DS Smith: The role of recycling in reducing carbon for businesses

Recycling and environmental protection go hand in hand. In addition to the positive impact recycling has on reducing waste and pollution, it can also be one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

When you begin to consider reducing your carbon footprint, you may first consider your own operations becoming more sustainable, when it is often more likely to create greater impact by reducing carbon from your supply chains.

Climate change is one of the greatest forces currently reshaping our planet; that’s why our goal is to “redefine packaging for a changing world”. In fact, in a recent website survey, reducing emissions was the largest single action that people wanted to see since COP 26.

Slowing climate change means decarbonizing the global economy and at DS Smith we are committed to achieving Net zero emissions by 2050with a 46% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, based on 2019 levels. We also recently announced our ambitious commitment to align our global operations with a Temperature alignment at 1.5°c scenario defined in the Paris climate agreement. As Europe’s largest cardboard and paper recycler, our Recycling and waste management solutions already play a role in helping us achieve our goals.

By reducing our own carbon emissions, we also reduce those of our partners, customers and suppliers, so that we can all play a part in making a difference together.

Here are some of the ways our recycling solutions can help reduce carbon.

Reduce carbon by closing the loop

According to a recent life cycle analysis it consumes 70% less energy to recycle paper and cardboard than to make it new from raw materials. Wherever energy is saved, so is carbon.

At DS Smith, we keep more than 6 million tonnes of paper and board in the supply cycle every year, avoiding incineration and landfill. The materials collected by our Recycling Division are recycled and transformed into new cardboard packaging within 14 dayscreating a true closed-loop solution for our customers.

By working with us to divert your recycling from incineration or landfill, businesses can not only benefit from lower carbon usage, but also ensure resources are used for longer.

See our closed-loop recycling solutions in action here.

Reduce carbon by protecting natural resources

According to calculations by One Tree Planted, 1 hectare of trees is capable of absorbing carbon dioxide at the rate of approximately 4.5 tons per year during the first 20 years of tree growth..

We are committed to protecting forests and helping our customers achieve their zero deforestation goals. Not only do we use 100% recycled or chain-of-custody paper in our products, but we can also recycle paper up to twenty-five times.

Additionally, we are partnering with One Tree Planted to plant over 50,000 new trees in Europe and North America over the next five years as part of our commitment to protect biodiversity and support the natural environment. This partnership is a new addition to our company’s existing forestry and tree planting business.

We are committed to preserving biodiversity, which is why last year we pledged to fund 100 biodiversity projects as part of our Now and Next sustainability strategy. Recent examples of protecting natural areas around places where we operate include planting trees and flowers in local kindergartens in Kruševac, Serbia, Belgrade, improving the local ecosystem around of the Aschaffenburg paper mill and the transformation of the De Vitaminebron school garden in Oostzaan. , Netherlands to provide a unique and sustainable learning experience.

Reduce emissions by sending less waste to landfill

CO2 is just one of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. Methane is another greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It is produced when organic materials, including paper, decompose under the anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions found in landfills.

Landfills are currently the second biggest artificial methane contributor after cattle ranching. A UN report published in May 2021 found that immediate reductions in methane emissions are the planet’s best and fastest chance to slow climate change. And because we’re so focused on recycling, less waste goes to landfill, which ultimately means less methane is generated.

Reducing carbon by tackling single-use plastics

Estimates indicate that single-use plastics could be responsible for 5-10% of all annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Our new interdivision Recyclability Forum, chaired by our Recycling division leads the work of our Sustainability, Innovation, Design, Research & Development and Technical Operations teams to ensure we are aligned on our approach to recyclability both within DS Smith and when collaboration with our customers and industry associations. Through this approach, we are able to develop new packaging concepts and technical advancements that will help us close the loop on problematic plastic and eliminate over a billion plastic items from the supply chain. supply by 2025. By tackling our own industry’s biggest recyclability challenges, such as hard-to-recycle packaging, changing legislation and industry guidelines, we can also continue to support the goals sustainable business development. By eliminating a large volume of single-use plastic, we can also pass the carbon savings on to our customers.

Reduce carbon to increase business efficiency

Inevitably, recycling itself creates carbon emissions – from the fuel used by collection vehicles to the energy needed to turn recycled fibers into paper. We have made significant investment to improve our processes and infrastructure to ensure that we offer greener recycling solutions and produce net carbon emissions savings. This is particularly evident in our paper mills where we have significantly invested in the latest technology to improve the efficiency of papermaking.

We have a proven track record of helping customers separate their recycling, limit contamination and increase recycling rates, which in turn can support significant improvements in revenue streams and business efficiency.

You can also learn more about our investment in more efficient energy and renewable energy.

Cut the carbon with us

Living in a world where we only adopt a “take-make-waste” mindset is no longer sustainable. For decades, we’ve been helping organizations of all sizes across Europe meet their recycling and waste management challenges, and as we move towards a circular economy, we’re now also helping them meet their challenges by matter of sustainability.

The responsibility to decarbonize our world to mitigate climate change lies with everyone. No person, government or company can achieve this alone.

– Jonathan Edmunds, Head of Recyclability and Sustainability

Jonathan continued, “That’s why we place such importance on partnering and working with our suppliers, customers and the communities in which we operate to reduce carbon emissions wherever possible. That’s why we’re cleaning up our communities, educating young people about the circular economy, and working with partners on hard-to-recycle packaging solutions. Through waste reduction, closed-loop recycling and the adoption of innovative carbon-reducing technologies, we can help reduce the carbon impact of our own operations, as well as that of our suppliers and customers.”

Whatever the size of your business, find out how we work with you to increase recycling rates, reduce carbon emissions and lessen the impact of your operations on the environment and society.