DS Smith replaces one billion pieces of plastic ahead of schedule

Ahead of schedule and in partnership with some of the most iconic FMCG brands in the world, DS Smith has replaced more than one billion pieces of plastic, 16 months in advance of its 2025 target.

As of May 2024, DS Smith has replaced over 1.2 billion pieces of plastics across its international markets, surpassing the target 16 months ahead of schedule. The company’s target concerned any primary or secondary plastic packaging that has now been reduced or completely removed from customers’ packaging as a direct result of DS Smith’s solution.

The target extends across DS Smith’s operations in twenty-seven countries across Europe and North America, working towards the shared, circular, objective to design out waste and keep materials in use for longer. Certain markets stand out, having reduced or avoided the most amount of plastic through supply of fibre-based alternatives:

  • The UK leads the way, having replaced over 274 million pieces of plastic.
  • France follows, having replaced more than 260 million pieces.
  • Germany is in third place after replacing over 153 million pieces.

Everyday plastic items that have been replaced from supermarket shelves include fruit and vegetable punnets, plastic carriers, and shrink-wrap that is commonly found on soft drink bottles. Demand for plastic replacement continues to grow – throughout East Europe, the company has almost doubled the annual amount of plastic pieces replaced since the target was set in 2020.

Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive, said, “When we set our Now and Next sustainability strategy, we wanted to include goals that delivered environmental change beyond as well as within DS Smith. By innovating to help our customers replace or reduce plastics, we are responding to societal demands to reduce plastic pollution, as well as growing our partnerships with customers. I am proud of every single member of the DS Smith team for achieving this goal, and a year early. However, this is very much the beginning. There are many more positive impacts we can make by supporting our customers and communities in their sustainability goals and we are extremely motivated by this mission. But it is important to note that if our customers – the biggest FMCG brands – are to remove plastics at scale and at pace, they need the right regulatory framework around them. What we need are stronger, harmonised, global, regulations that level the playing field, to help businesses move away from plastic.”

Join our Newsletter

Sign up to our weekly newsletters for updates on articles, interviews and events

Sign up