The Reading facility will work alongside its paper mill and packaging plant, creating a closed loop manufacturing model.
“This plant can recycle over 36,000 tons of old corrugated cardboard each year, creating fully recyclable packaging for our customers in this region,” said Toby Earnest, head of recycling, DS Smith in North America.
“Our goal is to achieve zero cardboard and paper going to landfill after packaging is used.”
He added the company has a lot of work to do in the US before its zero cardboard goal becomes a reality, but by opening this facility it’s a ‘first step in developing an infrastructure that can support a circular system in the US’.
In addition to material from DS Smith’s Reading corrugated packaging plant, the local team will work with others in the region to recover paper for recycling from local distribution centers, packaging facilities, retailers and print shops.
The 43,000-square-foot plant segregates other materials, such as plastic, glass and metal, compressing the remaining recyclable cardboard and paper into large bundled bales, as heavy as a ton each.
The facility then can service the paper mill and sell recycled packaging products to its partners and others.
The process allows for corrugated packaging to be made, used, collected and recycled into corrugated boxes within 14 days. It can also reduce the amount of fiber in its boxes by up to 30%.
“We are very excited about the growth opportunity in the US and increasing our investment in the Reading community,” said Mark Ushpol, MD, packaging, DS Smith North America.
“Our customers are demanding packaging that is fully recyclable and recycled in practice, driving a more circular business model.”
The Reading recycling plant is the latest development in DS Smith’s growth program in North America. The opening follows the January launch of an automated corrugated packaging plant in Lebanon, Indiana.