There are several tons of plastic pellets astray every year. Production companies account for much of the emissions. Now our partner Norner together with Handelens Miljøfond, will mobilise the Norwegian plastic industry to participate in the global program Operation Clean Sweep.
Operation Clean Sweep is all about preventing plastic pellets in the nature. Plastic pellets are one of the largest origins of microplastics in nature. In Norway we call plastic pellets mermaid tears, which is the origin of the Facebook page "Plastindustrien tar opp jakten på havfruetårene". This is a Facebook page for businesses and stakeholders who want to learn more and join this movement.
Plastic pellets are very dangerous to the environment since they do not sink to the seabed, but will remain afloat, led into the river and further into the sea. If pellets come out into the ocean and waterways, fish and birds will think it is food and eat the plastic. Surveys have shown that 50% of sea horses have plastic pellets in their stomachs. According to a survey from 2011, the rivers carrying the most plastic pellets in Norway is the Skiensvassdraget, Numedalslågen, Nidelva, Glomma and Drammenselva.
The size of the plastic pellets are about 2-4 mm, and this makes it extra difficult to obtain after the spill has occurred. This means that spilling 1 kg of plastic, there will be 50,000 pellets to pick up. It is demanding to remove pellets one by one, and it is therefore difficult to arrange action similar to "Beach Clearing Day", as it has previously been done with plastic on the beach. Initiatives are therefore important to close emissions at the source.
The global "Operation Clean Sweep" program, created by the plastic industry itself, encourages companies specifically in plastic production to prevent plastic pellets from falling into the nature. This is done through free mapping of the situation and the need of the company, establishment of an action plan to reduce the emissions of plastic pellets, employee en-gasp and accountability in their own organisation and follow up the measures afterwards.
Engagement and accountability in your own organization is especially important, as organizational culture has a lot to say about how the organization actually behaves. Is there a reporting opportunity for leakage? Are there proper cleaning routines that prevent plastic pellets from being flushed into the nature?
Grepi Plast in Skien has committed to this movement and should be extra careful to implement routines to prevent plastic pellets from coming out into the nature. Operation Clean Sweep is one of the commitments Grepi and Mezonic have made to improve the environment and society. We strongly believe that a business should benefit not only itself, but also the society and the environment we live in.
Feel free to follow the further development of the movement on their Facebook page.