge, but now with the training and everyone following the protocols it’s really a non-issue. We just take care of our waste stream and take care of the pellets and there aren’t any problems.

    What’s the one thing you would tell companies that have yet to sign on to OCS?

    Get involved and be a responsible molder. That’s just part of having a custom injection molding shop or molding for anybody else; just being responsible with your pellets and your resin and your materials.

     

    New Brand: Plastics Industry Association

    By Jacob Barron, Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)

    In the time since the last Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) newsletter, the organization formerly known as SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association launched a new brand, a new website and a new name: Plastics Industry Association, PLASTICS for short. The rebranding demonstrates that as the plastics industry grows and evolves, so does the association.

    PLASTICS, the association's new identity, builds upon nearly 80 years of a strong history of fostering collaboration among the entire plastics supply chain. “To continue to drive the industry forward for decades to come, our board of directors made a decision to evolve our purpose-driven organization,” said William R. Carteaux, PLASTICS’ president and CEO. “We’re not a society; we’re an association that helps to shape the future of the industry. Our new identity as the Plastics Industry Association reflects the way forward.”

    PLASTICS also unveiled a new logo, which represents the six facets of the plastics industry supply chain: brand owners, equipment manufacturers, material suppliers, moldmakers, processors and recyclers. Moving forward, the plastics industry will continue to grow and support sustainability and find ways to make recycling easier, which is part of the reason why the association also launched its new, and first-ever tagline: “Better Industry. Better World.”

    “Our member-driven organization will continue to help the industry grow while promoting new technology through our trade shows and conferences,” said Jim Murphy, chair of PLASTICS’ Board of Directors and president and CEO of Davis Standard, LLC. “At the same time, we’re going to work to evolve the way people think about plastics.” 

    The historic moment for PLASTICS was informed by sound research and member support; PLASTICS’ new name helps clearly define itself—it’s straightforward and it’s simple—and helps to elevate the brand in the broader business world. To learn more about the plastics industry’s rebrand, please visit: PlasticsIndustry.org/About-Us/Our-Rebrand.

     

    OCS Noted as Model Program at the Global Plastics Alliance Annual Meeting

    By Stewart Harris, American Chemistry Council (ACC)

    In December, the Vietnam Plastics Association hosted the annual meeting of the Global Plastics Alliance. Delegates from 17 countries and four continents participated in the three-day meeting to discuss efforts by industry to address the global issue of marine debris. Presentations focused on implementation of The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter. The meeting also provided an opportunity to recognize several new signatories who were present, including the Ghanaian Plastics Manufacturers Association (GPMA), the Myanmar Plastics Industries Association (MPIA), and the Vietnam Plastics Association (VPA).

    Reducing pellet loss is one of the six focus areas of the Declaration, with Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) noted as a model program. There was an enthusiastic discussion of the reduction in pellet loss with the expansion of OCS globally. The following new license holders were noted.

    • Colombia Acoplasticos
    • ANAIP - Asociación Española de Industriales de Plásticos
    • ASSOCOMAPLAST - Italian Plastics and Rubber Processing Machinery Association
    • ADUPI - Association of Plastics Recyclers in Indonesia

    Building on the success of OCS over the past 25 years, industry continues to find ways to further reduce pellet loss and improve the program through OCS 2.0. Among other actions, OCS will seek opportunities to share best practices and serve as a resource to new companies. Expansion of OCS globally continues to be a priority for the program. Global Plastics Alliance members are excited to continue to support the expansion of OCS as the benchmark program for keeping resin pellets from becoming marine debris.

     

    OCS Case Study from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA)

    By Carol Hochu, CPIA

    As we all know, Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS) is an international program designed to prevent resin pellet, flake, and powder loss and to help keep this material out of the marine environment.  It is the plastics industry primary stake in the ground in the battle against marine litter and part of the much larger sustainable plastics industry program.

    As plastics association professionals, we lead the charge by educating, engaging, and encouraging our members (and non-members) to take the OCS pledge, and we feel buoyed when many of them do.

