Following up from the success to the Great Nurdle Hunt in Melbourne back in 2019, the 2023 event was even bigger with more than 90 participants from all parts of the plastics supply chain, the Victorian EPA and community members joining in for the clean-up along the Yarra River at Westgate Park.
Hosted by Westgate Biodiversity in collaboration with Tangaroa Blue Foundation, the team scoured the banks for the Yarra River removing more than 80kg of litter from small plastic resin pellets to food packaging, bottles, cans and even several syringes. The standout litter item was definitely the layers of polystyrene balls that resembled snow in some areas. It was great to see that the plastic resin pellet rating had not increased since the 2019 event, being stable at a 3/5. This equates to 10-50 plastic resin pellets every 1 square metre.
The Victorian EPA OPLE Officer were in attendance to discuss the new EPA Regulations around General Environmental Duty and State of Knowledge, which are relevant to all parts of the plastics supply chain.
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 a special thanks to Viva Energy for providing funding for the event. We look forward to continuing to work with the plastics industry and the Victorian EPA as Operation Clean Sweep rolls out across VIC!