Plastic manufacturer prevents 190,000 nurdles from reaching the Gulf of Mexico.
Stopping plastic pellets at their source
Over 20% of the world's plastic pellets are manufactured in the USA. Petrochemical companies in Texas produce the majority of these. EnviroPod and the Texas distributor Geo Solutions are working with these companies to halt the accidental loss of pellets from these facilities
Bigger than Texas.
Situated just outside of Houston in Harris County, the city of La Porte, TX boasts a strategic location at the edge of Galveston Bay and the mouth of Buffalo Bayou within the San Jacinta River flood plain and plays a vital role in Houston's industrial heartland, with various industries such as large petrochemical companies contributing to its growth.
Nurdles are big news.
Keeping the waters clean and free from plastic nurdles has been a hot issue for local residents living in the area. In 2019, the Formosa Plastic’s plant in Calhoun, Texas was forced to pay $50 million in penalties for plastic discharge into the Gulf of Mexico. With a Nurdle Patrol Group surveying more than 1,000 sites across the Gulf of Mexico, the pressure from the local community is intense.
Plastic pollution remains a pressing concern.
These incidents of plastic materials being discharged into the Gulf of Mexico has highlighted the need for effective pollution prevention solutions. Local community leaders, environmental organizations, and regulatory agencies have come together to address the problem of plastic material discharges into Galveston Bay and ultimately, the Gulf of Mexico.
One large plastic manufacturer located in La Porte recognised that change is needed. This company produces raw plastic including their food grade polymer which come as translucent nurdles.
With updated regulations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regarding pellet loss and participation in Operation Clean Sweep, an international program dedicated to preventing resin pellet loss in marine environments, the manufacturer took a proactive approach. They introduced Enviropod LittaTraps™ equipped with 1,000-micron liners, for installation inside their numerous stormwater inlet structures to capture lost plastic nurdles before these nurdles could discharge and escape out facility storm drains.
LittaTraps™ make a significant impact.
Initially, a pilot project was conducted by installing LittaTraps™ at various stormwater inlets around the plant. In just a few months, these traps successfully captured a substantial number of plastic pellets. In just two months, over 79,200 pellets were recovered from five stormwater runoff inlets. So impressed, the company installed another four LittaTraps™, focusing on areas susceptible to pellet spillage and conveyance to local storm drains.
After three months, the nine LittaTrap™ storm drain inlet filters were cleaned and the contents were counted. This time, there were over 190,080 plastic nurdles caught by the LittaTraps™. But the LittaTraps™ recovered even more than nurdles. The breakdown of captured materials and other gross pollutants were as follows: 80% plastic nurdles or pellets, 10% sediment, 5% gravel, 4% leaves, and 1% trash.