The plastics industry is restarting a program in California to cut pellet loss and pollution into the environment.
Several industry trade groups and the state Environmental Protection Agency launched Operation Clean Sweep on April 30. The plan's centerpiece is a Web site, www.opcleansweep.org, with best-management practices for eliminating pellet loss at factories.
The program was active in the early 1990s before going dormant, but is being restarted because of increasing concern in California and around the country with plastic litter, said Lori Anderson, strategic planning and industry relations manager with the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
There's also an obvious economic benefit for companies to reduce pellet loss, she said.
SPI and the American Plastics Council in Arlington, Va., developed the program.
The issue is attracting particular attention in California, both because of government mandates to cut pollution into rivers and streams and because of the work of a Long Beach-based group, the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, into the harmful impact of plastic litter on sea creatures.
The industry group is taking pledges from firms to reduce pellet loss, and has formed a committee of processors to work with Algalita on best practices, Anderson said. She said companies can take steps such as putting the proper-sized screens on drains.
Algalita is looking at how specific factories manage plastic waste and how they can reduce loss. The group also wants to quantify how much plastic debris gets into waterways. Algalita received a $482,000 state grant and expects to finish its work in mid-2005, said Charles Moore, head of the foundation.
Moore and APC have exchanged sharp words about some of his research, but he said there is ``fairly good cooperation'' on the pellet-loss project, with more than 50 percent of firms he has approached agreeing to participate.