DS Smith, a sustainable packaging leader, announced the opening of its first recycling facility in the United States, the company’s latest expansion of its business operations in North America.
The Reading, Pa., facility is unique in the region as it is alongside the company’s paper mill and within a mile from its packaging plant, creating a closed loop manufacturing model that enhances its customers’ sustainable packaging credentials.
“This new plant can recycle over 36,000 tons of old corrugated cardboard each year, creating new fully recyclable packaging for our customers in this region,” said Toby Earnest, head of recycling for DS Smith in North America, in a statement. “Our goal is to achieve zero cardboard and paper going to landfill after packaging is used.”
“We have quite a bit of work to do in the U.S. before this can become a reality, but the opening of our recycling facility is an important first step in developing an infrastructure that can support a circular system in the U.S,” added Earnest.
The new 43,000-square-foot plant utilizes the innovation and processes that have enabled DS Smith to globally manage more than 5.5 million tons of material for recycling annually and become a leader in its industry. In addition to material from DS Smith’s Reading corrugated packaging plant, the local team will work with others in the region to recover paper for recycling from local distribution centers, packaging facilities, retailers and print shops.
The recycling plant segregates other materials, such as plastic, glass and metal, compressing the remaining recyclable cardboard and paper into large bundled bales, as heavy as a ton each. The facility can then service the paper mill and sell recycled packaging products to its partners and others.
The process allows for corrugated packaging to be made, used, collected and recycled into corrugated boxes again within just 14 days. It also can reduce the amount of fiber in its boxes by up to 30 percent.
“We are very excited about the growth opportunity in the United States and increasing our investment in the Reading community,” said Mark Ushpol, managing director of packaging for DS Smith in North America, in a statement. “Our customers are demanding new packaging solutions that are fully recyclable and recycled in practice, driving a more circular business model.”
The Reading recycling plant is the latest development in DS Smith’s growth program in North America. The opening follows the January launch of a state-of-the-art, automated corrugated packaging plant in Lebanon, Ind. The area also provides access to highways and ports, connecting it to domestic and European distribution channels.
On a global level, DS Smith is a net positive recycler, which means it collects and recycles more packaging than it produces. This ethos is core to the company’s circular business model and supports DS Smith’s drive to eliminate waste and maximize the value from resources.
The company, whose manufacturing network has more than 250 European facilities, said it was the first packaging manufacturer to achieve a net positive recycling position. Its sustainability work is supported by a global partnership with one of the world’s leading organizations on the circular economy, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.