DS Smith to launch virus-resistant packaging

Announcing a partnership to develop antimicrobial coating at scale to give consumers additional safeguards

DS Smith, the leading sustainable packaging company, announced today an exclusive partnership with the company Touchguard to develop a new range of sustainable cardboard packaging to protect consumers against potentially harmful bacteria.

While there is no evidence of virus transfer from cardboard, Touchguard’s patented technology is effective against a number of bacteria and viruses, including envelope viruses, of which COVID-19 is a member. The coating can be applied at scale across a range of applications, providing an additional layer of protection for consumers and workers throughout the supply chain.

Recent surveys by DS Smith have found growing retail and consumer interest in products with hygienic packaging, especially amid the pandemic that has boosted e-commerce nationwide and increased demand for shipping boxes.

The product has not been tested on COVID-19 cultures at this stage, but on feline coronavirus, part of the same family of viruses as COVID-19 in which its outermost layer and spikes attach and replicate to host cells. Touchguard disrupts the envelope to prevent the virus from replicating, effectively mitigating the risk of person-to-person transfer.

It has a proven kill rate of 99.5% in under 15 minutes on bacteria types and envelope viruses and eliminates the risk of person-to-person transfer of infections, such as MRSA and E. coli.

“While it can never replace good hygiene best practices and procedures, this 100% recyclable technology has the potential to bring a real and proven additional layer of protection to our customers and their consumers as packaging moves through the supply chain. This partnership with Touchguard enables us to innovate while maintaining the sustainability of our products,” said Melanie Galloway, vice president of sales, marketing, and innovation for Packaging at DS Smith North America.

DS Smith is looking to use the technology across its operations in North America and Europe. As more shoppers flock online for their holiday shopping, this proven technology will further build consumers’ confidence around handling packaging in their homes.

“Our partnership with DS Smith provides us with an opportunity to bring our patented Touchguard technology to the market at scale through its sustainable packaging offer. With its manufacturing reach across Europe and the U.S. and an extensive e-commerce and fast-moving consumer goods customer base, we will be able to offer a range of solutions to support changing consumer habits,” said Julian Dugdale, the inventor and CEO of Touchguard, based in the UK.

The new range promises to support the sustainable packaging market with potential scope across a variety of areas, including e-commerce and food packaging, while still being 100% recyclable. The Touchguard coating and packaging will hold certification to AATCC100 (MOD), ISO18184:2019 (MOD) and complies with BfR36 recommendations for food-contact materials.

As part of its recently launched “Now and Next Sustainability Strategy,” DS Smith has committed to closing the loop through better design and by 2023, it will manufacture 100% reusable or recyclable packaging.