DS Smith to modify Kemsley Paper Mill with £48 Million investment

FTSE100 reprocessor announces upgrade to pulping and screening equipment that will improve separation of plastic contamination.

In a significant move towards improving efficiency and sustainability, DS Smith has announced a £48 million investment into upgrading the fibre preparation line at the Kemsley paper mill. This investment is a part of the company's organic investment program, aimed at enhancing the mill's production capabilities while simultaneously reducing costs.

DS Smith's cardboard reprocessing mill at Kemsley in KentDS Smith's cardboard reprocessing mill at Kemsley in KentThe Kemsley mill, recognised as the largest mill for recycled papers in the UK and the second largest in Europe, is set to undergo this substantial upgrade to its fibre preparation line. The initiative is designed to supply recycled fibre to PM3, DS Smith’s paper machine at the mill capable of producing a variety of corrugated case materials.

Included in the upgrade is the installation of an advanced drum pulping and screening system. This system aims to efficiently separate contaminants such as plastics, barriers, and coatings from fibre, thereby enhancing the recycling process. The upgrade aligns with DS Smith's renewed Now & Next sustainability strategy by significantly reducing the mill's environmental footprint. It is expected to reduce emissions by more than 6000 tonnes of CO2 annually, contributing towards the company's goal of decreasing their Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions by 46 per cent compared to 2019, by the year 2030.

Furthermore, the upgrade will lead to a substantial reduction in production waste by 39,000 tonnes annually, aiding DS Smith's 2030 target of sending zero waste to landfill. The initiative will also cut the mill's freshwater use by more than 50,000m3 a year, equivalent to 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Commenting on the importance of the Kemsley mill in the company's operations and the UK's recycling capacit, Niels Flierman, Head of Paper & Recycling at DS Smith, said: "The installation of the new fibre preparation line will ensure that we can continue to make high performing papers more efficiently while delivering on our medium and long-term sustainability goals."

The announcement follows DS Smith's previous initiative with E.ON to launch a combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Kemsley in 2022, which is already contributing to sustainability by saving 36,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The commissioning of the new Stock Preparation plant is scheduled for early 2026, marking another step forward in DS Smith's commitment to sustainability and efficiency.

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