OCC cardboard bale
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DS Smith opens first recycling facility in US

The company’s new recycling facility in Reading, Pennsylvania, started operations at the beginning of March.

DS Smith, a packaging manufacturer headquartered in London, officially has opened its first recycling facility in the U.S. in Reading, Pennsylvania.

According to a news release from DS Smith, the Reading facility is unique in the region as it is alongside the company’s paper mill and within 1 mile from its packaging plant. “This new plant can recycle over 36,000 tons of old corrugated cardboard (OCC) each year, creating new fully recyclable packaging for our customers in this region,” says Toby Earnest, head of recycling for DS Smith in North America. “Our goal is to achieve zero cardboard and paper going to landfill after packaging is used.

“We have quite a bit of work to do in the U.S. before this can become a reality, but the opening of our recycling facility is an important first step in developing an infrastructure that can support a circular system in the U.S.,” he adds.

The new 43,000-square-foot plant plans to use processes that have allowed DS Smith to manage more than 5.5 million tons of material for recycling annually, the company reports. The process allows for corrugated packaging to be made, used, collected and recycled into new corrugated boxes again within just 14 days. 

In addition to material from DS Smith’s Reading corrugated packing plant, the local team plans to receive recovered fiber from local distribution centers, packaging facilities, retailers and print shops. The recycling 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, DS Smith says.

“We are very excited about the growth opportunity in the United States and increasing our investment in the Reading community,” says Mark Ushpol, managing director of packaging for DS Smith in North America. “Our customers are demanding new packaging solutions that are 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 what the company says is a state-of-the-art, automated corrugated packaging plant in Lebanon, Indiana. The area also provides access to highways and ports, connecting it to domestic and European distribution channels.