Organic investment drive continues

DS Smith boosts Kemsley efficiency with £48m investment

The new equipment will lower Kemsley mill’s freshwater use significantly
The new equipment will lower Kemsley mill’s freshwater use significantly

DS Smith has unveiled a £48m investment in a new fibre preparation line (F-line) at its Kemsley paper mill.

Forming part of the London-headquartered packaging giant’s organic investment program, the company said this multi-year investment would improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Kemsley is the largest mill for recycled papers in the UK, and the second largest in Europe. It produces 830,000 tonnes of paper every year, all made from 100% recycled fibre.

The new line will supply recycled fibre to PM3, a highly versatile paper machine that can produce white top test liner, plasterboard liner, and other corrugated case materials (CCM) grades.

A drum pulping and screening system that more efficiently separates contaminants from fibre such as plastics, barriers, and coatings will also be installed as part of this initiative.

DS Smith said the upgrades also support its refreshed Now & Next sustainability strategy by offering significant environmental benefits to the Kent mill's operations.

The system maximises the use of materials in the recycling process in addition to reducing water usage and energy consumption.

DS Smith added this reduction of emissions by more than 6,000 tonnes of CO2 a year reaffirms its goal of decreasing its Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions by 46% compared to 2019, by the year 2030.

Production waste will be significantly decreased by 39,000 tonnes annually which will also help the business reach its 2030 target of optimising every fibre for every supply chain and sending zero waste to landfill.

The new equipment will lower Kemsley mill’s freshwater use by more than 50,000m3 a year – the equivalent of 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Niels Flierman, head of paper and recycling at DS Smith, commented: “Kemsley paper mill is an important part of our business and of the UK’s recycling capacity, recycling up to one million tonnes of paper and card every year.

“The installation of the new fibre preparation line will ensure that we can continue to make high performing papers more efficiently while delivering on our medium and long-term sustainability goals.”

DS Smith aims to send zero waste to landfill by 2030 and, through implementation of the stock preparation system, the business will maximise the materials that arrive at Kemsley by improving the fibre-yield per tonne and therefore reducing waste to landfill.

Commissioning of the new stock preparation plant is due early in 2026.