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OCS Newsletters

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - June 27, 2022

    Operation Clean Sweep

    Summer Newsletter 2022


    Activity within the Operation Clean Sweep Community has accelerated since our last OCS Newsletter. It is fantastic to see that the members of OCS are energized toward sharing their challenges, solutions, and advice for best practices with their peers all to reach the common goal of mitigating plastic resin loss to our environment. During PLASTICS Re|focus Sustainability and Recycling Summit, Allison Chertack, Manager of Plastics Sustainability at ACC recited a quote that truly embodies the mission of OCS:


    While consumers are responsible for the proper disposal of the products they use, the plastics industry must focus on proper containment of the products we use... We must prevent the resin from getting into waterways that eventually lead to the sea.


    The OCS Community is committed to containing the products we use to keep them in the value chain. Over the past few months, 257 OCS Facilities (116 companies) have renewed their commitments for another 3 years. All 44 OCSblue members have stayed on for another three years and 4 have moved up to the OCSblue program.

    All OCS Members can be seen here. Our new members include:

    • Amcor Flexibles North America - Oshkosh South
    • Winpak Portion Packaging Inc.
    • Sonoco (7 facilities)
    • BNSF Railway
    • Chesapeake Material Services, LLC
    • DuPont Teijin Films (2 facilities)
    • Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials (9 facilities)
    • Watco Division 5
    • Green Planet Pallet Technologies

    All OCSblue Members can be seen here. Our new members include:

    • Novolex
    • Advanced Drainage Systems
    • PSC Group LLC
    • Quantix, SCS
    • Sunrise Services, LLC
    • Sunrise Plastic
    • EE-Jay Motor Transport, Inc.

    On the non-resin handling front our OCS Supporters and International Partners have been expanding as well. These two groups are important parts of the program's functionality. Supporters, as contributors to the plastics supply chain, have a unique opportunity to speak to the industry about the program and ensure all have access to the best practice guidance that OCS offers. International Partners provide the global solution to the global problem of plastic resin pollution.

    Within the last few months, we have released updated resources for our OCS Supporter Members to use when speaking to the industry about the program. The 2022 renewal process for all existing Supporter members is currently underway.

    All OCS Supporter Members can be seen here. Our new members include:

    • UltraTech International
    • Ports of Indiana
    • Union Pacific Railroad

    60 International Partners are actively managing the OCS program in their countries. You can see the full map below. We are currently in conversation with two new potential partners as well.

    In this edition of the OCS Newsletter, you will read about experiences from two OCSblue Members in how they have implemented the program, including one engaging initiative called “Sweep Week”. You will also hear from our counterparts in South Africa, Plastics SA, about how they have managed the OCS Program in their country. Lastly, included in this newsletter is a feature about the 2 industry events that OCS Members have participated in by representing the OCS Program – the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit and Texas Chemistry Council (TCC) Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Seminar & Industry Trade Show.

    LyondellBasell, Introducing You to GoalZERO and Sweep Week

    Jim Gooris, Manager of Global Environmental Issues; LyondellBasell

    What does LyondellBasell do? When did you all join the OCS and OCS Blue programs?

    LyondellBasell is a leader in the global chemical industry, producing products and materials key to advancing solutions to modern challenges. Our 19,100 employees operate in 21 countries. We are the largest producer of polyethylene in Europe and the largest producer of polypropylene in Europe and North America.

    LyondellBasell is a member of Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS), the plastics industry’s global initiative that promotes collaboration, training and education in controlling and reducing the loss of pellets, flakes and powders. In 2019, we committed to OCS Blue, a U.S. program that enhances management and reporting requirements.

     Why did LyondellBasell join Operation Clean Sweep Blue?

    LyondellBasell is committed to zero loss of plastic pellets to the environment from our operations. To meet this goal, we are working with our employees, contractors, transportation partners and customers in a way that is collaborative and transparent. As part of our OCS Blue program, we conduct 150 assessments of our operations each year to prevent pellet loss.

    What were the most impactful changes you have made in your operations to mitigate plastic resin loss?

    LyondellBasell made OCS Blue a part of our GoalZERO and Operational Excellence programs in 2019.  GoalZERO includes our commitment to operating with zero plastic pellet loss. Operational Excellence is the management system we use to deliver our GoalZERO objectives. As part of our Operational Excellence program, we have designated site champions at each of our polymer facilities. Our site champions are responsible for maintaining site improvement plans and for monitoring site performance toward our objectives at 75 polymer processing facilities globally.

    We are also committed to value chain improvements. If empty railcars are not completely sealed when they are returned to us, any residual polymers in the railcars can fall out during the return trip. In 2021, we developed a system to prevent residual polymers from escaping during transport through unsealed empty railcars. We introduced this system to companies along the value chain and educated them on the proper way to seal the railcars. As a result of this effort, the percentage of unsealed empty railcars returned to us reduced by more than half in 2021.

     How have you engaged all employees in the mission of OCS?

    Employees and contractors receive two types of OCS training, depending on their job. General Awareness training describes the importance of preventing pellet loss and includes examples of how everyone at our polymer manufacturing sites can help. More detailed training on our Operational Excellence program is required for our polymer manufacturing employees.

    Besides training, employees are involved in regular facility inspections, management system assessments, and risk assessments. We also made polymer loss part of our incident reporting system, which requires investigation and corrective actions to prevent recurrence. Finally, in each of the past three years, we have conducted Sweep Week programs at all of our polymer facilities globally.

     Meet “Pell”. One in a collection of mascots used to promote awareness of OCS at LyondellBasell


    What is Sweep Week? When and how did it start?

    LyondellBasell initiated Sweep Week in 2020 as one of many pieces in our 2020 Operation Clean Sweep Strategic Plan. The program is widely supported by our leadership and workforce. This year, we are hosting our third Sweep Week program.  

    What happens during the week?

    Each year, all of our polymer handling locations are asked to commit to three activities:

    • Clean up our plants
    • Raise awareness
    • Prevent recurrence

    These three activities are communicated widely in the months and weeks leading up to Sweep Week through several internal messaging systems. Manufacturing locations also have posters, banners, stickers, t-shirts and children’s activities each year.

     What plans do you have for future Sweep Week events?

    Our aim is to get others involved. We have timed Sweep Week with other global programs, such as World Ocean Day and LyondellBasell’s Global Care Day. Going forward, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with others in the plastics industry to expand Sweep Week.

    From the Program’s Inception to Now – Plastic Express

    Greg Peterson, Quality Manager; Plastic Express

    Introduce Plastic Express and when you all joined the OCS Program.

    Plastic Express is headquartered in City of Industry, CA. We have 17 Full-Service Facilities and 36 Bulk Terminals spread across the country, including our newest facility in Savannah, GA. Plastic Express was one of the original participants of the Operation Clean Sweep program back in the early 90’s. We then joined Operation Clean Sweep Blue in 2020.

    Describe the onboarding process you take your new employees through to get them up to speed on OCS Program best practices within your company.

    We have an on-line orientation program where the new hire works their way through 7 different modules. Since handling plastic resins is 95% of what we do at here Plastic Express, every chapter has some reference to the proper handling of plastic resins.

    Module 6 is dedicated to Operation Clean Sweep, incorporating much of the educational information provided via the Operation Clean Sweep portal, but every module touches on protection of the environment, spill prevention, pellet clean-up, and spill reporting.         

    What tools have you integrated into your facilities to mitigate plastic resin spills during daily operations?

    In addition to standard Spill Stations, screened doors, screened storm drains, portable berms, etc. we have recently added a new software program to our toolchest called EHS Insight. This program allows users to attach pictures or even videos, to a customized Inspection or Report, via their cell phone or company-issued tablet. Last year (our first full year using the program) over 2,400 Inspections or Reports were submitted.

    What best practices does Plastic Express take if/when a spill does occur?

    Our # 1 priority when a spill does occur is to contain it. The next step is to notify anyone in the general area of the spill. We don’t want anyone slipping on loose pellets. We will also take a few photos of the spill and the surrounding area to help in the investigation later. At this point we can start the cleanup process. All recovered material is ultimately transferred to a recycling center, and the investigation commences so that we can preclude recurrence.

    In the event the spill is beyond the capability of our onsite personnel, we enlist assistance from a professional environmental service provider with whom we have a standing contract for all such concerns.

    How does OCS program implementation differ between your warehousing and trucking processes?

    The focus in both departments is on spill prevention, and neither is relieved of any responsibility to ensure zero pellet loss. In the warehousing side, most of the focus is on not allowing pellets outside of the facility. On the trucking side, catch pans and mats are used at each railcar hookup point, from sampling through closeout.

    With 50 years of experience, we have developed a number of spill prevention techniques that have proven to be quite reliable, and now are moving to preclude spills in a proactive fashion. At any new facility we develop, we work with the engineers to place blacktop aprons under hookup points, or some other semi-porous catch system when blacktop is not allowed. We have used decomposed granite, and other similar substrates when blacktop is not viable due to any number of reasons.

    Regardless, if a spill does occur, personnel in both departments are trained and equipped to quickly contain and reclaim the spill.

    Operation Clean Sweep in South Africa

    Dianne Blumberg, Online Editor and Douw Steyn, Director of Sustainability; Plastics|SA

    Plastics|SA has been the licensee and project coordinator for Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS) in South Africa's plastics industry since 2012. As a signatory of the “Joint Declaration for Solutions to the Problem of Marine Litter” which took place during the 5th International Conference on Marine Debris, held in Honolulu in 2011, we joined the international plastics community’s commitment to address the issue of plastics in the marine environment. 

    One of the main reasons for plastic resin ending up in the environment is due to poor waste management practices. This can be because of sub-optimal operations, poor housekeeping, poor bagging and storage practices, and losses suffered during transportation. Spilled pellets, flakes and powder can then make their way into local waterways and ultimately estuaries and the ocean. This is not just an eyesore and a litter issue. The pellets and flakes are often mistaken for food by birds or marine animals, which could harm them if ingested.

    To date the industry has not experienced any major spills besides transport accidents by logistical companies that they have no control over. It is for this reason that we are approaching logistics companies to sign the Pledge as well. The Pledge also requires that manufacturing operations inspect their drainage systems and install pellet traps where necessary. 

