DS Smith removes over 313m pieces of problem plastic in two years

Sustainable packaging firm leads plastic replacement fight

DS Smith has announced that it has designed out over 313 million pieces of problem plastics in the last two years alone1 as part of its ambitious plastic replacement programme.

The significant figure equates to more than three million units per week, as customers and consumers demonstrate demand for fibre-based packaging as an alternative to hard-to-recycle plastics.

To meet this demand, DS Smith designers have worked with customers to create 1,000s of new innovations to replace plastic. Solutions have been created to remove everyday plastic items including ready-meal trays, plastic fruit and vegetable punnets and plastic six pack rings that pollute the planet. This all comes at a time when campaign groups are highlighting the amount of plastic that ends up as waste, making it more important than ever to remove them at the design phase.

Samantha Upham, Sustainability Business Partner – Sales, Marketing & Innovation commented: “With our help, customers are accelerating their ambitions to remove problem plastics from their products. By using our Circular Design Metrics, we can easily show not just where plastic can be replaced, but how circular their packaging is right now and where we can make improvements together.

“All 700 of our designers have been trained in our Circular Design Principles, which means we can design out problem plastics at inception stage and find alternative fibre-based solutions which deliver the required attributes.”

Over the next year, DS Smith will continue to drive adoption of fibre-based alternatives amongst customers in response to consumer demand for plastic alternatives. In a recent survey commissioned by DS Smith, 4 in 10 consumers (41 per cent)2a wanted packaging made from alternative renewable sources, whilst in a separate survey, 52 per cent of Brits said they would purchase products that contain less plastic to help improve recycling rates in the UK.2b

As part of DS Smith’s Now & Next sustainability targets, the company has an ambition to take one billion pieces of problem plastics off supermarket shelves, replacing them with corrugated alternatives. DS Smith’s plastic replacement work and wider sustainability progress can be found in its latest sustainability report which can be found here.

1. Over a 2-year period from May 2020 to April 2022

2. Market research conducted by OnePoll:

a. Consumer research: 2,000 UK adults who have shopped online in the past six months. Conducted between 17th June and 23rd June 2022

b. Consumer research: 2,000 UK adults who have shopped online in the past six months. Conducted between 17th June and 23rd June 2022

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