The investment will help create a new breakthrough technologies hub in the UK

DS Smithpack

DS Smith to invest £100m to expand R&D activities and boost circular economy. (Credit: DS Smith)

Sustainable packaging company DS Smith is set to invest £100m to expand its research and development (R&D) activities and boost circular economy strategy.

DS Smith will use the investment in the next five years to create a new breakthrough technologies hub in the UK, as well as for the development of new materials to replace plastics and a pilot to gauge G-force shock in home delivery packaging.

The investment will support the firm’s new Circular Economy led Sustainability strategy, which aims to provide all customers 100% recyclable packaging within two years and replace a billion pieces of supermarket and e-commerce plastic by 2025.

As part of the R&D programme, the company will focus on the new materials development, including new fully recyclable and translucent packaging to replace plastic windows in sandwich and ready meals packs. It will also conduct research to develop alternative natural fibres.

The company will expand its barrier technologies, including the recent piloting of Touchguard packaging coating that combats the transmission of viruses.

DS Smith will conduct an in-depth analysis of different fibres in recycled paper and corrugated to enhance its strength, resilience and recyclable properties.

It will carry out real-world analysis of e-commerce home delivery supply chains, including measurement of G-force impacts on packages in transit, to minimise wastage and prevent damaged parcels.

The company will conduct new trials to strengthen the company’s natural paper fibres to enhance materials in box design and manufacturing.

The new technology is expected to facilitate the removal of excess fibre from the packaging and enhance the overall strength and resilience.

DS Smith will help customers access their 700 designers trained in Circular design with the support from Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The company will also create a new prototyping and testing facility, called Unit 17, for the development of breakthrough innovations.

The facility, which will accelerate next-generation technology, works in collaboration with the group’s 50 innovation centres and R&D partners.

DS Smith CEO Miles Roberts said: “DS Smith makes sustainable packaging that is fibre-based and fully recyclable.

“We continue to focus on reducing our impact of our operations on the environment but importantly, we are able to contribute to wider society by providing circular packaging solutions and supporting our customers in transitioning to a circular economy.”

Last month, DS Smith announced an investment of €16.7m to expand and modernise its site in Germany.