    As part of our plan of action to implement OCS in South Africa, Plastics|SA has developed a detailed toolkit and a manual that contains guidelines to help plastics industry operations managers reduce the accidental loss of pellets, flakes and powder from the manufacturing facility into the environment. Our goal is to ensure commitment and support from our plastics industry associations (converters, recyclers, manufacturers) as well as the PRO’s (Producer Responsibility Organisations) and raw material suppliers who can encourage their members and customers to sign the pledge and take responsibility as well. In doing so, they agree to the following six commitments in order to establish environmentally responsible processes:

    1. Improving worksite set-up to prevent and address spills.
    2. Creating and publishing internal procedures to achieve zero operations plastic material loss.
    3. Providing employee training and accountability for spill prevention, containment, clean-up and disposal.
    4. Auditing performance regularly.
    5. Complying with all applicable state and local regulations governing operations plastics waste containment and management.
    6. Encouraging value chain partners (contractors, transporters, distributors, etc.) to pursue the same goals.

    Preventing plastic leakage is not only important in terms of preserving our natural environment, but it also makes business sense. It is one of the steps that the South African plastics industry as a whole needs to take to ensure we shape our world responsibly for the future.  Zero resin leakage into the environment can only be truly realised if the entire value-chain is mobilised around this cause. We therefore encourage all members of the industry to sign the OCS pledge and make a difference.

    Re|focus OCS Track & TCC

    Heather Nortz, Manager of Sustainability & Materials; PLASTICS

    One of the best things about OCSblue is the aspect of engagement and collaboration. OCSblue Members are invited to participate in regular calls where they exchange best practices for ensuring resin control. In the last few months, OCS and OCSblue members alike were invited to participate in two events that brought the opportunity for collaboration to a much larger scale. These events were: the Plastics Industry Association’s (PLASTICS) Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit and the Texas Chemistry Council’s (TCC) Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Seminar & Industry Trade Show.

    Re|focus is a three-day conference which brings together plastics industry professionals to discuss all things sustainability. Each topic is structured to provide practical advice that you can take back to improve the sustainability of your organization or products. In addition to discussing OCS, speakers addressed improving the sustainability of your operations as well as working with sustainable materials.

    During the Operation Clean Sweep educational track, facilitated by SABIC’s Amy Steele, 3 OCSblue members, 1 OCS Supporter, and 2 OCS Partners spoke on their experiences with the program to a keenly engaged audience. It is impossible to condense the information given during these presentations into one article. However, the aim of Re|focus is to provide tangible takeaways, so here are some of many key insights heard during the OCS educational track.

    1. Each segment of the plastics industry, including resin producers, transporters, bulk terminal operators, plastic recyclers, and plastics processors has a role to play in preventing resin losses to the environment during production and transportation.
      1. Insight attributed to Tiffany Fisher, Americas Sustainability Advisor, Chevron Phillips Chemical
    2. Once a team is developed, the most important step of implementing the OCS Program is assessment to find risk areas. Followed by best management practice selection.
      1. Insight attributed to Pam Dolbee, Regional EHS Manager, Dart Container Corporation
    3. Numerous companies are investing in creative solutions to improve the containment and capture of plastic resin during the production and transportation processes.
      1. Insight attributed to Henry Hunt, Roscoe Moss and Jim Gooris, Manager of Environmental Issues, LyondellBasell
    4. Collaboration among the International OCS Partners is necessary to continually improve program effectiveness, resource development, and credibility.
      1. Insight attributed to Sanket Das, Policy Manager of the Plastics Division, CIAC and Allison Chertack, Manager of Plastics Sustainability, ACC
    5. Benefits of the OCS Program include – reduced safety risks, reduced risk of environmental regulatory non-compliance, reduced loss of material from the value chain, improved impact on the environment, increased communication among workers, and strengthened sense of community.
      1. Insights attributed to Pam Dolbee, Regional EHS Manager, Dart Container Corporation and Tiffany Fisher Americas Sustainability Advisor, Chevron Phillips Chemical

    David Sandidge, a consultant of the US OCS Program, Susan Gluodenis & Larry Josey of Braskem, and Tiffany Fisher & Shannon Richter of Chevron Phillips Chemical presented in TCC’s EHS Seminar & Industry Trade Show’s Water and Waste educational track. This presentation focused mainly on the pilot projects that have been testing out the draft verification program for OCSblue members. This verification program is essentially an audit that ensures implementation of the OCS program and continuous improvement of mitigating resin loss. 

    This group of individuals has been deeply involved in the creation of the verification system and roll out of the pilot programs. They were able to discuss their experiences with the pilots and discuss next steps to make this audit process available to all OCS Members.

    Participation in these events allows members to learn from their peers and see how other leaders in the industry are solving common challenges or organizing their programs. We look forward to continuing to provide these in-person opportunities to all who are interested in working toward the mission of OCS.


  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - February 3, 2022

    Reducing Resin Loss During Transfer to and From Railcars

    Patrick Krieger, Vice President of Sustainability; PLASTICS

    The transfer and transportation of plastic resin is an opportunity for unintentional resin loss. As such, it is of particular focus and an area where process and equipment improvements can occur. Members of the Operation Clean Sweep Blue program recently shared common industry practices to reduce loss at this juncture. These practices can be summarized into three different categories: detection, prevention, and remediation.


    • Looking for resin in inappropriate areas should be a part of routine facility inspections.
    • Implement checks of railcars before departure to ensure any resin was not accidentally released during loading.
    • Check tubes, caps, and other equipment for evidence of damage, tampering, or leakage.
    • Document and report spills as necessary to ensure operations are reviewed.


    • Train new employees on proper loading and handling procedures with periodic retraining of existing employees as needed.
    • Use catch pans and put them in place prior to the transfer process. A rubber mat can be placed under the pan to further isolate spills.
    • Secure and seal tubes, caps, and other areas of potential egress when not in use/after every use. For tubes, some product may remain in the compartment and should be contained.
    • In areas where spills are likely, consider paving rocky/gravel areas to facilitate clean up. One advantage of rocky/gravel areas is that resin spills may be more likely to be “caught” and not further carried away by wind or water. So, additional consideration may be needed to prevent transmission of resins by these methods. Other alternatives to solid paving are the installation of mesh or agricultural fabric or other geotextile fabrics over gravel.
    • Use secondary containment such as manhole filters. Several options are available in the market. Coconut husk mats can also be added on top of the drain to further prevent resin from entering the drain.
    • Berms can also be installed around drains to limit resin loss. Conduct root-cause analysis on incidents to determine and prevent future releases.


    • Wash or blow railcars and capture the run-off.
    • Have clean up equipment staged and readily accessible. Equipment could include brooms, dust pans, vacuums, etc. Have collection containers clearly labelled.
    • A custom-made screen can be fitted onto a shop vac or leaf vacuum to prevent gravel from entering the hose. Shop vacs and leaf vacuums often don’t have enough suction to work on a gravel bed. Some specific suggestions to address:
      • Overlay rabbit wire directly and run the vacuum truck hose across it.
      • Instead of affixing a screen directly to the shop-vac, you can build a frame (2’x2’, etc.), put screen mesh over the frame, and lay the frame on the ground. Then just clean one section at a time . This can work better to prevent gravel from clogging the shop-vac.
    • For more in depth collection, a crew with a shovel can remove the top few inches of gravel which will contain most of the resin without disturbing the entire rail bed.
    • For more in depth cleaning, there are professional services available which can vacuum and filter out the rail bed without completely disturbing the tracks.

    Additional information to minimize plastic resin loss can be found in the Operation Clean Sweep manual. This topic was also discussed in greater detail during the 2020 OCS webinar series, the recordings of which are found on the website.

    Have a question or looking for advice on how to address a specific situation? Please contact so those topics can be considered for future OCS blue meetings.

    Updated Member Roster 

    Heather Nortz, Manager of Sustainability; PLASTICS

    Throughout 2021, the OCS program began implementation of the newer requirement for OCS members to renew their program participation every 3 years. This renewal entails a confirmation of continual commitment to the original pledge by the member company. It also provides an opportunity for a touch-base on how program implementation has progressed since the last renewal and to provide any updated guidance materials to member companies.  

    This tri-annual renewal requirement is set for OCSblue members as well. A prerequisite for OCSblue is that all US based resin-handling facilities within the company must be actively participating in the program. This allows for accurate spillage metric reporting at the end of each year. As a result of these commitment renewals, the OCS Staff were able to solidify the growing OCS community and reengage with each member. 

    In 2022, we will continue with this renewal of our current members. We will also be beginning the process of reengaging with each International Partner and Supporter member.  

    Operation Clean Sweep Members 

    As of December 2021, our OCS member count is 273 companies totaling 512 facilities.  

    Operation Clean Sweep Blue Members 

    OCSblue members total 45 companies with 455 facilities. The demographic break down of this group is: 

    • 18 Material Suppliers 
    • 18 Processors 
    • 9 Transport / Logistics Companies 


    Our Supporter members are comprised of organizations that do not directly handle resin but are in some way involved in the plastics supply chain and want to support the program’s work. We know that keeping plastic resin out of the environment is an all-hands-on-deck job. We value the contribution of our Supporters as they help to educate those within and outside of the plastics supply chain on the OCS Program and the efforts of OCS and OCSblue members.  

    Currently, we proudly have 21 Supporter members comprised of for-profit and non-profit companies, incorporated trade associations, and unincorporated coalitions.  

    International Partners 

    Global collaboration within a program that services a global industry is crucial to achieving the main goal of OCS – to prevent all plastic resin from entering the environment. Our partners around the world have and continue to help facilitate this actionable goal with resin handlers in their respective countries. They also help to improve the program by bringing in different perspectives and ideas for effective implementation and successful industry practices. To date, the OCS Program is operating in 57 countries. You can find the full list of international partners on our OCS Around the World webpage.  

    Thank you! 

    We are so proud of all of you, our OCS participants, some of which have been with us since the Program’s inception in the 1990’s, who have voluntarily elected to work toward zero plastic resin loss. Keep up the great work! And in the spirit of continual improvement, if you do not see your company name or all of your participating facilities listed on our Member page, contact Heather Nortz at 

    Announcing U.S. Verification System Pilot Projects 

    David Sandidge, Consultant; Operation Clean Sweep

    A voluntary enhancement to OCSblue is being developed: the OCSblue Verification of Management Practices (OCSbV). This program will offer verification of management practices related to OCSblue by independent auditors / verifiers. Overall oversight of OCSbV will be provided by Operation Clean Sweep. Three Pilot verifications are currently in various stages of implementation. Learnings from those Pilots will be incorporated into the overall Verification program.

    OCSblue plans to use a three-year verification cycle with the first cycle extending from January 2023 to December 2025. However, companies are encouraged to begin verifications in 2022. If they opt to do so, they will have four years to complete their first cycle. After the first cycle, the program will settle into a similar 3-year cycle used by the current RCMS / RC14001 program. Cycle duration and verification frequency may change as the program evolves.

