Materials

DS Smith develops hygienic boxes for essential deliveries

Fibre-based packaging company DS Smith has developed hygienic boxes to provide essential provisions and vital medications to those practicing social distancing or self-isolating during the Covid-19 outbreak.

A DS Smith hygienic box

Following the announcement of lockdown measures by the government last week (23 March), DS Smith launched its new packaging solution on Friday (27 March), designed to comply with government regulations and provide a safer delivery system as more people turn to home deliveries of food and medicines.

The boxes, described by DS Smith as following a ‘stack, drop and go’ approach, are easily assembled, stackable and can be left safely on customers’ doorsteps, respecting the new government rules on social distancing and protecting the most vulnerable.

The new packaging, which can be recycled through regular household dry recycling routes, was designed and brought to market in less than a week in order to be available to support the supply chain as quickly as possible.

Commenting on the new boxes, Stefano Rossi, CEO of Packaging at DS Smith said: “We were approached by several of our food supply customers to design a new packaging solution that would maximise efficiency and provide everyday essentials to many of society’s most vulnerable.

“We worked very closely with our customers to design and produce a solution which allows for a ‘stack, drop and go’ approach that is more time efficient, more hygienic and frees up time for more deliveries. Our sustainably designed solution is also fully recyclable at home.

“I’m extremely proud of the whole team at DS Smith; their determination to support these initiatives meant that we delivered a new design in under 24 hours. This was subsequently prototyped, tested, manufactured and delivered in less than a week.”

Packaging uncertainty

The packaging recycling arena has been hit with uncertainty in recent weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, with demand for packaging increasing due to the rise in home deliveries but some materials harder to come by due to supply chain disruption.

Last week, the Recycling Association expressed its concern to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with Chief Executive Simon Ellin calling for assurances over the continuation of recycling collections to ensure the sufficient supply of material such as cardboard and glass for food and medical packaging.

This stance was echoed by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi) and the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC), with EPRC Chair Angelika Christ saying “it is more than ever important to keep the supply for our industry running, in order to secure packaging for essential products”. 

Recycling and waste collections have been threatened with disruption by the coronavirus outbreak, with UK waste management companies releasing a joint statement last week (25 March) calling for cooperation from households to follow government guidelines on waste and hygiene to reduce Covid-19 transmission and protect the health of collection operatives.

The statement also cautioned that, while disruption to recycling services would be a “last resort”, some non-essential collections may need to be suspended due to mass absences among waste operatives caused by the coronavirus.

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