Operation Clean Sweep

October 19, 2023

Reducing Plastic Pellet Loss

Even though plastics have a lot of sustainability benefits, they are often seen as the enemy in the sustainability story. One big reason for that is how much plastics end up back in the environment [1]. With photos circulating the internet of animals ingesting bottle caps and soda can rings floating in the water, plastic pollution has become a major problem over the years due to not disposing of items properly (not recycling, littering). While that does play a role in plastic pollution, many plastics in the environment are much harder to see, such as pellets and flakes, which primarily come from plastics manufacturers. With growing attention to this problem, it is becoming imperative that plastic manufacturers focus on reducing plastic pellets and flake that goes into the environment [2]. To help with this problem, the Plastics Industry Association and the American Chemistry Council started the Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) initiative to help plastics manufacturers reduce pellet and flake loss into the environment [3]. They acknowledge that plastic resin being lost to the environment is an issue and are working with plastic manufacturing companies to reduce it. 

Beginning in the 1990s, Operation Clean Sweep has been working to educate plastic manufacturers to reduce plastic resin loss [4]. Created by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) and the ACC, OCS promotes that every segment within the plastic industry plays a key role in reducing plastic resin loss and creates guidelines for each segment to follow [4]. They want the plastics industry to handle plastic resin responsibly which means resin is kept out of the natural environment. Not only does this effort positively impact the environment, but it also ensures that materials are being turned into products instead of turning into waste. 

The OC has laid out the following guidelines for implementing the program:

  • Commit to making zero resin loss a priority within the company [5].
  • Assess the situation of your company and what they would need to achieve zero plastic resin loss [5]. 
  • Make any necessary upgrades to facilities and equipment [5].
  • Raise awareness and create accountability with employees. This includes education on plastic resin loss along with providing equipment to clean up any plastic resin [5]. 
  • Enforce procedures to show employees how serious the company is to zero plastic resin loss [5]. 

By following these steps, the number of plastic pellets in the environment can be reduced.

Placon is proud to be a part of Operation Clean Sweep. We believe that plastic should stay where it can be reused and out of the environment.

[1] Preventing plastic pellet loss (basf.com)

[2] Operation Clean Sweep: Growing Larger and Stronger – Plastics Industry Association | We protect, promote, and grow the plastics industry.

[3] Operation Clean Sweep – Plastics Industry Association | We protect, promote, and grow the plastics industry.

[4] Operation Clean Sweep® (opcleansweep.org)

[5] OCS-Manual.pdf (opcleansweep.org)

For 55 years, Placon has been a leading designer and manufacturer of custom and stock plastic packaging for the food, medical, and retail markets. Placon has manufacturing operations in Madison, WI; Elkhart, IN; Plymouth, MN; and West Springfield, MA, and currently ranked in Plastics News 2020 Thermoformers Ranking Top 20. Placon delivers packaging breakthroughs that inspire better engagement between people and products with industry leading innovation and award-winning packaging designs. For more information, visit www.placon.com.