    OCS is developing training and background materials on the Verification requirements to third party management system auditors and second party verifiers. As learnings from the Pilots are acquired, additional training and guidance materials will be developed and delivered to the auditor / verifier community and Members.

    OCSb Members have two options to complete the voluntary OCSbV verification. The first option is to incorporate OCS and OCSb requirements into their existing third-party management system audit. The second option is to undergo a second party OCSbV verification process. In this option, OCS staff and the Company would arrange for a verifier to review the company’s management practices for OCS and OCSb and verify their implementation. This verification would be by a combination of review of materials offsite and onsite verification.

    Both OCSbV options will be based on verification of corporate processes and a sample of sites. OCSb companies may implement the program in all US sites. Verifications focus on a sample of those sites selected by the company. Sample size will be consistent with IAF and ANAB sampling guidelines. OCS will issue a Certificate of Verification to companies upon completion of the process each cycle and maintain an up-to-date inventory of OCSb Verifications on the OCS Website.

    Results from the three Pilots will be communicated in the next newsletter. If your company is interested in participating in a pilot in early 2022, please contact David Sandidge at

    Testimonials from Pilot Project Participants

    Braskem continues to focus on improving our operations to work toward zero pellet and powder loss. We are glad to be participating in the pilot program for OCS blue verification as this gives us an opportunity to strengthen our management practices and contribute toward strengthening those for the industry. We are investing in our facilities and team members to ensure our systems and practices are robust.” 

    – Jeremy Glisson, Braskem Industrial Director, Gulf Coast Operations 

    “ExxonMobil Chemical Company is a member of Operation Clean Sweep throughout our global operations. As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of chemical products, we volunteered to be a pilot company for the OCS blue Verification Program at our largest polyethylene facility in Mont Belvieu, TX. The program helps confirm the efficacy of the systems and procedures for preventing pellet loss from our operations and is one example of how we collaborate with OCS members to advance our goal of zero pellet loss to the environment.” 

    – Robert Johnston, Senior Vice President of Global Operations, ExxonMobil Chemical Company 

    “Chevron Phillips Chemical is committed to Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS) programs around the world and has developed robust internal practices to prevent plastic loss from our facilities. We are happy to collaborate with OCS® Blue in the pilot of their Verification Program and welcome opportunities that allow us to assess risks, perform inspections and identify improvements aimed at reducing plastic waste.” 

     – Tiffany Fisher, Americas Sustainability Advisor, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company 

    Member Profile: Tim Musick, PE, CSP, Manager of Global Environmental Affairs & HSES Audit Program; Eastman   

    Tim Musick, Manager of Global Environmental Affairs & HSES Audit Program; Eastman

    Tell us a little bit about Eastman.  

    Eastman exists to enhance the quality of life in a material way. We believe it’s our moral purpose to innovate new materials and sustainable solutions that will change the world. Look around your home, your car, the doctor’s office, or supermarket, and you’ll find our broad range of products in items people use every day. The company was founded in 1920 in the home of our global headquarters in Kingsport, Tennessee. A century later, our more than 14,000 employees around the world are focused on maintaining safe and reliable operations and making a difference for the many people who count on Eastman, today and for generations to come. 

    What does your job entail? 

    I am fortunate to lead a team of professionals whose mission is to deliver value for Eastman in four functional areas: environmental compliance; Health, Safety, Environmental and Security (HSES) auditing; environmental advocacy; and HSES management systems. Our team works from various locations in the US, Europe, and Asia as we support Eastman’s manufacturing operations around the globe.   

    What is your role in the implementation of the OCS program at Eastman?  

    Since late 2019, I’ve been leading a cross functional team within Eastman tasked with partnering with our manufacturing operations on the implementation of Operation Clean Sweep. Our manufacturing sites around the globe have varying levels of involvement with plastic resin manufacturing, so we’ve been working over the past two years to help integrate the zero loss expectations of OCS into day-to-day operations at all of our sites. This year we made the commitment to further our emphasis on zero loss by joining OCS blue, and I’ll be serving as our corporate contact. 

    Why is the mission of achieving zero resin loss important to you?  

    Eastman is committed to accelerating a more circular economy, and we have established goals and strategies to eliminate material waste through innovation and create processes that make the plastics and materials we need reusable and recyclable. We are using our molecular recycling technologies to keep materials in use and out of the landfill, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the process. These innovations are exciting on many levels.  

    But we can’t stop there. As our commitment to circularity stimulates product innovation, it also inspires us to apply the same foundational principles to our operations - keeping materials where they belong and out of the environment. We refer to this foundation as zero-incident mindset. It underscores how we live out our values of safety, ethics and compliance. We won’t settle for anything less than continual improvement, and we are creating an integrated environment in which incidents are never acceptable and everyone is empowered to prevent them. Apply that zero-incident mindset approach to achieving zero loss of pellets, resin and flake, and the OCS mission was a natural extension for us.  

    What advice do you have for companies that have just begun to implement OCS practices into their company? 

    Implementing OCS practices takes participation from all levels of operations and leadership, but we’ve recognized that our front-line employees are critical to a successful OCS program. Engage them to find opportunities and solutions. Realize that a change in operational cultural will be part of it. Focus on leveraging your existing housekeeping programs and management systems. Take advantage of new and retrofit engineering projects to improve systems for preventing pellet losses. And know that the drive for zero loss of pellets, resin and flake is an ongoing journey. Working together, we can all integrate sustainability, circularity, and OCS principles into our day-to-day operations to create a better circle. 

    Profile on Plastics Europe 

    Jérémy Fouriau, Environmental Affairs Manager; Plastics Europe 

    Describe Plastics Europe.  

    Plastics Europe is the pan-European association of plastics manufacturers with offices across Europe. For over 100 years, science and innovation has been the DNA that cuts across our industry. With close to 100 members producing over 90% of all polymers across Europe, we are the catalyst for the industry with a responsibility to openly engage with stakeholders and deliver solutions which are safe, circular and sustainable. We are committed to implementing long-lasting positive change. 

    What is Plastics Europe’s purpose for running OCS?  

    Plastics do not belong in our environment, our food or our drinking water. To tackle this, we need appropriate waste management infrastructures, ongoing investments in innovations, and openly engage with our stakeholders. It requires all value chain actors, including manufacturers, brand owners, consumers, recyclers, as well as policy makers and NGOs, to work together on delivering the necessary behavioural and systemic changes. Plastics are essential to our future. Our commitment as an industry is to relentlessly focus on ensuring that plastics continue to deliver much needed societal benefits without having a negative impact on the environment or health. 

    Plastics Europe recognises that there is a need to tackle the leakage of plastic pellets across our industry. That’s why we created the Zero Pellet Loss (ZPL) voluntary initiative. In 2015, this initiative was combined with the global Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS) programme. 

    How long has Plastics Europe been a license holder of the OCS program?  

    Since 2015 

    How many companies have signed the OCS pledge in Europe?  

    By the end of 2021, more than 1500 companies and associations along the entire plastics value chain in Europe had joined the OCS programme. Logistics and converters are the sectors with the highest of new signatories.  

    Amongst the plastics raw material producers, signatories include all Plastics Europe member companies to which OCS is applicable. This is the result of Plastics Europe decision to make OCS compulsory for its membership as of 1st January 2020. 

    What is your involvement in managing the OCS program in Europe?  

    You can see a clear shift in the uptake of the OCS programme since I was appointed OCS project manager in 2019. Here is a summary of my role as OCS project manager for Plastics Europe: 

    • Lead and drive the implementation of Operation Clean Sweep® in Europe by defining strategic objectives and related budget 
    • Moderate direction, alignment and support within Plastics Europe and its members by coordinating dedicated working groups and task forces 
    • Supporting and coordinating the actions of the Plastics Europe regional teams  
    • Organise workshops to support the implementation of the OCS programme   
    • In cooperation with the value-chain (EuPC, ECTA, CEFIC), finalise the development of the new OCS Certification Scheme and ensure its adequate implementation by the industry 
    • Establish and cultivate networks with key internal and external stakeholders  
    • Act as official industry representative in meetings, workshops and conference with global, EU and national policy-makers or other stakeholder groups, including NGO’s, to provide information needed to develop best possible solutions related to pellet loss prevention, including OCS.  
    • As expert, be a competence centre on pellet loss prevention and Operation Clean Sweep and related issues, research, solutions, stakeholders. Ensure an up-to-date knowledge level within the team and plastics community to enable informed decision making.  
    • Provide support and content to regularly update the OCS website and annual reporting on Operation Clean Sweep progress 
    • Liaise with the shipping industry to find best solutions to ensure the safe maritime transport of plastics pellets 

    Tell us about the new Verification Project you are launching in January.  

    In addition to making OCS compulsory for all its members, Plastics Europe has further committed to accelerating and strengthening the OCS programme by working with the plastics value chain to develop an OCS certification scheme. That’s the reason why we signed a collaboration agreement with EuPC, the association of European Plastics Converters, in January 2021. 

    The parties will jointly develop a certification system by 2022 aimed at controlling pellet loss across the plastics supply chain. All signatory companies of the scheme will be audited regularly by accredited third-party auditors to establish their compliance with OCS requirements, and transparently demonstrate their efforts towards the goal of zero pellet loss into the environment. The scheme will also support the effective, harmonised and quantifiable implementation of the programme. 

    What else is PlasticsEurope working on in OCS for 2022? 

    2022 will mostly be focused on finalising the OCS Europe Certification Scheme. In parallel, we are working with the European plastics value chain to develop additional guidance documents to help companies implement the programme in the most easy and efficient way so that we can continue to extend the uptake of OCS even more in the future. 

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - August 27, 2021

    Welcome Back!

    We are excited to be publishing another edition of the Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS) newsletter. This is an opportunity for us to share helpful information to improve the stewardship of plastic resin, celebrate some of the individuals and companies who are exhibiting leadership, and keeping you up to date on the progress of the program internationally.

    The last eighteen months has been a challenge for everyone. It forced many companies to make significant changes to how they operate, and we recognize that many of you are still being affected by COVID-19. And still, even facing such adversity, the plastics industry has reiterated its commitment to the Zero Loss Pledge - ensuring zero plastic resin loss into the environment.

    In 2020, 98 new facilities from 52 companies joined the OCS program, and OCS blue brought onboard 13 new companies along with their 77 total facilities. OCS blue is the advanced version of OCS for companies who are interested in making a greater commitment to the Zero Loss Pledge. We are proud of each and every one of these committed members. We would like to commend you all for beginning, maintaining, or strengthening your OCS programs.

