Alongside its packaging business, DS Smith also processes 5.1 million tonnes of waste annually through its recycling division

DS Smith recycling depot

DS Smith currently operate nine recycling depots across the UK (Credit: DS Smith)

Packaging manufacturer DS Smith has become the first in its industry to recycle more waste than it produces.

The news follows commitments to create a circular business model and to operate sustainably within the principles of the circular economy.

It says more than 5.1 million tonnes of recyclable material has been collected, sorted, reprocessed or transported by its recycling division.

ds smith recycle
Prime Minister Boris Johnson visiting DS Smith’s recycling depot in March 2019 (Credit: DS Smith)

DS Smith CEO Miles Roberts said: “Our industry-leading position as a net positive recycler is a particular area of pride and we recognise that our materials need to be both recyclable in theory and recycled in practice.

“Our sustainability targets demonstrate our commitment to driving circularity in our core business processes and we are working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to explore further impact projects.”


DS Smith on target to hit sustainability goals 

DS Smith also unveiled its 2019 sustainability report titled Redefining Packaging for Changing World, outlining its progress against the firm’s long-term sustainability goals.

These goals include using 100% recycled or chain of custody certified paper — outlined by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification — by 2020.

It also wants to ensure 100% of its suppliers comply with sustainability standards by 2025, and sending zero waste to landfill by 2030.

Goals the firm has hit include sending less than 1% of waste to landfill from DS Smith’s packaging division, and reducing 6.1% like-for-like carbon per tonne of production.

It has also been working in partnership with circular economy charity the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in recognition of the need to have a coordinated response to a plastic replacement.

ds smith recycle
Yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur founded her eponymous foundation in 2009, after circumnavigating of the globe (Credit Twitter, @ellenmacarthur)

Founder of the charity Dame Ellen MacArthur said: “We were delighted to welcome DS Smith as a Global Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“Building on the company’s strong history of innovation across its supply chain, our partnership will focus on identifying opportunities to redesign materials, business models, and problematic waste streams to create solutions that are aligned with the principles of the circular economy.”

DS Smith is a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy, committing to manufacturing 100% reusable or recyclable plastic packaging by 2025.

The firm has recently launched a scheme that will see the recycling of single-use coffee cups.

Working in partnership with Royal Mail, the Coffee Cup Drop Boxes scheme is designed to be set-up in businesses across the UK, allowing employees to recycle single-use cups when they get into work.

The scheme recently received a grant from The Cup Fund, an initiative run by environmental charity Hubbub and coffee company Starbucks.