Operation Clean Sweep: Taking action on plastic pollution
As professionals in the manufacturing world, it is our responsibility to ensure the products we use are not causing harm to the environment.
Over the last century, plastics have earned their reputation as a convenient means to manufacture a wide array of items we use every day. However, despite the overwhelming convenience and adaptability of plastics in everyday life, from food packaging to medical equipment, plastics' environmental consequences are, in the meantime, known to everyone.
From plastic bags to plastic debris derived from broken or waste products, plastic can easily traverse the natural environment via our rivers and oceans. As a result, animals in the ocean and on land are often victims of plastic waste or micro plastics, which ultimately can be traced back into our food supply.
Taking action on plastic pollution
As industry leaders in the manufacturing of plastic products to improve our lives, Lubrizol are taking action as part of Operation Clean Sweep, further strengthening our waste avoidance measurements and implementing additional actions to excel on spill containment and avoiding plastic spills above all on a global scale.
Operation Clean Sweep
Operation Clean Sweep is a global initiative committed to the elimination of pellet, flake and powder loss in the plastics industry. The program has already begun strengthening efforts to educate and encourage positive changes in production processes in the plastic industry, with the ultimate goal of achieving zero pellet flake and powder loss throughout the whole plastic handling value chain. This goes from additive and raw material manufacturers to transporters, warehousing, product manufacturing and distribution to end-users.
Across departments, from processing to transportation to containment and waste disposal, everyone in plastics manufacturing has a responsibility. All individuals, from shift workers to drivers to administrative employees to management are accountable.
Beyond manufacturing, those of us who transport, store, supply, source, design and install CPVC all have an invested interest to responsibly handle plastic materials, for the benefit of generations to come. For example, shavings from pipe ends when preparing jointing with fittings must be responsibly handled. Cut offs at the end of the installation process should also be treated with care and ideally be recycled.
Commitment to zero pellet loss
Here’s how Lubrizol is taking action with Operation Clean Sweep, across our global industrial network.
First, the locations have signed the Pledge to Prevent Resin Pellet Loss, officially recognising the importance of preventing the loss of resin and compound in the form of powder and pellets in our environment and committing to the implementation of the Operation Clean Sweep Program.
Our facilities are also committed to encouraging value chain partners, from suppliers to contractors to transportation to customers, to pursue the same Operation Clean Sweep objectives. Examples of how our plants aim to achieve each objective is outlined below.
Commit to making “zero pellet loss” making a priority
OCS requirements have been integrated into the plants’ ISO 14001 policy to enable independent 3rd party auditing. Aspects covered include spill prevention, clean-up and containment. Department goals related to OCS have been developed to measure success, as part of ISO14001 KPI's.
Assess company’s situation and needs
Plants now include an annual compliance check for environmental legislation by an external party. A seven point site audit has been established, risk assessing every transfer point where potential spillages can occur.
Make needed upgrades in facilities and equipment as appropriate
If the risk assessments at either site identify areas for improvement, capital projects are implemented to improve standard operating procedures to minimise resin pellet spillage risk.
- Have vacuum cleaners and disposal bins in vicinity to facilitate immediate cleanup
- The installation of additional, more efficient filters to catch compound in wastewater so they don’t reach our waterways
- Implementing covers around blowers at the end of the production line when the compound is blown into gaylord boxes or big bags
The latter does not only help to eliminate the spill around the boxes, it also improves the air quality in the plant and effectively reduces cleanup workload.
Raise employee awareness and create accountability
Operation Clean Sweep focused training modules have been designed and developed to help shape each individual’s role in minimising pellet loss.
The purpose of the training is not only to provide feedback on standard operating procedures and ISO requirements, but to raise awareness and facilitate immediate corrective action.
For example, if a spill occurs, there are nearby tools at hand to immediately clean up the spill. This also reduces the risk of injury through slipping on pellets. Implementing the Best Practices of Operation Clean Sweep not only prevents spillage and reduces waste, but it also improves safety performance of each plant, ultimately saves costs and improves our lives
Follow up and enforce procedures
As part of establishing continuous improvement, monthly audit tours and walkarounds are conducted across all site grounds and departments, enhancing management presence as part of Operation Clean Sweep.
As a key stakeholder in our industry, we hope you will join us in assessing the actions all of us must take to reduce the global impact of plastic waste through Operation Clean Sweep.
There are ways your organisation can help. Visit Operation Clean Sweep to find out more.