Firm will only manufacture reusable or recyclable paper and plastic packaging by 2025 ©DS Smith
Firm will only manufacture reusable or recyclable paper and plastic packaging by 2025 ©DS Smith

DS Smith to make only reusable and recyclable packaging

9 August 2018

Packaging company DS Smith will only manufacture reusable or recyclable packaging, including paper and plastic, by 2025.

In its sustainability review the FTSE 100 packaging firm said the move to recycled materials would reduce its use of virgin materials.

The use of regrinded plastic in its plastics division prevented the need for virgin materials equivalent to 381,000 barrels of oil or 1,800 recycling trucks diverted from landfill or incineration in 2017, it said.

The firm’s plastics and recycling production divisions have already reduced CO2 emissions by more than 7% last year, according to the report.

Emma Ciechan, director of planning, performance management and sustainability, said that packaging had to “adapt to be relevant and value-adding as the world evolves”.

She said: “From e-commerce to omni-channel packaging, alternative material to radical end-of-life solutions, the opportunities abound. The challenge is to embed sustainability principles as we explore these opportunities and redefine packaging for a changing world”.

Plastic itself is not the problem, believes DS Smith, but poor waste management and the inappropriate use of plastic material should be addressed, the report said.

The firm's manufacturing operations focused predominantly on multi-use plastic packaging solutions or packaging made from recycled and recyclable materials, and it had worked to reducing the complexity of its plastic packaging down to a single polymer to allow for “high-quality, 100% recyclability” at the end of life.

In 2017, its plastics divisions sourced more than 24,000 tonnes (37%) of plastic raw materials from “post-consumer” recycled sources, compared to 34% per cent in 2016 and 22% cent in 2015.

While most of its products could be made completely from recycled materials, it used a lower percentage for some products to avoid compromising integrity or to comply with customer hygiene specifications, it said.

DC Smith has launching a traceability project to map where its plastic products go at the end of their lifecycle and map how and where these products are used if exported. The project’s results will be published next year, the company said.

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