    Case Example:

    Saanich district municipality is located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, within the Greater Victoria area.  On March 2, 2017, the local newspaper, Saanich News, ran a story headlined “Ideafest presenters perplexed by plastic nurdles”.  In a nutshell, the story reported that local university staff and students found plastic pellets on the beach; conducted preliminary chemical analyses to determine polymer type (LDPE); concluded that they were NOT from a famous 2012 sea freighter spill of PP pellets in Hong; that the pellets might be coming from Alberta (how the concerned citizen came to that conclusion is unknown); and that NGO’s like Surfrider Foundation are actively dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of oceans and beaches and will report on findings of plastic pellets.

    As CPIA takes the issue of spills very seriously, we have so far undertaken the following:  our local BC consultant has reached out to the university staff to learn more and to request pellet samples for our own testing; we also contacted a member company in the area to gain local knowledge and understanding of the issue (affected beaches are located in the busy shipping lanes to and from the port of Vancouver); we have conducted outreach to all our BC members, whether OCS signatories or not, to remind them that pellets are being found on beaches and vigilance is required, ideally by taking the OCS pledge; and last but not least, we encourage our members to organize beach and other waterway cleanup events in order to “walk the talk”. 

    CPIA, as the Canadian licensee of OCS, will continue to promote the program to the Canadian plastics value chain (https://goo.gl/vgfbMb).  Working in partnership with our colleagues at PLASTICS Industry Assocation and American Chemistry Council, we look forward to improved results on this critically important issue of marine litter.

  • 25th Anniversary Edition - Sent on Sept 22, 2016

    The History of Operation Clean Sweep

    Innovation in plastics over the last 100 years has brought about tremendous advancements in packaging, medical devices and thousands of other products. Unfortunately, studies conducted by the Center for Marine Conservation (now known at the Ocean Conservancy) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) beginning in the late 1980s detected plastic pellets in the marine environment. These pellets were escaping into waterways through spills at manufacturing facilities and during resin transport. The studies found that plastic pellets were found everywhere from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, ultimately affecting seabirds and other marine species.

    As early as 1986, SPI committed to working toward a solution and began educational programs highlighting the importance of preventing pellet loss. SPI created the Resin Pellet Task Force whose mission was to educate the plastics industry and consumers about plastic in the marine environment. In 1991, at the recommendation of the EPA, the Pellet Retention Environmental Code was created and spread throughout the industry. The initiative grew into a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Ocean Conservancy that resulted in SPI sponsoring one of the first International Coastal Clean Up Campaigns, which is now one of the largest volunteer events in the world. SPI introduced Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) in 1991, providing a manual with recommendations from EPA’s report, Plastic Pellets in the Aquatic Environment: Sources and Recommendations, and how to create a zero-pellet-loss plastics industry.

     

    From 1991 to 2016: Operation Clean Sweep

    Over the last 25 years, the plastics industry has grown into the third-largest manufacturing industry in the United States, employing over 940,000 people. With more than 16,000 facilities in the U.S., the plastics industry has made a significant impact on the economy. But, the industry also recognizes its responsibility to be a good steward of the environment. Ensuring zero pellet loss is just one way that the industry participates in sustainable materials management. OCS began as a national plastics manufacturing educational guide and has grown from there. In 2002 California initiated its “Plastics Debris Rivers to Sea” project with the California Coastal Commission and the California Film Extruders and Converters Association (the precursor to WPA), together with SPI and ACC, highlighted the successes of OCS in keeping resin pellets out of the Pacific Ocean.

    In 2004, SPI partnered with the American Chemistry Council (ACC), bringing opportunities to expand the network of OCS partner members. With such success in the U.S., OCS expanded internationally sharing the license for the program with countries such as India, Mexico, Canada, China, South Africa, Australia and 17 other counties began implementing OCS in their plastics industries. As the initiative continued to grow, OCS included plastic powder and flakes in addition to pellets enabling recyclers to join the program. Engaging all aspects of the plastic resin life cycle is essential to keeping plastics out of the marine environment. In addition to partner members, OCS created a role for companies who do not directly handle plastic resin. As of 2015, the supporter member category gave organizations that don’t qualify for partnership the ability to promote the initiative. Operation Clean Sweep is an evolving initiative and will continue to develop.

