DS Smith removes over 300 million pieces of problem plastic

A sustainable clip strip sachet holder for Bisto Gravy, designed by DS Smith for Premier Foods
A sustainable clip strip sachet holder for Bisto Gravy, designed by DS Smith for Premier Foods

DS Smith has designed out over 313 million pieces of problem plastics in the last two years as part of its plastic replacement programme.

The London-headquartered packaging giant said that the figure, which was recorded over a two-year period from May 2020 to April 2022, equated to more than three million units per week.

To meet consumer demand for fibre-based packaging as an alternative to hard-to-recycle plastics, DS Smith said its designers have worked with customers to create thousands of new innovations to replace plastic.

“Solutions have been created to remove everyday plastic items including ready-meal trays, plastic fruit and vegetable punnets and plastic six pack rings that pollute the planet,” the company stated.

“This all comes at a time when campaign groups are highlighting the amount of plastic that ends up as waste, making it more important than ever to remove them at the design phase.”

Samantha Upham, sustainability business partner for sales, marketing and innovation at DS Smith, said: “With our help, customers are accelerating their ambitions to remove problem plastics from their products.

“By using our Circular Design Metrics, 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.

“All 700 of our designers have been trained in our Circular Design Principles, which means we can design out problem plastics at inception stage and find alternative fibre-based solutions which deliver the required attributes.”

Over the next year, DS Smith will continue to drive adoption of fibre-based alternatives among its customers.

In a recent survey commissioned by DS Smith and conducted by OnePoll, 41% of the 2,000 UK adults asked said they wanted packaging made from alternative renewable sources, while in a separate survey – also of 2,000 UK adults, 52% said they would purchase products that contain less plastic to help improve recycling rates in the UK.

The company’s ambition, as part of its Now & Next sustainability targets, is to take one billion pieces of problem plastics off supermarket shelves and replace them with corrugated alternatives.