    2020 also saw the growth of the program internationally, with new regions and associations joining to implement localized versions of the program. Seeing how other organizations make their personal mark is a very inspiring thing. In Canada we saw new management of the program by the Plastics Division of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, who launched the program in English and in French as Opération Balayage. Later you can read how Operation Clean Sweep works in Brazil who has implemented their own version of OCS blue.

    If you missed our Fall 2020 Operation Clean Sweep webinars, the information is available in the recordings that can be found here. A big thank you to those individuals and their companies who shared their tips and practices on how to implement the program:

    • Jerry Curl, G&D Trucking Inc./Hoffman Transportation LLC
    • Danielle Gore, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP
    • Rob Flores, Berry Global
    • Chris Jackson, Shell Chemical Company
    • Dan Martino, Texas Administration, Inteplast Group

    The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) and the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) remain committed to this program and want to help you succeed. Please contact us if you have any questions about the implementation of the program. If you are interested in joining OCS or OCS blue, please visit:

    Testimonial from an OCS blue Program Leader
    Interviewee: Dan Martino, Senior Director; Inteplast. OCSblue Champion

    Plastic manufactures recognize the importance of proper stewardship of resin and working towards zero plastic resin loss. Hear the personal testimonial of Dan Martino, the individual who drives the OCSblue Program at Inteplast Group, on why and how he advocates for the OCS Program.

    Q: Where do you work and what’s your job title?

    A: I’ve been working for Inteplast Group since April of 1992. I started off heading up Warehousing and now I am the Senior Director of Texas Administration – Safety, Environmental, Warehousing, Logistics, Security, Purchasing and more.

    Q: How long have you been active in OCS and OCSblue?

    A: Inteplast Group officially joined OCS in June of 2014 and has been privileged to be in the OCSblue category for the past three years.

    Q: What is your role in the implementation of the OCS program?

    A: I’m charged with being essentially the OCS cheerleader for the company. OCS comprises so many elements that fall under my umbrella – safety, housekeeping, inventory control, rail operation, environmental, policy writing, etc. So, OCS has been a great program for our team as it has enhanced our approach in all of these areas. My team is responsible to enforce the OCS pledge, to educate our employees on the OCS principles, and to address any concerns related to pellet, powder and flake control.

    Q: Why is this program/pellet loss/sustainability/the environment important to you?

    A: Personally, I want to leave my children and grandchildren a cleaner and less polluted world. I’m privileged to have responsibilities for our operations that allow me to make a difference!

    Q: What is something you learned from another member that influenced your company’s OCS program?

    A: From many of our OCS partners, I see that there is a high level of intentionality deployed in successful OCS programs. Zero pellet loss just doesn’t happen – procedures, policies, training, and revisiting all three of those items is an absolute must. We make partners internally in this area through very intentional marketing of the OCS program.

    Q: How do you talk about OCS internally? With partners?

    A: With an employee base of around 7,000 employees, this is another area that must be addressed quite intentionally. All new hires are asked to sign off on the OCS pledge. Annually, existing employees are re-indoctrinated with the OCS principles. Then, and perhaps most effectively, we have ITV – Inteplast TV. Using more than 300 large screen monitors at our locations, we have internally created content running 24 hours a day for all of our employees. And, typically, we run an OCS piece (video, PowerPoint, or otherwise) at least monthly. This puts the OCS goal and program right in front of our employee base – a very effective marketing effort!

    Q: If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS or OCSblue, what would it be?

    A: In these days of international negative publicity related to plastics and plastic pollution, joining OCS provides a complete bundle of resources that allow plastics companies to thrive and to make positive differences in this industry. We all just simply have to take actions that make the world a better place and following the OCS guidelines is a very effective way to do that

    Company Profile Questions: Dow Chemical Company

    Dow Chemical Company provides practical examples of how the OCS Program is implemented and maintained at their 38 manufacturing plants all over the world. Also gives advice to those who have yet to begin the OCS Program at their own companies.

    Q: Can you tell us a little about Dow Chemical Company? 

    A: Dow’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive, and sustainable materials science company. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure and consumer care.

    Q: When did the company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep? How is the program structured? 

    A: Dow has been a leader in helping drive OCS since its inception. We began implementing OCS blue across the company several years ago. We chartered an OCS Steering Team to drive implementation globally across all aspects of our Plastics business within our fence lines, including detailed gap identification and closure plans in manufacturing and logistics. The team also oversees some of our proactive work to help customers and logistics service providers achieve OCS certification.

    Q: How many facilities use OCS? 

    A: 38 manufacturing plants at 13 sites, globally

    Q: What makes Dow’s OCS implementation different from other members?  

    A: We are truly approaching implementation on a global level. When best practices are developed, we leverage globally the same or similar solutions. All of our plants are consistently close to each other in regard to implementation percentage. 

    Q: How is the company engaging employees on the program?  

    A: We have included the OCS blue requirements within our operating standards. All of our employees will go through a defined training course for OCS to ensure they understand the requirements. Once again, this training solution has been implemented across all of our plants, globally.

    Q: Please give us an example of something Dow has done to improve the handling of plastic resin?  

    A: We have fundamentally changed how we manage cleanup of plastics pellets. Instead of washing pellets down to a collection trench on our sites and relying on the site’s pellet/water separation equipment, we are now implementing procedures and equipment to vacuum up the pellets for collection and recycle.

    Q: How does Dow maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?  

    A: This is managed by the OCS Steering Team. We meet on a quarterly basis to get progress updates on the individual work streams. We are also able to help redirect or incorporate new learnings within this team structure.

    Q: Has Dow promoted OCS to other companies?  

    A: Yes, through our commercial (customers) and supply chain (logistics service providers) organizations under the direction of the OCS Steering Team. We are committed to helping lead our industry toward zero pellet loss.

    Q: If there was one thing Dow could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS or OCS blue, what would it be?  

    A: OCS blue is good for business and critical to maintaining our license to operate. Pellets contained within the equipment are prime pellets available for sale. Pellets collected if released from primary containment can also be sold in a profitable way if managed effectively. Pellet containment can be looked upon as a way of improving overall raw material yield which is a direct benefit to the bottom line. 

    Q: Has Dow made any other relevant commitments related to marine debris and/or sustainability? 

    A: Dow is taking action to solve the critical problem of plastic waste in the environment. We are investing in key technologies that will help the world recycle more - by partnering with customers and brand owners to identify how to develop more easily recyclable packaging and by deploying its chemistry and science experts to advance recycling technologies. We are also convening and driving a number of key partnerships throughout the globe – bringing together our customers, brand owners, governments, waste management companies and environmental organizations – to collaborate toward solutions to this critical challenge. 

    To learn more about Dow’s efforts to keep plastic waste out of the environment, please visit or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.

    International Partner Profile – Brazil: PLASTIVIDA and ABIPLAST

    The OCS Program originates in the United States; however, we have numerous International Partners that have joined the effort by managing OCS Programs in their respective countries. PLASTIVIDA and ABIPLAST are the Plastics Associations in Brazil that manage Operation Clean Sweep. Learn how OCS is run in Brazil in this interview with PLASTIVIDA.

    Q: Who are PLASTIVIDA and ABIPLAST? 

    A: Plastivida is a social-environmental institute for plastics, which by means of environmental education discloses precise and scientific information about plastics, their properties, applications, recyclability, and their appropriate and responsible disposal aiming at contributing to the social and environmental development.

    Plastivida’s goal is to redefine the relationship between plastics and society, that is, a more consumption-conscious and responsible relationship when it comes to disposal focused on our wellness as well as the planet’s. We take the assumption that plastics are a key tool to sustainable development, and we believe that cooperation is the best way to solve plastics environmental issues. We call that “shared responsibility” and the purpose to articulate and activate a net of cooperation that integrate production, consumption, and post consumption in chains in which plastics are inserted. 

    Having said that, we disseminate right information on plastic, its responsible use and proper post consumption by means of the relationship with the various publics such as associate companies, entities, governmental and legislative Institutions, class associations and unions, the press and opinion leaders, the society in general, among others.

    Q: What roles do they play in OCS?

    A: Both entities are OCS® Program licensors in Brazil in order to cover all plastics production chain in the implementation of OCS in Brazil by interacting with different players, which are aligned with the same OCS implementation method. They both are signatories of the Brazilian Plastics Sectoral Forum for a Clean Ocean. 

    Q: Why is OCS and plastic resin control so important to Brazil?

    A: In the various studies carried out by Plastivida in partnership with the Oceanographic Institute we have observed and mapped all sources of plastic waste entrance in the ocean. We have also noticed changes in behavioral issues such as tourism, fishing, aspects related to urban solid waste management, maritime merchant or touristic navigation and the loss of pellets in plastics industry operations. Apart from that, it has also been noted that the greatest source of plastics waste entrance in oceans stems from the poor solid waste management, and the lesser one is the occasional loss of pellets to the environment, which can even be considered minimal when compared. The sorting of waste is under the governance of the industry, and therefore we can act both internally and voluntarily to bring those losses to an end so that governments do not need to create laws that lead to that.   

    Scientific studies show that a great deal of pellets reaches the oceans, especially on the coast where they may be found at beaches or on the ocean surface. A study has detected the presence of pellets at 2-meters deep on beaches since the sediment surface layers may contain less than 10% of the total abundance of those wastes. Pellets management at beaches in the state of São Paulo led by Plastivida has revealed that, on a regional scale, pellets are abundant close to port areas, while on a local scale, pellets accumulate in sandbanks and coastal dunes 10 times more than they do at beaches.  

    The scientific data indicate the presence of pellets throughout the world, which is a problem that may be fought against by the implementation of simple and low-cost good practices performed by plastics production chains that are engaged in actions in favor of the environment and preservation of our marine environment, which undoubtedly, depends solely on the sector.

    Q: Could you describe Plastivida’s process for OCS blue?

    A: After the implementation of the Pellet Zero OCS® Program, the company may opt to obtain the Pellet Zero - OCSblue® Program seal. OCSblue®, in accordance with Operation Clean Sweep®, is a recognition for companies that stand out within the existing program by allowing them to show their data and basic metrics that will be useful as the programs keeps on growing and getting great support from the sector. Currently, the company should carry out audit on its OCS Progress Report, which should include its metric data. Such audit may take place internally or conducted by a third party and, nowadays it is performed by the company seeking an OCSblue certificate. The audit report is then analyzed by the licensor based on the PPZ-OCS® Implementation Report for checking. Following that, the licensor deliberates on the audit result and provides the company with the OCSblue certificate along with the PPZ-OCS OCS® seal and then informs the Forum.  

    By receiving the OCSblue seal, the company – through its licensor or not – may honestly and transparently disclose the results and improvements reached. In case the company is not granted the seal, it will have a period of time to adequate its facilities and should be audited again.  

