Preventing Supply Chain Plastic Pellet Pollution

18th March 2020

We were commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government’s Plastic Pellet Loss Steering Group, to work with stakeholders to design a supply chain system to minimise plastic pellet pollution throughout the supply chain.

Pellets are a raw material for plastic products and the second most significant source of microplastic pollution in water. Their size makes them easily spilled, wherever in the supply chain they are handled. The Scottish Government wanted to build on the voluntary initiative already developed by the plastics industry for best practice plastic handling, ‘Operation Clean Sweep®’. The report lays the groundwork for a system, which includes a standard, to manage the impacts of an international industry. The Plastic Pellet Loss Steering Group was created to bring together industry representatives with environmental organisations, in order to take a supply chain approach to further reduction of plastic pellet loss and contamination.

In order to propose a solution which balanced functionality, ease of use and cost, while also properly considering the current situation, we conducted stakeholder engagement, site visits and research right across the supply chain. The resulting report ‘Preventing plastic pellet loss in supply chains’ sets out the structure, scope and principles of a system for the responsible handling of pellets which should provide assurance to anyone with an interest in plastic products and pollution prevention. A summary of the report has also been produced by Zero Waste Scotland on behalf of the steering group.

Sarah Archer, Zero Waste Scotland plastics policy analyst, said:

“This is a key step towards putting in place a robust solution that will prevent pollution by plastic pellets in Scotland and beyond.

“It shows what can be achieved when organisations with a range of experiences and expertise work together to find effective, feasible and affordable ways to tackle a problem. Eunomia’s team played a key role in engaging with stakeholders across the supply chain, and helping to identify a shared plan of action.”