Plastic replacement

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

Leading sustainable packaging business set to replace more than one billion pieces of single use plastic by 2025.

LONDON, UK, 9 December 2021: Global packaging company DS Smith has today announced strong progress against its plastic replacement targets as part of its Half Year Financial update to the market. The London listed company reported 170 million pieces of problem plastic had been replaced by its paper-based solutions for supermarkets and online retailers around the world since the launch of its Now and Next Sustainability strategy last year.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 leading sustainable packaging business has removed 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 the impact on the environment.

Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive at DS Smith

We are working with our customers to replace more than one billion pieces of problem plastic with fully recyclable, fibre-based packaging solutions by 2025. Consumers are increasingly demanding less waste from their products, and we are embracing this agenda for change to protect the planet and create a more sustainable future.

— Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive at DS Smith

With businesses across the EU paying a new plastic packaging tax which is set to raise up to €8bn a year in revenue, DS Smith has created more than 1000 wholly recyclable fibre-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 punnets.

Using its industry leading Circular Design Principles, DS Smith has engineered a raft of innovative designs to eliminate even the smallest amounts of plastic packaging - replacing plastic sealing tape with self-locking cardboard flaps and swapping plastic labels with print direct onto cardboard.

Research commissioned by DS Smith showed that 1.5 million tonnes of single use plastic, or 70billion units, could be removed from supermarket shelves across Europe each year and replaced with alternative renewable and fully recyclable materials. The potential opportunity to fill this market could be worth £5.7 billion a year to the corrugated cardboard packaging industry.

DS Smith’s plastic replacement work is underpinned by its £100 million Circular Economy R&D programme 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.