DS Smith has opened a new Fibre and Paper Development Laboratory at its Kemsley Paper Mill in Kent, UK.
The company has invested £750,000 on the state-of-the-art laboratory to work with customers in optimising the circularity of their packaging. The lab will be used for researching technologies that enhance the performance and sustainability qualities of fibre-based packaging, including coatings and barrier technology, wet-end chemistries, surface chemistries, repulpability and recyclability.
The new lab also advances DS Smith’s research in alternative fibres as sustainable raw material for paper and packaging products. Last year, the company confirmed it is exploring the use of seaweed as an alternative fibre source to wood, as well as a barrier coating to replace petroleum-based coatings.
The Fibre and Paper Development Laboratory is the latest development in DS Smith’s £100m R&D programme, announced in May 2021, to accelerate its work in the Circular Economy.
Nick Thompson, Materials Development Director, DS Smith, said, “Creating products that can easily support the reduction, reuse and recycling of raw materials is a core component of how we will support our customers transition to the Circular Economy. At DS Smith, we are constantly developing innovative new thinking to help our customers with this challenge and the new Fibre and Paper Development Laboratory allows us to optimise the performance and circularity of our customers’ packaging. Investing in research and development projects like this is a crucial way in which we will lead the way and redefine packaging for a changing world.”
Alan Potts, Design & Innovation Director, DS Smith, added, “The new laboratory at Kemsley Mill will play an important part in our innovation strategy. By exploring new technologies and raw materials, we can expand our offering of innovative circular ready packaging solutions that have less impact on the environment, and support our customers’ transition to a circular economy.”
With sustainable packaging rising up the agenda for Governments, and legislative changes including the UK Plastics Packaging Tax having come into force on 1st April, DS Smith is using its innovative approach to help customers design circularity into their packaging. Through innovations such as its Circular Design Metrics, an industry leading framework, customers can rate the circularity of their packaging and help reduce their impact on the environment.