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Zero microplastics into the environment

We complement the OCS system with the 5S method

For many years, NUDEC has been implementing the Japanese 5S cleaning method to have better organised, tidier and cleaner workplaces on a permanent basis and thus achieve greater productivity and a better work environment. In line with the OCS programme.

An industry commitment:

0 pellet loss

The voluntary responsible management programme Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS) is a global plastic industry initiative to prevent the release of plastic particles into the environment. Although the programme's slogan focuses on pellets (plastic granules that are introduced in the extrusion process), all types of microplastics (crushed, flakes and even dust) that may reach the waterways through the sewage system and end up in the sea are taken into account

Depending on the activity of each industry, plastic particles will be generated (involuntarily) at one stage or another in the plastic value chain, from manufacturing, storage and transportation to its transformation and subsequent recycling. This is why the implementation of the OCS programme must be adapted to the company’s own facilities and processes to minimise generating and spreading plastic particles and dust.

By working with the 5S method, our staff had already internalised tasks such as order and cleanliness in their daily activities, so implementing the OCS system from the beginning of 2020 was relatively simple. Even so, environmental awareness days focused on the loss of microplastics

have been carried out and it has been established as one of the organisation’s priority objectives. An initial evaluation of the situation and needs was also carried out to comply with the procedures established in our processes, which are constantly controlled through periodic waste audits.

Our participation and its benefits

The ultimate goal of the OCS best practices programme is to help keep plastic particles out of the natural environment, but this effort can also help improve relationships with interest groups and community organisations that hope the industry will reduce its ecological footprint as much as possible.

At NUDEC we have equated the "discharges" of microplastics with those of hazardous waste discharges, with the aim of acting diligently and effectively in all our operations against the emission of plastic particles and minimising the amount that ends up in the environment.

We believe that, as part of the plastics sector, and in order to act responsibly, we must work conscientiously to avoid any emission of microplastics. With this intention we adhere to the OCS programme, raise awareness among our workers and make the necessary improvements in equipment and facilities.

Environment

Reduce the impact on the aquatic environment, preserving marine life.

Regulations

Guarantee compliance with legal requirements, avoiding infractions and sanctions.

Safety

Prevent slips and falls, generating lower costs and greater work motivation.

Competitiveness

Contribute to maintaining clean and orderly facilities that provide quality.

Positive alliances

Be part of voluntary and collaborative initiatives in the plastics sector.

Process management

Improve operational efficiency and control of associated risks.

Optimisation

Maximise the use of raw materials, which do not enter the natural environment.

Social responsibility

Improve the reputation of our organisation and the plastics sector.

How does this effort contribute to the SDGs?

In recent years, and with increasing frequency, researchers report that birds, turtles and fish ingest a wide variety of plastic elements that harm their health or cause their death.

Most of these plastics are used consumer products that have been discarded recklessly. Some of this waste is microplastics that have entered the waste stream and the oceans. When ingested by animals, plastic particles can be retained in their digestive tract, causing malnutrition or death from starvation, and even ends up in humans.

This is one of the reasons for carrying out action programs like Operation Clean Sweep: it is no longer just an aesthetic issue, in which microplastics are on the seabed, mixed with beach sand or form plastic islands in the oceans, but they affect fauna and we ingest them through what we eat, drink and breathe.

What is the impact on our health?

The full consequences of the presence of plastic particles in our body are still being studied, as currently it seems impossible that we can have a diet free of microplastics and their additives (they are in salt, in beer or in fresh fruit). 

In laboratory tests, microplastics have been shown to cause damage to human cells, including allergic reactions and cell death. The plastic particles, converted into nanoplastics (smaller than a micron), circulate throughout the body through the blood, although it is still unknown if they can pass to organs such as the lungs or the brain.

Entities that support the Operation Clean Sweep® programme