Waste is always a resource
At DS Smith, we focus on ensuring that we keep our materials in the supply cycle for as long as possible, making sure that the maximum value is captured.
Article 5 of 8, Sustainability Review series:
Waste, by definition, is typically the final destination of resources considered to have ended their useful life. However, at DS Smith waste is an opportunity.
DS Smith prides itself on maximising the potential of our recycling systems.
- Over five million tonnes of material is recycled and therefore diverted from landfill by DS Smith across Europe every year.
Waste to Landfill13%
Reduction in waste to landfill per tonne of production since 2011 across the DS Smith Group
Every tonne of recycled paper fibre that DS Smith collects offsets the need to harvest a tonne of virgin raw material. And every piece of plastic we recycle reduces the need to manufacture virgin plastics from crude oil.
Turning our own waste into a resource
The clearest example of circular economy and waste as a resource at DS Smith is the close integration of recycling, paper and packaging operations in a closed loop model. Cardboard, old corrugated cases, pre-consumer off-cuts and a variety of other paper grades are DS Smith’s primary raw material for our papermaking and packaging production.
This working relationship is so close that the DS Smith packaging site in Eerbeek, Netherlands, is actually able to blow its waste cardboard off-cuts along a pipe to DS Smith’s neighbouring De Hoop Paper Mill, where it is made into paper again. Similarly, in the Plastics Division, most sites have on‑site regrinding and recycling operations, which regularly process off‑cuts, damaged product, and customer waste. Several completely autonomous mobile recycling units also offer recycling services to some of the largest beverage companies in the world.
Similarly, in the Plastics Division, most sites have on‑site regrinding and recycling operations, which regularly process off‑cuts, damaged product, and customer waste. Several completely autonomous mobile recycling units also offer recycling services to some of the largest beverage companies in the world.
Waste is also used in a variety of other creative ways across the business.
Innovating with waste
- Dust from two UK packaging sites is mixed with composting food waste at the Eden Project to be added to soil in the botanical gardens. This collaboration won a Green Apple Award in 2016.
- Pre-consumer cardboard offcuts are being made into animal bedding for horses and other animals through the creation of a new business venture based in the UK, called BedKind.
- Dirty and used foam packaging, collected from customers, can be made into traffic cones. The foam is broken up, compacted on-site, and then sent to external facilities to be made into cones.
Call for high quality recycling
DS Smith recognises that by applying the waste hierarchy across both our own and our customers’ operations, we can reduce waste and ensure that all materials that can be recycled are actually recycled.
This is why the DS Smith Recycling division is so focussed on the quality of recycled materials.
“We work with customers across Europe, including in countries where the recycling and waste management infrastructure is less mature, to ensure that different materials are collected separately wherever possible,” explains Tim Price, Marketing Director of the Recycling division. “Our mission is to ensure that all material that can be recycled is actually recycled, rather than ending up in landfill or energy recovery.”
This is the article in a series where we seek to explore the topics highlighted in our Sustainability Review 2017. To see other case studies of the great work happening across the business, as well as information on our recycling and waste performance, please see our Sustainability Review 2017.