The core role of packaging is to protect products and to keep food and drink fresher for longer. In doing so, packaging makes supply chains more efficient and protects the energy and resources invested in products.
More than ever before, the role of packaging in society is being scrutinised. Changes are being driven not only by our customers and consumers, but by regulatory developments as well. As shopping habits evolve, consumer expectations change and supply chains become more complex, packaging has to work harder than ever before. Packaging is expected to transport products, build brands, delight customers and make supply chains more efficient.
The right packaging does all of this sustainably, but more needs to be done to ensure that the positive role of good, sustainable packaging is not forgotten.
Reflecting the shift to a more circular economy and our focus on creating sustainable value for our stakeholders, we have set an ambitious goal that not only drives the sustainability of our packaging, but reflects our commitment to making recycling real:
- Manufacture 100 per cent reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025
Packaging design must balance a huge range of different criteria. These include performance, protection and visual impact on the shelf, and they are increasingly judged by sustainability criteria, such as raw material provenance and end-of-life management options. DS Smith’s global network of packaging strategists, supported by our innovative Impact Centres, PackRight Centres and More From Less consultancy, work with customers to implement eco-design principle and create packaging that protects products and the resources invested in them whilst making their supply chains more efficient.
Designing more sustainable corrugated packaging
Our latest corrugated packaging innovations in aim to tackle some of the biggest sustainability challenges; over packaging and using no more material than necessary. Our patented real-time testing process, PACE [link], enables us to have complete confidence that every box that leaves a DS Smith facility meets our customers' performance requirements, guarantees levels of performance with the most efficient use of fibre and reduces damage rates and associated resource and energy loss in supply chains. Our innovative Made2fit solution tackles void fill with the technology to manufacture more than 10 million box size combinations n a multi-channel-ready process, optimising supply chain emissions and reducing waste.
Designing more sustainable plastic packaging
Our plastic solutions we prioritise reusability, repairability and recyclability and focus on designing lightweight, durable packaging which can protect and transport products time and time again. In many supply chains, products take thousands of journeys, lasting up to 30 years for beverage crates transporting glass bottles and up to seven years for corrugated plastic transit packaging transporting products such as automotive parts. For these products, our designers focus on reducing material complexity down to one single polymer, allowing for efficient, high-quality, 100 per cent recyclability at end of life. We also focus on making some of our packaging solutions modular and repairable which reduces our customers' total need for new packaging, and decoupling them from virgin raw material consumption.
Our in-house controls and safety systems cover our processes from the product development stage through raw material sourcing to delivery of the finished products.
Some of our packaging materials come into direct contact with food. To guarantee that consumer demands and food safety regulations are fully met, all our units producing food contact materials follow Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). This set of internationally recognised guidelines helps us to ensure safety and product quality. We provide our customers with information on products’ hygiene and safety aspects through compliance declarations, and we have effective processes in place for testing product compliance and safety.
We work with our suppliers to ensure that we only use chemicals that are registered in accordance with the European Union’s REACH registration system, and that no chemicals listed by REACH as substances of very high concern are present in our products.