The following was published on September 12, 2019 as a LinkedIn blog post by Hans Vercouteren, EMEA EH&S Leader.
Hans Vercouteren, EMEA EH&S Leader
September 21st is World Clean Up Day, an opportunity to evaluate the impact we make on the environment and take steps to address these problems.
In the plastics industry, keeping plastic litter materials out of the marine environment is a key issue of concern. Roughly 100 million pellets enter the environment each year, making their way into local waterways, and ultimately estuaries and the ocean. These pellets create not only an eyesore and a litter issue, but can potentially harm birds or marine life. Like so many industry issues, we will only instill real change by working collaboratively: that’s where Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) comes in.
OCS is a program that helps plastic resin handling operations implement good housekeeping and practices to work towards achieving zero pellet, flake, and powder loss. This is achieved through dedicating extensive resources to help companies evaluate their current protocols and put customizable plans in place to help them reach their goals.
The program is made possible by the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division and Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) working in conjunction with chemistry councils around the world, including Plastics Europe.
Trinseo has been an active member of Operation Clean Sweep since 2014, and this month we will re-pledge to continue our journey toward zero pellet loss. Here are the benefits we’ve seen as an OCS member:
We are making a difference.
Trinseo’s main focus after signing the OCS pledge has been to raise awareness of pellets and their consequences. Awareness sessions were held for employees and contractors and now we’re seeing increased technical improvements that have decreased spills.
We are engaging employees around sustainability.
Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) is intrinsic to Trinseo as an organization, and we continuously educate employees on their role in our sustainability program. By developing training programs to communicate the OCS pledge and creating company-wide goals, we’re engaging employees on a personal level to ensure they understand the role they’re playing in our goal of zero pellet, flake, and powder loss, and we’re recognizing them for their efforts.
We are helping our customers and partners be more sustainable.
More and more, customers and partners expect a focus on sustainability and OCS is a way to get both on board with our goals, so we can work more effectively together to prevent pellets from entering our environment, and also start a broader conversation about the importance of sustainability on our operational efforts. We included our third-party logistics providers in the program, and are asking them to sign the pledge with a commitment to work with us to find solutions.
Joining OCS has been extremely impactful for our company, our employees and our partners. We encourage all plastics industry providers to consider joining OCS, and look forward to speaking about the importance of this program at the upcoming KShow in October.
For more information on our commitment to sustainability, please visit Trinseo.com/Sustainability where you can download the full 2019 Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report.