    After approval and granting of the program seal, it should be renewed every two years. On that occasion, a new PPZ-OCS Implementation Report is evaluated, and a new inspection is performed. The audit result is presented to the licensor who will decide on the seal renewal. Finally, the Forum is informed on the licensor’s decision. In case the company is not able to keep the quality in pellet control, it will lose the right to renew the seal until its situation is normalized.

    It is important to highlight that the licensor informs the licensee on the conditions under which it can use the OCS brand and then ACC and PLASTICS will be contacted.

    Q: How many companies and their locations are members of OCS Brazil?

    A: Since we started the implementation June 2020, 10 companies from Southern, Southeastern and Northeastern regions have signed up with Plastivida.

    Introducing OCS blue: Data Submission, Metrics, and Commitments

    OCS blue is an enhanced and data driven offering available to current OCS members.  This member category recognizes companies taking their commitment to the Zero Loss Pledge to a new level of leadership and excellence. OCS blue members commit to annual reporting of metrics on the number and volume of releases of plastics and to fulfilling specific leadership activities.

    OCS Blue Metrics

    Companies are committed to annually reporting metric data on pellet loss. The first data collection cycle began in May of 2021. Look in future editions of this newsletter for additional information on Metric Reporting.

    The data includes the number and volume of incidents of any unrecovered release of plastic pellets, flakes, powders, or granules within the physical custody of a member company from containment to ground or water outside member-operated facilities and estimated to be greater than 0.5 liters or 0.5 kilograms per incident.

    OCS Blue Leadership Activities

    In addition to the submission of performance metrics, OCS blue members commit to fulfill the following leadership activities to demonstrate their ambition of plastic resin loss prevention.

    • Conduct regular training and new employee onboarding for resin handling employees on awareness and accountability for pellet loss prevention, containment, and clean-up.
    • Display the OCS plaque, certificate, and posters to reinforce the company’s OCS commitment among its employees and business partners.
    • Periodically conduct an internal audit to confirm whether management systems meet the requirements and objectives of OCS blue.
    • Enable employees to provide feedback on the company’s pellet containment program.
    • Establish written procedures and checklists for actions inside member operated facilities to locate potential risks, prevent pellet loss, and manage clean-up.
    • Periodically conduct site inspections based on risk.
    • Educate transportation partners to help them understand the importance of OCS and their responsibilities to the program, sharing the OCS transportation brochure.
    • Share with Operation Clean Sweep Staff (PLASTICS or ACC) information on some of your company’s best management practices (BMPs) for implementation of its OCS blue membership. This information will be used in OCS literature and on the OCS website to promote the aspirational goal of zero plastic losses. 
    • Participate in an OCS best practices event, where the company is formally recognized as an OCS blue member. (Note: these events may be virtual or in-person) 

    For additional information on OCS Metrics and Activities, please contact David Sandidge at If you would like more information on the OCS blue program, please contact Patrick Krieger at or visit

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - December 10, 2019

    ACC Member Companies Commit to OCS blue

    In 2018, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) announced a commitment to enhancing plastic resin stewardship by 2022. The commitment requires all ACC Plastics Division members to participate in Operation Clean Sweep blue for U.S. manufacturing sites by 2020 and North America sites by 2022. 

    Plastic manufactures recognize the importance of proper stewardship of resin and working towards zero pellet loss. Increasing accountability and transparency for losses of plastic resin to the environment through OCS blue is important to reassure the public that manufactures are vigilant in efforts to prevent resin from escaping to the environment. 

    Looking for ways to further improve OCS blue, ACC members engaged in a six-month process to develop an updated metric for the program. Increased public pressure on plastic manufactures and transporters for unintentional releases of plastic resin to the environment helped guide the process. ACC staff provided updates and sought feedback from current OCS blue members on the development of the new metric.

    In November, ACC’s Plastics Division approved the new metric as an additional requirement for Plastics Division members. The metric requires companies to report unintentional releases of plastic resin to the environment greater than 0.5 liters or 0.5 kilograms per incident. Current OCS blue members adopted the updated metric in December, creating harmonization within the U.S. OCS blue program. ACC and PLASTICS are working with global OCS partner associations to have the metric adopted, increasing global harmonization of the OCS blue program.

    Demonstrating a commitment to keeping plastic resin out of the environment and measuring progress towards that goal is a foundational element of OCS blue. To increase public confidence in our stewardship of plastic resin, manufacturers, converters, transportation providers, and others within the value chain that handle resin should strive for zero pellet loss.

    OCS Interview: Elton Lawes of NOVA Chemicals Corporation

    Where do you work and what’s your title?

    My name is Elton Lawes and I am the Senior Environmental Advisor at NOVA Chemicals Corporation. I am based out of our Center for Applied Research in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

    Tell us about what your company does.

    NOVA Chemicals produces ethylene, polyethylene, and expandable styrenics. Our resins go into a wide range of rigid and flexible consumer and industrial applications. We collaborate closely with our customers to help them develop new products and applications that meet brand owners and consumer demands, including recyclability, incorporation of recyclate, and other sustainability targets.

    When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?

    NOVA Chemicals implemented Operation Clean Sweep at our Canadian Operating Facilities in the early 90s. With the introduction of OCS blue, we are reevaluating and reinvigorating our OCS program to see what improvements we can make going forward.

    What was/is your role in the implementation process?

    I am the lead of the OCS blue implementation project that we kicked off this summer. NOVA Chemicals officially joined OCS blue in October.

    How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?

    Engagement is key to the success of these programs. We have created a multi-discipline team with representatives from across the organization to help ensure we are all working together to achieve the goal of zero pellet, flake and powder loss. There is a great deal of interest from our employees.

    Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS?

    Most of the requirements have been and will be integrated into existing protocols and procedures. We have also integrated these requirements into our Responsible Care® Standards which further demonstrates our commitment to OCS at the corporate level.

    How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?

    Historically the program has been maintained at the site level. Now with the implementation of OCS blue, we are taking the opportunity to align the program, where appropriate, across all NOVA Chemicals’ sites.  We have created a working group with representation from all sites that meets regularly to discuss issues and works collaboratively to address concerns and challenges.

    Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?

    We are working on an engagement program to help us work with our suppliers, transportation partners and customers more formally. We believe collaboration is important and want to work with our partners to help make this happen. We all share the goal of keeping pellets out of the environment.

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS or OCS blue, what would it be?

    We all agree that plastic waste does not belong in our oceans or the environment. Operation Clean Sweep blue is a great way to advance our product stewardship commitment and prevent pellet, flake and powder loss.  We can all work together to shape a world that is better tomorrow than it is today. 

    OCS Interview: Hans Vercouteren of Trinseo

    Where do you work and what’s your title?

    I work for Trinseo at the plant in Terneuzen, Netherlands and I am the European Region Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Leader.

    Tell us about what your company does.

    Trinseo (NYSE: TSE) is a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plasticslatex binders, and synthetic rubber. Trinseo focuses on delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to help our customers create products that are intrinsic to how we live – products that touch lives every day across a wide range of end-markets, including automotive, appliances, consumer electronics, medical devices, electrical, building and construction, textile, paper and board, and tires.

    We are passionately dedicated to helping our customers meet their most complex materials challenges – whether they are creating electronics that are thinner and lighter… or cars that weigh less and use less fuel. Our plastics enable manufacturers to create LED lighting that is brighter and cooler and reduces energy consumption; and medical devices that are impervious to the harsh chemical cleansers used in sterilization. Our synthetic rubber allows tire manufacturers to make high-performance tires with low rolling resistance and improved wet grip for greater fuel efficiency. And, our latex binders enable manufacturers to deliver tailored solutions that enhance packaging materials and help highway infrastructure last longer.

    Our global footprint – with 16 manufacturing sites and 11 research and development facilities globally – gives us the ability to respond quickly to our customers’ needs, no matter where they are located.

    When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?

    In 2016 we started the implementation by initiating commitment and excitement across the organization. The implementation process started in Europe at Trinseo’s Polycarbonate plant in Stade, Germany, were we trialed the roll out and awareness process. We informed our employees, carried out a survey on pellet spills and set out actions to improve. When we saw that it was successful, we deployed it at the other European plants. In 2018 we moved to Asia Pacific and the last year we implemented it in our U.S. facility. Every single plant in Trinseo is now actively working on OCS.

    What was/is your role in the implementation process?

    My role is to act as the global lead for implementing the process, engaging leaders across all business functions and locations and monitoring the progress. I am also member of the Plastics Europe OCS taskforce 2.0.

    How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?

    We determined first who was responsible for OCS for each location. Then an OCs team and we organized kickoff meetings where we discussed what OCS is all about. The locations organized ways to get the information about OCS to the employees. This was done through normal communications meetings or safety meetings which were done face to face, through mail or intranet. Lastly, we executed a big global effort to inform everyone again on the importance of OCS. This was followed by a global ‘pledge sign sessions’ all over the globe in 2019.

    Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS?

    Yes there were. We added OCS as a topic to our inspection rounds in the plants.  We have also OCS to our management system reviews to monitor progress.

    How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?

    We have regular OCS meetings on the sites with the relevant people there. During those meetings proposed solutions are being discussed and we determine whether investments are needed for example. 

    Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?

    Yes we did. We shared and promoted it to our logistical providers. Some of them are onsite doing loading of plastic for us and others maintain a logistical service park just outside of our site. We have involved them all in the program and they have all signed the pledge as well. Together we have OCS meetings where new technologies are being discussed and where we still can improve. Many of the improvements have been implemented in the last year leading to good results on reducing the amount pellets loss in the marine environment. More information can be found in our sustainability report.

    Also, together with Plastics Europe, we initiated an OCS workshop during the K Show in Düsseldorf, where we presented our approach and we had guest speakers talking about their approach as well. This initiative was setup to create awareness of our customers on OCS and what they could do about it, but also what we as Trinseo are doing about it.

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be?

    If there is one place where you can contribute immediately to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our environment, it is by implementing OCS. Every single pellet which you contain on-site is one less pellet ending up in the environment.

    OCS Interview: Nick Ahrens of Bedford Industries

    Where do you work and what’s your title?

    My name is Nick Ahrens and I am the Assistant Manager of Global Supply Chain at Bedford Industries, Inc. in Worthington, Minnesota.

    Tell us about what your company does.

    For more than 50 years, Bedford Industries has been a global leader in designing, developing, manufacturing and distributing twist ties, bendable components and packaging reclosures, along with CloseIt® and ElastiTag® for the produce, bakery, coffee, and medical markets. Headquartered in Worthington, Minn., its 400+ employees also provide services such as printing expertise, elastomer integration, adhesive technology, and customer product development.

