DS Smith strips out more than 170M pieces of problem plastic for industry, supermarkets and online retailers

Sustainable packaging leader DS Smith announced today strong progress against its plastic replacement targets as part of its half year financial update to the market. The London based company reported 170 million pieces of problem plastic had been replaced by its paper-based solutions for supermarkets and online retailers around the world since the launch of its Now and Next Sustainability strategy last year.

The business reported removing on average more than 2 million pieces of single use plastic a week from its customers’ packaging and store display products – equivalent to 12,000 pieces an hour – boosting their customers’ packaging recyclability and reducing negative impacts on the environment.

Keith Ledbetter, managing director of DS Smith North America, said: “Working with our customers here in North America, we’re actively contributing to DS Smith’s replacement of more than one billion pieces of problem plastic with fully recyclable, fiber-based packaging solutions by 2025. Our customers and their consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable, environmentally-friendly packaging, and we’re fully embracing this agenda for change to protect the planet.”

With businesses facing federal, state and local bans on many types of single-use plastics, such as plastic grocery bags and Styrofoam containers, DS Smith has created more than 1000 wholly recyclable fiber-based packaging solutions for hundreds of thousands of products for both traditional and e-commerce retailers – covering everything from wine boxes and ready-meal trays to shrink wrap and fresh fruit trays. 

Using its industry leading Circular Design Principles, DS Smith’s designers create innovative designs to eliminate even the smallest amounts of plastic packaging, such as replacing plastic sealing tape with self-locking cardboard flaps and swapping plastic labels with print direct onto cardboard.

DS Smith announced in September 2021 it had embedded its Circular Design Metrics across all its packaging sites which enable it to measure the sustainability performance of each of its packaging designs across a range of indicators including carbon footprint, design for reuse and material utilization. 

DS Smith’s plastic replacement work is part of its $140 million Circular Economy R&D program to support the company’s pledge to offer all its customers 100% recyclable packaging within the next two years and for all its packaging to be recycled or reused by 2030. 

About DS Smith

DS Smith is a leading provider of sustainable, fiber-based packaging worldwide, supported by recycling and papermaking operations. It plays a central role in the value chain across sectors including e-commerce, fast moving consumer goods and industrials. Through its purpose of ‘Redefining Packaging for a Changing World’ and its Now and Next sustainability strategy, DS Smith is committed to leading the transition to the circular economy, while delivering more circular solutions for its customers and wider society – replacing problem plastics, taking carbon out of supply chains and providing innovative recycling solutions. Its bespoke box-to-box in 14 days model, design capabilities and innovation strategy sits at the heart of this response. A Strategic Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, North American operations are headquartered in Atlanta, with 15 packaging, paper and recycling facilities, totaling more than 2,000 employees. 

DS Smith operates in 34 countries employing around 30,000 people and is a Strategic Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.