DS Smith survey: Pandemic Triggers Embrace of Recycling, Sustainable Packaging but There’s More Work to be Done

A pandemic-induced surge in e-commerce has left shoppers with more boxes than ever before, triggering a rush by consumers to embrace recycling and raising the demand for sustainable packaging. But while there’s more interest in sustainability – especially among millennials – many buyers say they’re frustrated by the amount of unrecyclable material showing up and the lack of easy access to local recycling sites.

Those are among the major findings of a national survey by DS Smith, a leading paper and packaging company that focuses on creating innovative and sustainable packaging solutions.

A previous DS Smith survey shows 44 percent of respondents report getting more deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest results validate DS Smith’s work in producing more sustainable products for its business customers. An overwhelming 83 percent of consumers surveyed say the packages they receive aren’t fully recyclable because they contain other materials like plastic or Styrofoam. Only 17 percent report getting all-recyclable packages.

DS Smith is reportedly working to combat the deluge of unrecyclable packaging plaguing consumers by using its Circular Design Principles, developed and launched last year alongside the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to eliminate waste from its packaging in the early design stages.

These results also come after DS Smith’s recent announcement that it has embedded its pioneering Circular Design Metrics across all its packaging sites. In an industry first, DS Smith can now measure and quantify the sustainability performance of each of its packaging designs across eight key indicators: carbon footprint, design for reuse, supply chain optimization, recyclability, planet safety, material utilization, renewable source and recycled content.

In an important, pro-environment signal, nearly half (48 percent) of respondents would describe the recycling in their local community as highly accessible, with recycling being picked up from their house.

But there’s still work to be done, with 35 percent reporting they must take their recycling to a specified location. And 17 percent say they don’t have any access to recycling in their community.

To combat consumer concerns over recycling, DS Smith continues to create packaging with sustainability in mind, designing out waste and advocating for the reuse of materials to support the circular economy.

The Circular Economy is at the heart of DS Smith’s Now and Next strategy, focusing on closing the loop through better design, protecting natural resources by making the most of every fiber through circular solutions and equipping people to lead the transition to a circular economy.

By 2023, DS Smith will manufacture 100 percent reusable or recyclable packaging and its aim is that by 2030, all its packaging will be recycled or reused.

For more information, visit https://www.dssmith.com.

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