    When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?

    A member of our Management Team learned of Operation Clean Sweep at a conference in April of this year. We found that Bedford shared a number of the OCS values, particularly in line with our goal of being zero-waste. Bedford then spent the next few months performing initial plant audits and determining where this could potentially fit within the rest of our sustainability efforts. Following the pledge to OCS in September, we took the next step and joined OCS blue in late October.

    What was/is your role in the implementation process?

    After being involved in the initial discussions, our engineering team performed initial plant and equipment audits to identify areas for improvement. Since that time, I have been tasked with overseeing the training of employees, as well as identifying projects for continued improvement.

    How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?

    Bedford has begun teaching OCS principles and procedures during the employee onboarding process for new employees. Training took place with current employees to further impress upon them the importance of reducing and eliminating plastic waste whenever possible.  We are also designing our manufacturing equipment reduce pellet and flake loss.

    Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put into place in order to implement OCS?

    Like most companies, reducing plastic waste was already a top priority for Bedford. Many procedures and protocols were already in place before we began looking into OCS. However, OCS helped us hone in on a few key areas, and create another level of awareness to plastic waste.  We are in the process of moving some of plastic transport and plastic recycling equipment to better contain pellets and flakes.

    How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?

    As we are new to OCS, this has not been well established. As we continue down this path, it will be part of my role to ensure we are maintaining and staying on top of any issues as they arise. We maintain strict food safety and quality certification, specifically BRC and ISO. We intend to integrate the OCS program with our food safety and quality programs to help us demonstrate continual improvement.

    Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?

    We promoted being OCS members on some of our signage and promotional material when we recently exhibited at the PMA Fresh Summit tradeshow in Anaheim. We also have the OCS logo displayed on our website, which introduces a new take-back initiative for our produce tags and ties.

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS or OCS blue, what would it be?

    We have found that OCS helped take our efforts to reduce plastic waste to the next level. It forced us to look for places where we might experience pellet or flake loss, which might have otherwise gone unnoticed. While this can be small, it can add up quickly. Not only is OCS a good environmental decision, it makes business sense too.

    In 2018, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) announced a commitment to enhancing plastic resin stewardship by 2022. The commitment requires all ACC Plastics Division members to participate in Operation Clean Sweep blue for U.S. manufacturing sites by 2020 and North America sites by 2022. 

    Plastic manufactures recognize the importance of proper stewardship of resin and working towards zero pellet loss. Increasing accountability and transparency for losses of plastic resin to the environment through OCS blue is important to reassure the public that manufactures are vigilant in efforts to prevent resin from escaping to the environment.

    Looking for ways to further improve OCS blue, ACC members engaged in a six-month process to develop an updated metric for the program. Increased public pressure on plastic manufactures and transporters for unintentional releases of plastic resin to the environment helped guide the process. ACC staff provided updates and sought feedback from current OCS blue members on the development of the new metric.

    In November, ACC’s Plastics Division approved the new metric as an additional requirement for Plastics Division members. The metric requires companies to report unintentional releases of plastic resin to the environment greater than 0.5 liters or 0.5 kilograms per incident. ACC is working with current OCS blue members and other global OCS partner associations to have the metric adopted as the OCS blue metric.

    Demonstrating a commitment to keeping plastic resin out of the environment and measuring progress towards that goal is a foundational element of OCS blue. To increase public confidence in our stewardship of plastic resin, manufacturers, converters, transportation providers, and others within the value chain that handle resin should strive for zero pellet loss.

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - May 6, 2019

    OCS Blue Interview: Danielle Gore of Chevron Phillips

    Where do you work and what’s your title?

    My name is Danielle Gore and I am the Americas sustainability advisor for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC headquartered in the Woodlands, Texas.

    Tell us about what your company does.

    Chevron Phillips Chemical is one of the world’s top producers of olefins and polyolefins and a leading supplier of aromatics, alpha olefins, styrenics, specialty chemicals, piping and proprietary plastics. Together with its joint ventures, the company operates 33 manufacturing and research centers in the United States, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Belgium.

    When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?

    We have been a part of Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) since its inception. In fact, both our owner companies have participated in the program before forming Chevron Phillips Chemical in 2000. As an effort to enhance its current OCS programs, the company also committed on April 3 to implementing OCS Blue, an initiative that represents an even more rigorous commitment to plastic-pellet stewardship.

    In addition to joining OCS Blue, Chevron Phillips Chemical also will begin reporting pellet spills that are currently only provided to state regulatory agencies. The company will also report on the success of recycling efforts related to the recovery of spilled pellets. This information will be available annually in the company’s sustainability report. The 2018 sustainability report will be the first report to provide such data and is expected to publish later this year.

    What was/is your role in the implementation process?

    Among my core responsibilities, I am the company’s OCS Blue program coordinator. Our sustainability group supports all company sites in communicating the importance of zero pellet and flake loss, and assessing, sharing and implementing pellet and flake management best practices.

    How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?

    As we go through the process of enhancing our OCS participation to the Blue level, we will be deploying training and communication materials to all our pellet producing and handling facilities to ensure employee and contractor participation in OCS. Additionally, we have OCS ambassadors at each of our facilities who are responsible for increasing awareness around OCS. We want each person that works in our plants to understand the role they play in ensuring pellets and flake stay out of the environment.

    Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS Blue?

    Like many companies, most practices and procedures were already in place as part of our storm water prevention plans. Considering the program has been in our company for more than 20 years, it has become part of our operating philosophy. Simply put, we have many layers of protection in place at our facilities to prevent loss of containment. The company’s plastic pellet management activities include practices to prevent product loss, in addition to using retention infrastructure and manual collection activities at each manufacturing site to prevent pellet discharges.

    Now that we have committed to the enhanced version of OCS, we are doing more targeted reviews of our procedures, embedding OCS language into our operational excellence documents and developing training materials for employees and contractors working within our plastic facilities.

    How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?

    Historically our operational excellence system stresses continuous improvement and best practice sharing. This is why all our pellet producing facilities have employed pellet capture systems. With OCS Blue, we have developed a dedicated pellet and flake best practice team where we will be sharing internally and externally the OCS best practices implemented across our asset fleet. We will maintain these internally on a company database, in addition to holding best practice meetings to determine improvements we can implement companywide. Our group maintains the OCS program to ensure that as new issues arise in the industry we can respond in an efficient and effective manner.

    Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?

    We communicate to customers and transportation service providers the importance of pellet management. We have also placed OCS stickers on some of our railcars and participated in an OCS video for PLASTICS.

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be?

    OCS marks an important step toward creating a holistic framework for corporate environmental stewardship for producers or handlers. This is the most concrete way for our company to do our part in keeping valuable plastics out of the environment, where they simply don’t belong.

    OCS Blue Interview: Jim Gooris of LyondellBasell

    Where do you work and what’s your title?

    Houston, Texas. Manager of Environmental Issues.

    Tell us about what your company does.

    LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. LyondellBasell sells products into more than 100 countries and is the world's largest producer of polymer compounds and the largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.

    When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?

    LyondellBasell has implemented general housekeeping programs that have included prevention of pellet loss for several decades. These programs have promoted Operation Clean Sweep specifically since 2012.

    What was/is your role in the implementation process?

    Operation Clean Sweep at LyondellBasell is implemented through our Sustainability Governance Process. Through this governance process, we promote Operation Clean Sweep with our customers, with transporters, tollers and packagers along the supply chain, at our manufacturing sites, and to our employees globally through our Corporate Communications programs. My specific role includes ownership of our Operational Excellence Operation Clean Sweep Guideline.

    How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?

    Employee engagement at LyondellBasell begins with strong support from our CEO and Senior Leadership Team. This includes our sponsorship for the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and continues through frequent engagement with our employees by our Corporate Communications Department. After that, LyondellBasell has established Operation Clean Sweep Networks to share ideas to prevent the loss of plastics at our manufacturing locations.

    Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS?

    LyondellBasell implements safety, environmental stewardship and reliability improvement programs through our Operational Excellence Management System. This management system includes the Operation Clean Sweep Guideline that establishes practices for formal site assessments, site-specific goal setting, periodic inspections, networking and training.

    How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?

    LyondellBasell monitors emerging issues through our involvement with trade associations including the American Chemistry Council and Plastics Industry Association. As new issues arise, our program is modified through our Operational Excellence management system and through communication with our customers and business partners.

    Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?

    LyondellBasell product handling literature includes many specific recommendations for meeting the goals of Operation Clean Sweep. These recommendations are available on the LyondellBasell web page at

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be?

    Plastics are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road, and ensuring the safe and effective functionality in electronics and appliances. Plastic waste does not belong on the beach. We all need to do our part to make sure that our industry prevents pollution by plastic waste.

    Transportation Companies Rise to Challenge on Frontlines of Pellet Loss Prevention

    Kim Feager is in the transportation business. She’s bulk sales representative for Affton, a DANA Company. You might’ve seen DANA’s big green and yellow trucks while driving on the highway.

    When asked what her company does, Kim’s answer was simple: “We haul plastic pellets in bulk trucks in one division, and the other division hauls the container to and from the ramps and transloads grain product for export.”

    Affton has been an Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) signatory for a while now. While OCS is often thought of as a program for the plastics industry, it’s also a program for the plastics shipping industry. By committing to the OCS guidelines during transit of plastic materials, Kim, her company and others like it are playing an important role in the ultimate goal of achieving zero pellet loss.

    Kim’s company signed onto OCS because, like many companies, they “felt it was important that no pellet harms the environment,” she said. Since taking the OCS pledge, the program has become an important part of driver training.

    “All employees that work in bulk trucking, warehousing, dispatch, and customer service are required to review the OCS material upon their first day of employment at Affton A DANA company. There is also a review at every safety meeting quarterly,” she said, adding that the OCS manual can be easily found by any driver at any time. “The OCS manual is included electronically on the driver’s tablet and the physical manual is printed out and kept at the terminal.”

    Affton has also taken the lead in promoting OCS to its customers, encouraging them to keep their loading areas clean and safe as well. “We have not received any pushback from our customers and they often comment on how clean our drivers are,” Kim said. “If there is a spill they report to dispatch and clean up, unless they need back up and then we have sweepers at both locations. We have sent street-type sweepers to a customer location before, to clean up a wide spread spill.”

    When you think about it, Affton and other transportation companies’ participation in OCS is perfectly logical: pellets are more likely to spill when they’re being moved from one location to another. While accidents happen, Kim notes that OCS gives them the tools they need to do their very best for their customers and for the environment. “As a transportation company our biggest challenge facing our management of plastic pellets is spills while loading or unloading material. We take precautions to avoid spills but we are all human and mistakes happen,” she said. “All we can do is review the processes to prevent spills and do our very best when spills happen to clean up every pellet.”

