Value chain partners in the Arabian Gulf join global efforts to address plastic waste

More companies in the region have adopted Operation Clean Sweep®, a global initiative practiced in over 60 countries across the world, in an effort to achieve zero plastic pellet loss to the environment

Value chain partners in the Arabian Gulf join global efforts to address plastic waste

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Major players from across the plastic value chain in the Arabian Gulf have adopted Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS) in an effort to address plastic waste, the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the voice of the chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf, announced today. 

Operation Clean Sweep®, a global initiative practiced in over 60 countries around the world, is aimed at eliminating plastic pellet, flake and powder loss to the environment. The initiative has gained significant momentum since its launch in the Arabian Gulf by GPCA in December last year. Today the program is available to all plastics value network partners, including petrochemical producing companies, logistics service providers, ports and port authorities, plastic processors, environmental service providers, traders and sectors involved in the handling of plastic raw materials.

GPCA members who have signed the OCS pledge, demonstrating their commitment to a clean environment, include Sadara Chemical Company, S-Chem, Qatar Chemical Company (Q-Chem), National Petrochemical Industrial Company (NATPET), Ingenia Polymers Corporation, Astra Polymer Compounding Company, RSA-TALKE, S.A. TALKE, Almajdouie & de Rijke, Aljabr - TALKE & Co., and Alfred Talke Logistic Services.

Despite the application of stringent environmental, safety and quality management controls, unintentional loss of plastic pellets can occur at all stages along the plastic value chain and represents a global challenge. While figures of the exact cost of plastic pellet loss in the Arabian Gulf region are not currently available, one estimate suggests it can have an economic and business cost in the tune of USD 1.5 billion every year[1] excluding environmental and reputational damage among local communities.

Plastic production in the Arabian Gulf has grown tremendously over the last 10 years and by 2030, is expected to reach 38.5 million tons, growing by 14.3% from current levels.

Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented: “Over the last decade, GPCA and its members have excelled on par with peer associations in the adoption and implementation of leading global programs such as Responsible Care® and Gulf-SQAS, which have helped to improve the health, safety security and environmental performance at petrochemical producers and logistics service providers in the region. Building on this success, in just a few months we’ve seen adoption of Operation Clean Sweep® grow steadily across the region, which is a testament to plastic value chain players’ commitment to sustainable pellet containment practices, and in line with the region’s sustainability agenda towards addressing the plastic waste challenge.”

He continued: “With polymers having one of the fastest growing contributions to GCC chemical exports by volume and by revenue, investment in this segment will continue to grow in the next decade, as a number of new projects come on stream. With increased production comes the need for greater accountability, collaboration and transparency on effective and sustainable pellet containment management practices. GPCA will continue to work closely with its members to facilitate the move to zero plastic pellet loss to the environment by following global best practice, and effective environmental and safety controls.”

OCS is a product stewardship program of the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division and Plastics Industry Association in the US. It is aligned with GPCA’s commitment to the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, specifically focusing on area #6 – “to address marine litter at the source through plastic pellet containment”.

[1] Source: Reusable Packaging Forum, Chicago (2015) *Figures refer to plastic pallet and container loss within the U.S.

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