DS Smith Launches “Circular Design Principles” to Eliminate Waste and Promote Packaging Sustainability


ATLANTA – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – As pandemic-induced online shopping spurred demand for boxes, DS Smith, a leader in sustainable packaging, today launched its circular design principles, citing company research that shows that better packaging design could save industry $ 46 billion annually in logistics costs globally.

New research reveals that consumers carefully examine a company’s sustainability practices before purchasing, especially when it comes to wasted space. Almost all consumers (93%) reported receiving packages with wasted space, and almost three-quarters (73%) received packages twice as large or as needed. All this wasted space left a bad taste in consumers’ minds and wallets as 54% said they would think twice before ordering again from a company that had too much space in their packaging. .

DS Smith developed the design principles in collaboration with the nonprofit Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a global organization that promotes a circular economy to reduce consumption, waste and pollution by keeping products in use. The new program helps guide businesses in designing reuse and recyclability in packaging. DS Smith recently marked its first successful year of working with the Foundation and in its second year will work on a range of activities to advance its ambitious circular economy agenda, including innovation and design projects. circular, training and development of its teams and involvement in its communities.

According to a survey of executives by Forbes Insights and DS Smith, eliminating empty space in packaging can produce great benefits for companies that ship goods, from realizing significant savings to gaining an advantage over competitors , while reducing its environmental impact.

About 60% of those surveyed believe that more than a quarter of their e-commerce packaging is empty spaces, from warped delivery boxes to partially filled international shipping containers. DS Smith said that, based on its proprietary research, reducing these unnecessary logistics costs would result in potential savings of $ 46 billion per year for the global industry.

“Sustainability is at the heart of every business decision we make, and the issue of wasted space has been an issue for many years and one of the main reasons we have developed our circular design principles, ”said Mark Ushpol, general manager of packaging at DS Smith.

“We see design as one of the essential elements of the circular economy and look at packaging through the prism of the imagination not only of the impact of design on the end user, but also the impact that the design has on all stakeholders, from the creation of the product to its final destination, ”said Ushpol.

He said that DS Smith’s circular design principles provide broad support to its customers and other members of the packaging industry as they transition to a circular economy anchored in smart packaging and logistics initiatives. The five principles are:

  1. Protect brands and products – Designers must ensure that the packaging protects the products and all resources invested in them. Products damaged by poor packaging have an economic and environmental impact.
  2. Do not use more materials than necessary Optimizing the use of packaging materials saves resources and reduces waste.
  3. Design for supply cycle efficiency – Develop an end-to-end approach that takes into account every step of the process, including storage and warehouse optimization, customer factories, packaging lines and the arrangement of products in boxes for stacking in delivery vehicles.
  4. Save packaging materials while in use – Quality, durability and recyclability are essential to keep products and packaging materials as long as possible. This means maximizing the use of fiber and recognizing value beyond primary function.
  5. Find a better way – Challenge ourselves and our customers to develop circular packaging solutions.

“Everything is designed, from the clothes we wear to the food we eat and the buildings we live in, ”said Joe Iles, circular design program manager at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “Considering the principles of the circular economy at the design stage can have a huge influence on how these objects are produced, used and what happens to them after use. Strategic partners like DS Smith have the ability to accelerate change by mobilizing its large internal design community and influencing its customers, many of whom are global brands. And what’s more, the company will also inspire many other companies and designers around the world. ”

Consumers do their part with the end use of packaging, 80% recycle or reuse the boxes in which they receive their purchases.

E-commerce, which peaked amid the coronavirus pandemic, is a major contributor to the gap design problem. DS Smith’s research found that on average, empty space ranged from 18% for clothes and shoes to 64% for glassware.

In another example, DS Smith’s research determined that shipping containers from Asia are 24% empty, and reducing that empty space could prevent 122 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere each year. year.

Ushpol said that DS Smith – which recently expanded its operations and now has 16 manufacturing, paper and recycling plants across North America – has worked closely with its customers to deliver optimized packaging solutions, using circular design principles.

“Almost two-thirds of consumers say they consider the company’s sustainability efforts before making a purchase. By using our new design principles, companies can help drive the circular economy while achieving substantial financial savings, improved sustainability and a better customer experience for all, ”he said.

About DS Smith:

Ds smith is one of the world’s leading suppliers of corrugated packaging, supported by recycling and papermaking operations. A member of the FTSE 100, DS Smith is focused on creating innovative and sustainable packaging solutions, using a closed-loop recycling model – in which paper and corrugated cardboard are collected, recycled and then reused to make packaging materials. ‘packaging. North American operations are headquartered in Atlanta, with 16 manufacturing, paper and recycling plants, totaling more than 2,000 employees. Using the combined expertise of its divisions – including packaging, recycling and paper – DS Smith works with its customers to develop solutions that reduce complexity and deliver results throughout the supply chain.


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