Packaging giant hopes that its new principles will cut waste, boost the amount of reyclable packaging materials on the market and address a widespread confusion among consumers over what types of packaging are recyclable.
Packaging specialist DS Smith has established a set of circular design principles that it hopes will guide the development of a consistent approach to sustainable design that will prompt consumers to recycle more and waste less.
The principles, designed with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, were announced yesterday as DS Smith published the results of a company-comissioned survey that revealed some 30 per cent of British consumers admitted to throwing recyclable material into general waste.
More than half of 2,000 respondents to the survey blamed unclear information on packaging for their slapdash approach to recycling, while 83 per cent of people said they were unsure what packaging could be recycled.
DS Smith hopes that its new circular design principles will help put an end to this confusion and thus prevent recyclable products from being sent to landfill, a phenomenon it claims costs the UK economy back some £95m each year.
Stefano Rossi, packaging chief executive at DS Smith, noted in a statement that that while there is an "undeniable desire" from the public to tackle climate change and reduce waste, a lack of clear recycling guidance and a paucity of recyclable packaging was thwarting recycling efforts.
"By introducing this set of principles, we can design for recyclability, design out waste and pollution, create packaging suited to a circular economy and make it easier to provide labelling to help consumers recycle more," Rossi said.
In the new framework, DS Smith has promised to use no more materials than necessary in its packaging; to optimise design for supply chain efficiency; to keep packaging materials in use for as long as possible through recycling; and to continually challenge the status quo in the drive to a circular economy and to always protect packaged goods.
The circular economy concept is being increasingly widely adopted as companies face a growing public backlash over wasteful practices, and in particular their reliance on single-use plastic.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been campaigning to encourage adoption of circular economy principles by some of the world's largest companies. In January, it launched a new tool called Circulytics that gives companies a free assessment of their progress towards more circular business models. The firm is aiming to get at least 500 of the world's Fortune 2000 companies to use the tool by 2022.
DS Smith has been working with the Foundation on various sustainability inititatives since May 2019.
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