Companies handling industrial pellets (or nurdles) have a new tool in their toolbox to tackle nurdle pollution. A new publicly available specification (PAS) has been released on 23rd July and provides a detailed checklist of procedures and processes that companies should follow to minimise the risk of nurdle spills to the environment. This standard is the first of its kind and has been developed by a cross-stakeholder steering group, including environmental NGOs alongside regulators and industry.

Nurdles, photo credit: Colleen Hughson, Australia

The PAS provides a standardised mechanism for companies to check they have procedures in place to prevent nurdle pollution and goes beyond the current industry-led voluntary solution, Operation Clean Sweep. Firstly, the specification clearly spells out requirements for risk assessment and management procedures to prevent pollution. Including leadership, training, and operations that implement multiple levels of protection to prevent pollution. Secondly, the specification is fully auditable, meaning external inspectors can easily check nurdle pollution prevention on sites.Finally, requirements for regular audits and re-assessments, communication across supply chains and transparent reporting of improvements, ensures greater credibility and accountability than have been in place for OCS, which has a one-off sign-up process.

For any companies wishing to improve nurdle handling practices or show that they are already practicing effective pollution prevention, the PAS 510 is a unique new tool to achieve this.You can download the PAS 510 for free from the BSI website today.

We think the next step towards an effective solution is to make sure companies are externally checked, by independent auditors, to verify that they have best practice in place – certified best practice. This will let retailers and others placing plastic products on the market check their supply chains are doing everything they can to prevent pellet pollution. Furthermore, we see legislation as key to ensuring that this best practice is implemented industry-wide. Find out more about our vision of the supply chain approach here.