Operation Clean Sweep

A Certified Plastics and Packaging Industry

Operation Clean Sweep is a voluntary agreement to stop plastic pallet leakages into the environment. This product stewardship program has been developed in partnership between the American Chemistry Plastics Division and Plastics Industry Association. It has also been endorsed by the British Plastics Federation and Plastics Europe. It is a very detailed document that provides excellent guidance on securing the logistics and supply chain during the manufacturing and transportation of plastic pallets. Unfortunately it is a voluntary agreement.

Images from left to right: (1) Pellets in a factory yard and (2) bags of plastic pellets on pallets (As You Sow website); (3) Pellets leaking from a bag (Australian Operation Clean Sweep website); (4) Volunteers clean up pellets that spilled into Pocono Creek: 16 April 2018 (Fox News).

Transforming Operation Clean Sweep from a voluntary agreement into an internationally recognised certified manufacturing process, including logistics and distribution, will be a lengthy but necessary process if we are trust the plastics supply chain.  All companies who use plastic packaging may be able to label their plastic packaging or product with a logo stating it was manufactured from a secure supply chain.

In India, and according to the Indian Central Pollution Control Board, there are approximately 30,000 plastics manufacturers, mostly small to medium-sized companies, and it is a fair assumption that many do not follow any kind of process, voluntary or otherwise, that takes care to stop leakages into the environment. This scenario is repeated in all countries across the Asian region.

The health of our planet is equal to our health. We established food safety standards to ensure the food we eat is safe and traceable. The same standards must be put into place for the plastics industry.

Here are some solutions the plastics industry can implement to catch plastic pellet, flakes and powders leaking into the environment. These only work when there a proper drainage system in place. The last image is a typical drainage system in many parts of the Asian region and other emerging markets. Although these are difficult drainage systems to fix it is not impossible.  

Knowledge Centre

In this section, we have a significant range of reports, infographics, movies and images covering the following: Articles, Business, Circular Economy & Plastics, Design, Fact Sheets, Guides, Ocean Plastic, Operation Clean Sweep, Policy, Single-Use Plastics, Technical Reports, Technology and Tools.


Video: The Story of Plastic

‘Recycling is not enough’ published by GAIA, 22 January 2018

Drainage solutions: From left: Flexstorm Inlet Filters, GeoSolutions and ‘India, the toxic price of leather‘ leather works factory drainage system in Kanpur.