100% reusable or recyclable packaging. The seven year switch.

Unpacking DS Smith’s new sustainability target: to manufacture 100% reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025.

Imagine a future where all packaging uses no more material than necessary, enables consumers to reduce their food waste and dispose of their packaging on the go with the assurance that it will be recycled by state of the art recycling facilities and entered back into the economy as new raw materials.

This is the future we all imagine.

As a leading supplier of sustainable packaging solutions and a net positive recycler, DS Smith is fully committed to making this vision a reality over the next seven years. We want to redefine packaging as we know it.

Packaging for a changing world

As consumer habits and expectations shift rapidly, packaging has to work harder than ever before. The positive role of good, sustainable packaging must not be forgotten, but we all need to do more to help tackle some of the challenges associated with 'bad packaging'.

Change is coming. More than 20 brands and retailers across the world have been imagining a more sustainable packaging future and making pledges around reusable and recyclable packaging.

Our ambition, at DS Smith, is to be the packaging partner of choice for companies wanting to make these pledges a reality. As a Group, we therefore decided to set our own target:

  • Manufacture 100% reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025

To ensure momentum and enhance accountability, this target has been embedded into quarterly divisional trading meetings, along with our eight other sustainability targets.

“There is a great opportunity for our customers to replace unrecyclable packaging with fibre-based alternatives. However the technical challenge lies in finding solutions which balance the right performance, exceptional user experience, food safety and recyclability equally.” Magnus Renman, Group R&D Director.

We are focused on definitions and gathering baselines

With the launch of the Sustainability Review 2018, we announced that DS Smith would spend the next year establishing strong action plans and gathering robust data for our new targets (outlined in full at www.dssmith.com/company/sustainability). Work is already underway and we will report on progress in summer 2019.

Over the last few months, we can say that defining ‘recyclable’ has become crucial to us. Partnering with policy makers and trade associations, whilst using the expertise of our own Recycling and Paper divisions, we are striving towards better definitions and standards for recyclability.

Peter Clayson, General Manager for Business Development and External Affairs, comments on the target.

 “The recycling rate for paper and board is one of the highest in Europe, where 84 per cent of paper packaging material is recycled in practise. This is a crucial raw material for DS Smith and a key driver of the renewable corrugated system. However we want to challenge ourselves and ask the difficult questions. What are the barriers to recycling the other 16 per cent? Where does our responsibility lie in terms of multi-material offerings?”

Emma Ciechan, Director of Planning, Performance Management and Sustainability, also comments on how the industry should be responding to the recycling challenge:

“Clear and consistent recycling infrastructure is key in ensuring source segregation of materials for recycling. This improves the quality of the material collected, simplifying reprocessing and, ultimately, helping to produce a better quality, higher value recycled raw material – whether fibre-based or plastic. In turn, this helps to stimulate recycled material markets, supporting investment in infrastructure – a virtuous cycle.”

DS Smith is working hard to achieve this ideal future. However we cannot challenge the industry on our own. We encourage more and more companies to commit to reusable and recyclable packaging and for the recycling and waste industries to service the virtuous cycle, efficiently and sustainably.