     

    Operation Clean Sweep: Today

    Earlier in 2016, SPI and ACC announced Operation Clean Sweep 2.0. In order to have a more accurate representation of those involved in OCS, individual facilities will now be counted instead of companies. OCS 2.0’s goal is to have all 16,500 plastics facilities in the U.S. sign the pledge to work toward zero pellet, powder and flake loss. If your company has not updated its information, please send the name of your facility and the contact name, phone number and email address to ebrumley@plasticsindustry.org.

    OCS 2.0 will now require facilities to renew their commitment every three years. This is critical to ensure facilities are using best management practices. Zero pellet, flake and powder loss is possible with your help and commitment to Operation Clean Sweep.

     

    Future

    Through the years Operation Clean Sweep has evolved but the goal has not changed: achieving zero pellet, flake and powder loss. OCS and its partners and supporters will continue to strive to achieve zero pellet loss. If your company has not signed the pledge, please take action today by completing the company pledge.

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - March 4, 2016

    Ideas for Recruiting Beyond Your Association's Membership for OCS Participants

    By Krista Friesen, Vice President, Sustainability, Canadian Plastics Industry Association

    Since 2011, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) has acted as the Canadian licensee for the Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) program. In this role, CPIA focused the majority of our effort in the early years (2011-2013) on educating and engaging CPIA member companies to register for and participate in OCS.

    In early 2014, CPIA decided to look beyond our own members and approached the Packaging Consortium (PAC) about educating their members on the OCS program. We started an outreach campaign with PAC members that included the following elements:

    • Identifying relevant PAC members (i.e., by material category and Canadian presence)
    • Developing messages that highlighted the importance of OCS to PAC members
    • Deciding on the key outreach channels
    • Engaging a neutral third-party organization to act as the recruitment agency
    • Rolling out the engagement plan

    Overall, the strategy used was highly successful. In the first step, we identified approximately 70 PAC members that would find OCS relevant to their operations. In terms of developing the messaging, CPIA took the lead on the OCS content but we worked closely with PAC to ensure their priorities were highlighted in the message.

    For the outreach channels, we decided the use PAC’s monthly newsletter as the first point of contact – this allowed PAC to inform their members about the partnership with CPIA and their belief that OCS fit with their association’s priorities. A follow-up email was sent from the third-party agency within a week of the newsletter being distributed – this email contained content that reinforced the messages in PAC’s newsletter and a link to the registration page for OCS. Finally, a follow-up call was made to any of the identified PAC members who hadn’t already registered by the outside agency within two to three weeks of the email being sent. In terms of the third-party organization, CPIA made the decision to hire a neutral party to lead the outreach portion of the recruiting process in order to avoid any confusion with the PAC members and to explain that this recruitment effort was being led by CPIA with the full support of PAC.

    The outreach portion of the campaign lasted approximately five weeks, and in that time, we were able to register 11 of the 70 identified PAC members (for an initial recruitment rate of 16 percent). And the strategy and effort were so well-received that we decided to use the same format for a 2015/16 follow-up recruitment campaign with PAC’s Canadian members, as well as an initial outreach campaign with a provincial Quebec-based plastics association, called FEPAC (Fédération des plastiques et alliance composites). These outreach campaigns are currently underway, with the development portion starting in November 2015 and the outreach to individual companies happening in December 2015 and January-February 2016.

    Stated tuned for further results. If you have any questions, you can contact Krista Friesen at kfriesen@plastics.ca.


    Making the Program Work for You

    In direct response to OCS partners asking for more guidance within the implementation stage of the program, SPI: the Plastics industry trade association and ACC have created a 'how to' video.

    The video shows the key stages of implementing the program within facilities and shares good practices and experiences from OCS partners who have the program well established. The video is a great resource and will be shared with all national and international OCS partners and supporters.

    The video not only addresses this practical aspect of how to implement the program but also clearly shows some of the excellent work our OCS partners are doing on a daily basis. We will therefore proudly share this video with NGOs across the globe.

