The Reading 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 making it a circular economy trifecta.
“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. “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,” said Earnest.
The new 43,000 sq-ft 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 then can 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 can also reduce the amount of fiber in its boxes by up to 30%.
“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. “Our customers are demanding new packaging solutions that are fully recyclable and recycled in practice, driving a more circular business model.”