Joining the NSW EPA and Tangaroa Blue Foundation, members of the plastics industry headed down to Plane Spotters Beach in Botany on October 16th 2023 for the first industry Great Nurdle Hunt in Sydney.
Unfortunately it didn't require much hunting before the small beads of raw plastic were observed, highlighting the importance of programs like Operation Clean Sweep in preventing the loss of feedstock into the environment.
The NSW EPA has recently released their guidance on preventing plastic feedstock from entering the environment as part of a focus on microplastics in the NSW Plastics Action Plan and EPA officers were on hand to discuss the new regulations with industry members.
The team of volunteers used the Operation Clean Sweep PRP Loss Rating Tool to rate the site 4/5 at the worst part of the beach - this equates to 300-1000 plastic resin pellets per square metre. This site is also impacted by litter washing onto the beach, so the team also removed over 16kg of plastic food packaging and other litter items.
Engagement activities like this are critical to have industry, government and community discuss the issue of plastic feedstock loss, practical solutions - both at the factory sites and through government regulation - and how collaboratively we can all support best practice, stewardship and ensuring day to day business operations have the lightest footprint.
Thank you to all the plastic industry members, EPA Officers and community partners who came along to the event, and we look forward to working with the plastic industry and the NSW EPA as Operation Clean Sweep rolls out across NSW!