9 Dec 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 The London listed company reported 170 million pieces of problem plastic had been replaced by its paper-based solutions for supermarkets and online retailers around the world since the launch of its Now and Next Sustainability strategy last year.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 hour1 – boosting their customers’ packaging recyclability and reducing the impact on the environment.

Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive at DS Smith, said: “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.”

With British businesses facing a new plastic packaging tax which is set to raise almost £1 billion in revenue by 2025, 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.

Research2 commissioned by DS Smith showed that 1.5 million tonnes of single use plastic, or 70 billion 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.

UK case study
• DS Smith replaced the plastic tag collars for WD-40 on their point of sale displays with a 100% recyclable one-piece dispenser pack to house their spray cans. More info here
• DS Smith worked with ASDA to replace 1 million pieces of unnecessary plastic from its point of sale displays. More info here
• DS Smith removed plastic from Laithwaites portfolio by creating cardboard packaging that offers protection from the jolts and impacts of the courier delivery network. More info here

Further case studies of other markets and images of DS Smith packaging design solutions are available on request.

1 Based on 12,410 hours (May 20 -Oct 21)
2 DS Smith Report, 'Transforming the Supermarket Aisle’ (2019)

DS Smith announced in September 2021 it had embedded its Circular Design Metrics across all its packaging sites which enable it to measure the sustainability performance of each of its packaging designs across a range of indicators including carbon footprint, design for reuse and material utilisation.