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DS Smith Removes 313M Pieces Of Problem Plastic

DS Smith

Atlanta-based DS Smith has phased out more than 313 million pieces of problem plastics in the last two years as part of its plastic replacement program.

Knowing that the circular life of a piece of packaging relies on the consumer recycling, DS Smith has also educated more than 2.8 million people about the circular economy.

DS Smith’s designers have worked with their clients on their packaging and displays to replace or remove more than 3 million units of plastic per week, or 13,000 an hour, as its customers demonstrate a soaring demand for fiber-based packaging as an alternative to hard-to-recycle, single-use plastics.

DS Smith has trained 700 designers in its circular design principals, developed in cooperation with its strategic partner the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to translate their circular economy model into practical packaging solutions.

DS Smith’s designers have created designs to eliminate even the smallest amounts of plastic in its packaging, such as replacing plastic sealing tape with self-locking cardboard flaps and swapping plastic labels with print direct onto cardboard. In the past year, its customers have asked for innovations to replace single-use, unrecyclable plastic items, including meal trays, plastic fruit and vegetable containers and plastic six pack rings.

“With our help, customers are responding to consumer demands to remove problem plastics from their products,” said Allison Berg, sustainability manager, DS Smith North America. “By using our proprietary circular design metrics system, we can easily show not just where plastic can be replaced, but how circular their packaging is right now and where we can make improvements together.

Over the next year, DS Smith will continue to drive adoption of fiber-based alternatives amongst customers in response to consumer demand for plastic alternatives. It has also committed to continue past engaging 2.8 million people in the circular economy, with a goal of promoting circular lifestyles to 5 million people by 2030.

At COP26, it launched a circular economy lesson plan, ‘Let’s Go Circular’ as a free resource for teachers to educate young people age 11-14 about the circular economy. DS Smith also provides information through online content, videos, news articles, blogs and case studies in its goal.

As part of DS Smith’s Now and Next sustainability targets, the company has an ambition to take one billion pieces of problem plastics off supermarket shelves by 2025, replacing them with sustainable, corrugated alternatives.

DS Smith’s plastic replacement work and wider sustainability progress can be found in its sustainability report.

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