Towards Zero Pellet Loss with OCS Certification

The Operation Clean Sweep certification standard is a voluntary initiative to encourage and harmonize pellet loss prevention measures in the plastics industry. The scheme was developed by the association of European Plastics Converters (EuPC) and PlasticsEurope, the association of plastics manufacturers in Europe. With qualified auditors across Europe, DQS is your partner for OCS certification. 

Demonstrating Commitment to Zero Pellet Loss

Complying with regulatory requirements

Protecting Marine Environments

Reducing Risk of Spills


What are the requirements for OCS certification?

Companies who want achieve certification for the Operation Clean Sweep Standard commit to making zero pellet, flake and powder loss a priority. The requirements of the standard can be summarized into six core requirements:

1.    Improve the setup of the worksite to prevent spills
2.    Create and publish internal procedures towards zero pellet loss goals
3.    Provide employee training and accountability for spill prevention, containment, clean-up and disposal
4.    Audit the performance regularly
5.    Comply with all applicable regulations (local, national and EU) for pellet containment
6.    Encourage partners to pursue the same objectives

Operation Clean Sweep provides recommendations on how to implement these measures, in a comprehensive manual that is available for download on the OCS website. 

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Who can be certified to the Operation Clean Sweep Standard?

Unintentional loss of plastic pellets, flakes and powders can occur at all stages along the value chain. Therefore, the Operation Clean Sweep standard was developed to tackle pellet loss across the entire supply chain. 

The standard is applicable to all pellet-handling facilities. This includes manufacturing, compounding, masterbatching and converting of plastics, but also transportation and logistics. In addition to the OCS core requirements, each part of the value chain will also have its own specific requirements module.  

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Who is behind the Operation Clean Sweep Certification standard?

Operation Clean Sweep and its certification standard are a joint initiative of EuPC, the association of European Plastics Converters, and Plastics Europe, the association of plastics manufacturers in Europe. The OCS certification standard was launched in 2022, with the first audits taking place in 2023. Numerous industry experts, trade associations, NGOs, policy makers and certification bodies contributed to its development. 


Why do we need a certification standard for pellet loss prevention?

Studies have shown that around 2 % of all plastics litter entering the environment is pellets. Pellet loss is the second largest source of primary microplastics in the environment. Operation Clean Sweep is the response of the plastics industry to public concern over plastics pollution in marine environments. With the launch of the OCS certification scheme, the plastics industry has defined best practices to prevent pellet loss, created verifiable commitments and worked with policy-makers in the EU and beyond to harmonize requirements. All of this contributes to the ultimate objective of ensuring zero pellet loss across the plastics supply chain. 


How to achieve OCS Certification

Project planning can be useful for larger projects in order to plan schedules and the performance of audits for sites or departments. Specifically for Operation Clean Sweep, it should be noted that facilities are certified individually, rather than at a group level. In addition, a pre-audit offers the possibility to identify strengths and improvement potentials of your management system before the actual audit. Both services are optional.

As soon as your company is ready, an audit date will be set together with you, and approved auditors with the required competence and experience in your industry will be selected. During the certification audit, our auditors assess whether your management system meets the requirements of the OCS standard, based on a review of your documentation as well as a site visit. In a final discussion, you will receive a detailed presentation of the results from your DQS auditor, including a description of the potential for improvement for your company. If necessary, action plans will be agreed upon.

After a successful audit, DQS will issue your OCS certificate and publish this to the Operation Clean Sweep public register. 

With a view to continuous improvement and the ongoing effectiveness of your management system, surveillance audits of key components of your system are conducted once a year.

An OCS certificate is valid for a maximum of three years. Recertification is carried out well in advance of expiry to ensure continued compliance with the applicable standard requirements. Upon compliance, a new certificate is issued.


What is the cost of OCS Certification?

The cost of Operation Clean Sweep certification depends on the size of the facility. In certain cases, it is beneficial to combine the OCS audit with the audit of your environmental management system. We will be happy to make you an individual offer for your company.


Why DQS is the preferred partner for OCS Certification

•    Qualified OCS auditors throughout Europe and beyond
•    High level of competence and experience in the plastics value chain
•    Fully approved by Operation Clean Sweep

Carolin Nguyen

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