Plastics New Zealand’s CEO, Rachel Barker, was horrified to find plastic pellets in rubbish collected by a small sea bin inside the Viaduct Basin.

“This is a really bad look for our industry and it’s time all companies stepped up to take responsibility for keeping their raw materials out of our waterways. The media took particular notice of the pellets in the dish”.

bin270On Tuesday the 27th of August Plastics New Zealand’s CEO, Rachel Barker, went on an Ocean Plastics Field Trip organised by the Sustainable Business Network. The trip provided the opportunity to hear about activities relating to plastics and the Hauraki Gulf from organisations such as Auckland University, Gulf-X and Sustainable Coastlines. Journalists from TVNZ were also on-board filming and interviewing attendees.

At the start of the trip they showed the group a sea bin in the corner of the Viaduct Basin. The sea bin filters materials off the waters surface over a small area of around 10 square metres. A significant amount of plastic was found in the bin 8 hours after it was last emptied. It’s important to realise that this is a weekday morning. Things are much worse on the weekend!

While most of the plastics found in the bin were items of litter, of concern was finding 15 plastic pellets. Particularly since this was from a quick sort of the items. Further pellets were amongst the seaweed waiting to be discovered. Discussion with the marine scientists on the Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari reveals that this is a common occurrence.  The jar below shows pellets from 3 days of collection. According to the scientists some weeks it’s much worse.

20190827 104611 270This pellet loss to New Zealand’s waterways must stop.

While 59 companies have successfully put full measures in place under Operation Clean Sweep, there are many who haven’t.  With the huge amount of negative attention on plastics this is no longer good enough.

You must act now to ensure your company is not a part of the problem.

Been through an audit but don’t have Operation Clean Sweep certification?  You know what you need to do to resolve the situation. It’s time to get moving and implement those recommended actions.

If you haven’t engaged in the programme This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get an audit scheduled. This is free for Plastics NZ Members and $800 per site for non-members. While you’re waiting for the formal audit download the Operation Clean Sweep Guide and perform a self-audit. Don’t wait until the media is knocking on your door after a spill.

Operation Clean Sweep is an international programme designed to prevent resin pellet, flake and powder loss into the marine environment. Every segment of the plastics industry has a role to play – including resin producers, transporters, recyclers and plastics processors – by implementing good housekeeping and pellet, flake and powder containment practices.



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