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Polyoak Packaging has become part of a worldwide drive by plastics leaders to reduce the amount of plastic pellets ending up in rivers and ultimately in the ocean, by signing a pledge to prevent resin pellet, flake and powder loss as part of Plastics|SA’s Operation Clean Sweep.

Attending the signing ceremony that took place at Polyoak Packaging’s regional head office in Cape Town, were Jacques Lightfoot, Sustainability Manager at Plastics|SA, Stuart Allen (Operations Manager), Rowan le Roux (Sustainability Manager) and Jeremy Mackintosh, Group Managing Director at Polyoak Packaging.
Explaining the importance of making a public declaration to prevent pellet loss, Mackintosh said: “Polyoak is proud to be one of the country’s biggest manufacturers of plastic packaging. Because we use large quantities of plastic pellets and flakes on a daily basis to produce items such as plastic bottles, closures and containers, it is important that we adhere to strict environmental standards and take a leading role as a responsible producer. By signing the Operation Clean Sweep pledge, we want to highlight our commitment to making zero pellet loss a priority by ensuring that pellets are kept out of the natural environment, including waterways and oceans”.

Douw Steyn, PlasticsǀSA Sustainability Director explained that ingesting plastic items, such as pellets, could affect the ability of seabirds, turtles and fish to breathe, swallow or digest foods properly.  “Whilst the public is responsible for proper recycling and disposal of consumer products and packaging, the responsibility to contain plastic pellets firmly rests on the shoulders of the plastic industry,” he said.

To this end, Plastics|SA has been promoting Operation Clean Sweep to the industry, developed resource materials for its members and is in the process of developing systems aimed at containing plastics since it launched the initiative on World Oceans Day (8 June) at the uShaka Marine World in Durban earlier this year.

“We are proud to be one of the first companies signing the pledge as we believe there is a direct link between sustainability and profitability.  Adhering to green practices such as Operation Clean Sweep is not only environmentally sound, but also makes good business sense,” Mackintosh concluded.

Plastics|SA is a signatory of the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, a global declaration and public commitment made by the international plastics community to address the issue of plastics in the marine environment, which includes Operation Clean Sweep, which was launched in March 2011.