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - December 5, 2018

    OCS Profile: Dan Martino, Inteplast (new OCS blue member)

    Where do you work and what’s your title?

    Dan Martino, Senior Director Texas Administration, Inteplast Group in Lolita, TX

    Tell us about what your company does.

    Inteplast Group is a downstream manufacturer of plastics products including film, bags, sheets, and boards. The manufacturing processes typically use polyethylene and polypropylene resin pellets, or PVC powder in the extrusion process. Inteplast Group specifically produces BOPP film, stretch film, cross-laminated film, corrugated plastic sheets, PVC sheets and boards, industrial film, and has a complete offering of plastic bags.

    When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?

    We signed up with Operation Clean Sweep in June of 2014. Although, the site was already practicing numerous resin loss and spill prevention guidelines, we wanted to align with OCS to the fullest capacity.

    What was/is your role in the implementation process?

    My team is tasked with creating guidelines and policies that address resin control and loss prevention across the manufacturing facility. These policies are utilized by each plant in Lolita when developing specific controls within the manufacturing process. Our team also audits and monitors the 576-acre site for any uncontained resin.

    The marketing of the program, i.e., educating our employees about OCS and its very purpose falls under our responsibilities as well. Introducing and establishing an OCS program is all about creating expectations for pellet control. When a railcar of 200,000#’s of resin pellets is your focus for the next four hours, it’s difficult to keep things in perspective – 200,000#’s versus zero pellet loss – zero pellet loss must win.

    How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?

    The fact that OCS promotes everything positive (environment, asset control, housekeeping, etc.) allows me and my team members to push this resin control approach with receiving minimal pushback. We have and will continue to meet with everyone – from plant managers to forklift operators – to discuss the OCS approach – a zero pellet loss environment. We do obviously address the need for immediate clean-up if an incident releasing pellets does occur. Information sharing is paramount to obtaining success with this program and it is paying off for the entire site.

    Employees were also given the opportunity to view the OCS videos that are made available online. The videos were linked to our internal Inteplast TV for all of our breakrooms. Additionally, program information populated our intranet at the same time. The tenets of OCS are also covered during both new hire orientation/safety training and annual safety training.             

    Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS?

    OCS actually became another key element of what we refer to as the Total Housekeeping Management. We merge the traditional 5S program, with sound housekeeping practices, add in safety controls, and utilize this encompassing approach to keep our facilities in the best shape possible. OCS was a strong addition to this suite of programs as it emphasized an item that we rely on heavily – the pellet. OCS lays out approaches and guidelines in an easy-to-use format. Their guidance for checklists and inspection were very useful.

    How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise? 

    Similar to how safety is woven into the development of new processes, our facilities address the engineering and administrative controls that must be in place to control resin.

    If our auditing team identifies uncontained pellets, the area manager is immediately contacted. We consider this to be defined as an incident, calling for the identification of root causes and corrective action.

    Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?

    One of my roles is to host customers to our site in Lolita, TX. I share with them who we are, what we do and additional details about the company, particularly our approach to sustainability. As our partnership with OCS has grown, I speak to it as being a major element in all of the sustainability work we do – OCS actually supports two different areas of sustainability, namely the environmental and financial impacts. We can’t spill resin and say that we are environmentally sustainable or financially sustainable. Spills are clearly a negative impact on the environment and a pellet loss is an asset lost.

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be? 

    The OCS resources are comprehensive and satisfy multiple facets of program implementation: awareness, education, forms, guidelines, posters, etc. Everyone should be using the OCS program for resin control. It provides a clear path to keeping every single pellet housed in a container, railcar, silo or extruder.

    OCS Profile: Jered Deal, King Plastics, Inc. (new OCS blue member)

    Where do you work and what’s your title?

    I’m the Compliance Manager at King Plastics, Inc.

    Tell us about what your company does.

    King Plastics manufactures injection-molded containers and lids for food packaging. Our products are primarily used for ready-to-eat foods.

    When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?


    What was/is your role in the implementation process?

    I observed signage for Operation Clean Sweep on the side of a railcar of resin in our receiving area. When I visited the OCS website, I realized that we had already implemented several best management practices as part of our storm water pollution prevention program, making OCS a natural extension of that program.

    How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?

    We tried to increase their general awareness of the issue and provided broad instruction at all-employee meetings, and specific instructions to resin-handling employees.

    Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS?

    We made improvements to some of our handling equipment in order to complement what we were already doing. For example, using larger catch trays, and installing additional permanent tubing, lessening the amount of portable hosing used when offloading railcars.

    How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?

    Regular observations of resin-handling processes and obtaining feedback from resin-handling employees are both crucial. The individuals doing the job are most often the best resource for ideas on how to improve.

    Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?

    Well, not yet, but I suppose we are doing that right now!

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be?

    If you have a storm water pollution prevention program, you are already well on your way to OCS, and may already have all of the necessary best management practices (BMPs) in place. Why not make it official?

    OCS Profile: William Nichols, Roplast Industries, Inc. (new OCS blue member)

    Where do you work and what’s your title?

    I work for Roplast Industries, Inc. and I’m the Environmental Health and Safety Supervisor.

    Tell us about what your company does.

    Roplast Industries, Inc. is a reclaimer and recycler of plastic film as well as a producer of plastic shopping bags made with our recycled content. Our waste-integration programs help divert waste from our landfills and waterways. Our bags are very durable and can be used over and over again. When the bag can no longer serve its purpose, the bag should be returned to a participating store for recycling.

    When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?

    We were active as certified members since the early 1990s, shortly after the OCS program began. We renewed our activity and commitment to the program several times throughout the years, most recently in 2017.

    What was/is your role in the implementation process?

    My role in the process is to encourage our employee to be active in making sure that none of our waste product ends up in landfills or waterways. We segregate our waste into product that we can reuse, or product that can be sent out to another recycler. I perform multiple inspections throughout our facility, and walk our property on a daily basis. I do this to help our employees maintain a clean and safe work environment, which makes our jobs easier to ensure that our waste product does not end up where it does not belong.

    How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?

    This has been a companywide initiative brought on by the general manager and our vice president of operations as part of our corporation culture. We have a section on OCS in our orientation process for new hires, and explain to them the importance of the OCS program. We want to make sure that we are doing what we can to help the environment, and that every employee has a role in this.

    Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS?

    We have had to order some specialized containers to help in the collection of plastic resins that may spill out of railcars while we are transferring from one compartment to another. We ask our employees to make sure that the containers are emptied daily. And if a spill does happen, and it is not all caught in the containers, then the contaminated resins are disposed of into a shipping container that will be sent to a recycler that can use the product. This is also the same procedure for the interior of the facility, in case there was a small spill that might occur.

    How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?

    We hold trainings or crew meetings to discuss any new issues that will affect the OCS program. We maintain the program by doing our inspections. We get everyone involved with the inspections, because not everyone sees everything the same way, and this allows an employee to take ownership of the program.

    Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?

    We advocate for the OCS program through all our industry affiliate organizations such as the Western Plastics Association, the Associations of Plastic Recyclers, and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. We also encourage all our relevant suppliers to become involved.

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be?

    The OCS program is embedded into our corporation strategy of minimizing the impact on our environment. All our employees understand its importance and it takes the participation and motivation of every employee to be sure this is carried out. A program like this will only be executed properly and serve its purpose if every employee is educated and understands why this is important. It’s not just about doing what’s required—it is about doing what is right.

    OCS in California – Katherine Schutes, OCS 2018 summer Intern

    Operation Clean Sweep has proven itself to be an important tool for complying with state and local regulations addressing pellet, flake and powder loss to the environment. In California, these topics are addressed in the California Water Code, specifically the Preproduction Plastic Debris Program. In an important step to integrate the OCS best management practices with their recommendations for keeping plastics debris out of our waterways, California regulators (The California Waterboards) will soon be equipped with OCS materials to supply to those not in compliance with state regulations.

    This step for Operation Clean Sweep solidifies its importance for all resin handlers, not just in making a commitment to the environment or bolstering company sustainability programs, but also in strengthening compliance at the federal, state and local level. California is one of the larger states for OCS membership and provides a great example of state commitment to environmental protection, with resin-handling operations that are reflecting that same commitment in their use of the OCS program.

    During my summer at PLASTICS I have seen genuine desire from OCS members and PLASTICS staff alike to strengthen the OCS program and its impact on achieving zero pellet, flake and powder loss. I’m happy to announce that in this effort we have welcomed three new OCS blue members this summer. All from California, Respco, Roplast Industries, Inc. and King Plastics, Inc. have joined our blue level program and are making it possible to gauge the progress of Operation Clean Sweep across the country.

    Any OCS members interested in the blue program are encourage apply here:

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - April 26, 2018

    OCS at NPE – Elle Brumley, PLASTICS

    We are pleased to announce that the OCS program will have a booth at NPE 2018. If your business is associated with Plastics in any way, NPE 2018 is a must as it assembles all sectors of the industry in one venue. As the OCS program is always looking for ways to increase awareness of the program, to educate the industry of best practices and of course obtain more member pledgers, we are excited to have this opportunity.

    Do come and find us in the Refocus Zone situated in the south hall at booth number: S19199

    If you are yet to register for NPE 2018 you still have chance by visiting

    Global Plastics Alliance Marine Litter “Progress Report” Featured by GBA4E – Allyson Wilson ACC

    The Global Business Alliance for the Environment (GBA4E) posted a feature article on the work underway to help combat ocean plastic under the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, a coalition of 75 plastics associations in 40 countries to help prevent and better understand marine litter. Last month, the Global Plastics Alliance (GPA), which includes the Plastics Industry Association and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), released its 4th Progress Report, highlighting 355 projects undertaken around the world. This represents an increase of more than three and a half times the number of projects since 2011 when the Global Declaration was announced. Projects vary from Operation Clean Sweep programs to beach clean-ups to expanding waste management capacities, and from global research to awareness campaigns. We also released a new video of GPAs work and are sharing it on social media. Read the GBA4E piece here.

    OCS Profile: Rob Flores, Berry Global (new OCS blue member)

    -Where do you work and what’s your title?
    Berry Global, Director of Sustainability

    -Tell us about what your company does.
     Berry is a global manufacturer of value-added customized protection solutions, providing a broad range of nonwoven, flexible, and rigid products used every day within consumer and industrial end markets.