    Watch the video:


    OCS Goes Global With More International Partners

    By Michael Taylor, VP International Affairs and Trade, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association
     
    Last year was a standout year for Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) in a number of ways. In this regard, the single biggest development in 2015 was in China. There are a number of ways that China distinguishes itself globally -- most populous  with more than 1.3 billion people, second largest with almost 10 million square kilometers of area, and biggest contributor of discarded plastics into the oceans with more than 8.8 million metric tons or nearly 30 percent of the world total.  In May 2015 in Guangzhou, China at Chinaplas 2015 -- the 29th International Exhibition on Plastics and Rubber Industries -- the Chinese Plastics Processing Industry Association (CPPIA) joined the ever growing ranks of associations promoting OCS within their respective countries and to their member companies.

    China along with Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are responsible for close to sixty percent of the plastic entering our oceans annually.  It should be noted that the Philippines joined OCS in 2014. Looking ahead to 2016, Indonesia will sign on and hopefully Thailand and Vietnam.

    Also in September 2015, Australia joined OCS. This was particularly significant for two reasons:  First, the agreement was signed by both an environmental NGO -- the Tangaroa Blue Foundation (www.tangaroablue.org) -- and a business association -- the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA). This is a first that we hope to replicate in other countries as well. Second, when thinking about a country like Australia, you consider it having a lot of coastline. In fact, when it comes to coastline length, Australia measures in at 25,760 kilometers and ranks number six globally. With this signing, countries signed onto OCS represent 430,423 kilometers of coastline (or 267,451 miles).

    Continuing the focus on the total length of coastline under the OCS program, this year will be a banner year as well. In January in Moscow at Interplastica 2016 -- the 19th International Trade Fair on Plastics and Rubber -- the Russian Association of Plastics Processors (NP OPP) will join OCS with 37,653 kilometers of coastline and ranking number three globally. As mentioned already, Indonesia will be signing on early in the year too with 54,716 kilometers of coastline and ranking number two globally. So just with the addition of these two countries, we will achieve a 21.5 percent increase in total length of coastline covered under OCS.  Actually with these two countries promoting OCS, we will have all but one of the countries (i.e., Norway) with the ten longest coastlines in the world on board.


    Operation Clean Sweep Gets an Upgrade

    By Elle Brumley, Manager Industry & Regulatory Affairs, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association

    In its original form, the Operation Clean Sweep stewardship program has had a tremendous impact on helping make plastic pellet, powder and flake loss a thing of the past for the last 24 years.  The goal of Operation Clean Sweep is to help every plastic resin, flake or powder handling operation implement good housekeeping  and containment practices to work towards achieving zero pellet, flake and powder loss, protecting the environment and saving valuable resources. After a recent review process of partner needs and requests the OCS program has evolved.  The new, updated edition (OCS Version 2.0, if you will) promises to make OCS an even stronger force for environmental stewardship in the plastics industry.

    OCS 2.0 will provide:

    Stronger and More Regular Communications with OCS Members and Other Stakeholders

    Version 2.0 will make even clearer what’s expected of OCS signatories and supporters.  A more detailed website will include a list of specific metrics that OCS members can use to measure internal accountability. Additionally, a new spotlight feature will be added to the OCS website to collect and highlight OCS best practices from members who are on the ground doing the important work of safeguarding the environment from pellet, powder and flake loss. 

    A biannual newsletter will also be sent to OCS partners and shared with NGO partners and government agencies to educate about actions the industry is undertaking to ensure that no plastic materials end up in streams, waterways or oceans.

    More Accountability and Bigger Figures

    Under OCS 2.0, companies will re-pledge every three years to ensure that their OCS membership is up-to-date and accurate. Additionally, rather than counting the number of companies that have signed, OCS will begin keeping track on a facility-by-facility basis. There are currently over 16,000 plastics facilities in the U.S., and SPI and the ACC will aim to get every single one of them on board with OCS 2.0’s effective but easy-to-follow guidelines.

    Stronger International Participation

    The first stage of this portion of the OCS upgrade will include more sharing of tools and best practices associated with the OCS guidelines with international partners. Overall, the new OCS will be more consistent across the board, making it easier for international associations to promote OCS among their memberships, and for international companies to become a part of the OCS solution.

    SPI will be in touch with OCS members to promote these new upgrades and to solicit input about how to make the program even more successful. If your company has best practices for OCS implementation or ongoing maintenance that you’d like to share, or if you’d like to send in your facility’s contact information to ensure that it’s among the facilities counted in the OCS tally, email Elle Brumley at ebrumley@plasicsindustry.org.