    -When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?
    Berry began implementing OCS about 5 years ago. What is interesting about Berry is that since we have grown by acquisition, some of our acquisitions had implemented OCS prior to being under the Berry umbrella. That really helped with implementation because we already had examples of best practices and success stories we could share as we rolled it out to all of our sites.

    -What was/is your role in the implementation process?
    I coordinated implementation with our Operations and EH&S leadership. I did so by taking the resources available as part of the OCS program and developing a training catered specifically for Berry. I then gave that training to all of our sites on a series of webmeetings with all of our sites. It’s no secret that I do not unload railcars. So rather than position myself as an expert, I focused on the reasons why it was important to prevent resin loss as well as the concepts for preventing resin loss. Site leadership then led implementation at the site level.

    -How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?
    As I said, I am not an expert in resin handling. I solicited our sites, which are the experts, for their best practices, success stories, and the equipment they are using to facilitate their efforts. I then shared the feedback I got with all of our other sites – making sure to recognize the originator. The sites that submitted ideas really enjoyed having them shared with all of our sites globally.

    -Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS?
    The specifics varied by site, but we found many cases where sites were not inspecting rail siding as part of their regular walk-throughs. It is important to not only train personnel on OCS, but also regularly verify the OCS principles are being followed. 

    -How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise?
    We have an email distribution list to share pertinent information to all of our sites as anything new comes up. We also update our OCS training annually, which is a required annual training for Plant Managers, EH&S, and of course, all employees directly involved in handling resin.

    -Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?
    Yes, we have promoted the program throughout the supply chain. We primarily focus on promoting it with our resin suppliers. Whenever we audit our resin suppliers, we ask if they participate in OCS. We also inspect for signs of resin loss during the audits. If there are signs of resin loss, we ask what engineering controls they have in place to prevent spilled resin from getting into the environment. Although a lower percentage of our resin suppliers have taken the OCS pledge than we would prefer, we have generally been pleased with the engineering controls they have in place to ensure no resin would escape their facilities.

    We also promote OCS with our customers as an example of what we are doing to address marine debris. No plastics company wants any products to become marine debris. Once our products have shipped to our customers though, they are out of our control. But what is within our control is the resin we handle. Marine debris is a very serious issue, and all plastics companies should do their part to address it. I believe OCS is not going above and beyond but rather a minimum expectation for plastics companies.

    -If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be?
    Just do it. I certainly understand why there could be hesitation – committing to something you don’t feel you can achieve. But taking the pledge changes the conversation from something we should do to something we have to do. And joining OCS also gives you the resources you need to jumpstart your efforts.

    OCS Profile: Greg Leighton, C&G Mercury Plastics (new OCS blue member)

    -Where do you work and what’s your title?
    C&G Mercury Plastics / President

    -Tell us about what your company does.
    We are custom injection molders of thermo plastics, which service aerospace, consumer, recreational and industrial customers.

    -When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?

    -What was/is your role in the implementation process?
    I built on our companies well established cleaning procedures to encompass the areas adjacent to our building.

    -How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?
     I made all the employees aware of the seriousness of keeping our business actives from affecting the neighborhood.

    -Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS?
    Yes, we stationed vacuums at critical areas during material transfer from truck as well as during trash pickup.  Also trained our emloyees to “clean as you go”

    -How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise? 
    We have integrated it into our monthly safety training meetings

    -Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies? If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program? 
    Yes.  I shared it with other companies by educating them about the new laws pertaining to pellet loss/pellets spilled on the ground.  And by pointing out that in the state of California garbage on the ground has become an easy way for the state to make money through fines

    -If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be?
    OCS membership demonstrates to prospective and current customers alike, your company’s commitment to responsible environmental practices

    OCS Profile: Kim Victorine, Plastics Plus Technology, Inc. (new OCS blue member)

    -Where do you work and what’s your title?
    Our company is in Redlands, CA.  I am the Director of Operations

    -Tell us about what your company does.
    We are a custom injection molder specializing in close tolerance parts.  About 60% of the parts we make are for the medical industry.  We also mold parts for the electronics, automotive, and transportation industries.

    -When did your company first begin the process of implementing Operation Clean Sweep?
    About 2 years ago. 

    -What was/is your role in the implementation process?
    I have the responsibility for developing, implementing and managing our environmental and social responsibility programs.  Our environmental program is ISO14001 compliant and our Social Responsibility program follows the guidelines of ISO26000.  We have placed our OCS processes within these two programs

    -How did you engage other employees during the implementation process?
    Mainly by increasing their awareness of the issues and by training on the processes we have modified or implemented.

    -Were there any additional procedures or protocols you had to put in place in order to implement OCS? 
    Yes.  We have added a couple of work instructions for our material handlers and our warehouse.  We purchased a warehouse floor sweeper/washer which we use 2 to 3 times a week to clean any residual pellets that are missed in our daily shift cleanings. 

    -How does your company maintain and update its OCS program as new issues arise? 
    We review our OCS audit results as part of our Management Review process and make adjustments when required.

    -Have you shared or promoted OCS to other companies?
    If so, how did you go about sharing or promoting the program?  We have with our primary customers and suppliers. We will be adding details to an environmental page on our website this year.

    -If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed on to OCS, what would it be?
    Protecting the environment from the impacts of plastic is all of our responsibility. OCS is an excellent first step.

  • The Clean Sweep Newsletter - December 13, 2017

    OCS Profile: Wylie Royce of Royce International

    By Jacob Barron, Senior Manager, Communications, Plastics Industry Association

    Not only is Wylie Royce, executive vice president of solvent, additive and colorant manufacturer Royce International, the next incoming chairman of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), he’s also a committed Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) partner, putting the principles of the OCS manual to good use at all of his company’s facilities. Earlier this year we sat down to talk with Royce about his experience implementing OCS.

    When did Royce first implement OCS?

    It’s probably been about 4-5 years ago. We started looking at product loss and to us product loss is very costly because with additives the value of our pellets is a lot more than the value of just plain resin. Our employees had to realize that every little bit of pellets that they saw somewhere other than in a drum—that was money.

    How did you measure the impact of implementing OCS?

    We started to gauge production loss and seeing how much we were losing on average per month and per week and tracking that to see that those losses would continue to go down. We’ve probably reduced production loss by 25 percent, but you a have a certain amount of shrinkage in production loss anyway, so when I say we’ve shrunk loss by 25 percent, that actually a 75-percent reduction in actual pellet loss.

    How did you engage your employees in the implementation process?

    We have weekly meetings where we get together with the managers to address everything. We’re always looking for ways to improve so we started to tell our employees that there are a number of different issues that come up when you have pellets that end up in the wrong place. There’s money that’s going out the door, and the less money the company makes, the less it gives out for bonuses. And that’s just the start of it, so we began to tell our people that the most inexpensive thing they can do to have an impact on the company is to do it right the first time and operate as clean as they can.

    Were there any other protocols or procedures that you implemented with OCS?

    Basically the managers were made aware of it and they started monitoring it. You have to get them to come around to the fact that for a lot of workers, if there’s a pile of materials in the corner, they’ll notice it for a day or so and then after a couple weeks, they won’t even see it anymore and it just sits there. We had to communicate the fact that seeing pellets in places where they shouldn’t be was not acceptable. It was a sort of re-education on a very personal level for our employees, to get them to change the way they think.

    Did you install any additional equipment to implement OCS?

    We actually put some additional covering on the classifiers and the shaker tables, which vibrate and take the undersized and oversized pellets out of the mix. That action used to allow pellets to jump out of the table and onto the floor. We put removable covers on those in order to minimize any cross contamination and to minimize pellets falling out.

    Over and under the shaker tables are drums that collect any of the oversized or undersized pellets. These are run through production again and they come back as good product.

    How does your company continue to monitor and update its OCS program as new issues arise?

    We meet weekly with our team and they all review cleanliness in the plant, which is a very important thing. Our main market is food packaging so we have to maintain a very clean environment. Now our employees know that when the plant manager walks through he’s making sure that things are clean and if they’re not, then that needs to be addressed.

    If there was one thing you could tell companies that haven’t yet signed up for OCS, what would it be?

    I would tell them that you sign up for it and follow the general protocol and then you’ll realize that pellet loss is money loss. It not only hurts the environment and hurts the industry, but it’s hurting you in your pocket too. For a company like ours that doesn’t make a huge volume of pellets, a one or two-percent loss is not a lot, but it’s still too much. A one-percent loss for a big company could be a lot of material, and a lot of money lost. If you take steps to keep pellets off the floor, you’re not only helping the environment; you’re helping your own bottom line.


    OCS blue, the new VIP member level, accepting applications starting January 2018!

    Some of you may have heard about the new US OCS VIP member level we are calling OCS blue. Recently launched on an OCS webinar OCS blue is a new, data-driven VIP member offering available to current OCS members. The new member level will act as a recognition for companies excelling within the existing program, allowing them to showcase data and basic metrics that will be helpful reporting tools as OCS continues to grow and gain broad industry support. 

    This member level is in addition to the current partner and supporter member options and is deemed VIP as you have to be a current OCS member to apply for it and the application process does require some basic input of data and metrics. The application form is deigned to be simple to complete with 4 sections: Eligibility and contact information, commitments, progress reporting metrics and signature. This form will be live on the OCS website in January for you to review and complete, an email will be sent to all when it is live.

    Benefits of joining the OCS blue club include: being recognized in an advertisement in Plastics News (ad will promote program as well as OCS blue members), recognition on the OCS website as well as in the OCS newsletters, a special OCS blue member plaque to display with pride and use of the OCS blue logo on items such as your website, emails, internal communications etc. 

    To learn more about OCS blue and the OCS program in general please do visit the website


    New features and resources on the website

    We have been busy adding a few new features to the OCS website. Firstly we have added in OCS Around the World. This is a great tool to clearly show the international reach of the OCS program through our international license holding partners. The map is interactive, meaning, if you click on a highlighted country it will tell you who the license holder is for that region and link to their website (if they have one). Encourage your international colleagues to refer to this if they are looking for their regional programs. 

    Under resources you will see that the print materials have recently been refreshed, so items such as the poster, fact sheet, brochure and manual have all had a face lift. Do print these or share them electronically with your employees to ensure the message of OCS is remembered and therefore good housekeeping practices adhered to. 

    In addition to these print materials we have added a new item entitled transportation brochure. This has been designed for you share with your transportation partners, informing them of the pledge you have taken with OCS and encouraging them to adhere to the best practices the program outlines, and take the pledge themselves. As key members of the chain where resin could escape into the environment, engaging transportation companies is essential. Do utilize this brochure and if you have any suggestions for further focused brochures please do share with

  • 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:


    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 (  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

    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.



    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

    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 ( -- 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