Cardboard box recycling
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DS Smith starts up box plant in Indiana

The new plant in Lebanon, Indiana, plans to focus on producing lightweight recyclable packaging.

January 24, 2020

DS Smith, London, has opened a new box manufacturing plant in Lebanon, Indiana. According to a news release from DS Smith, the new box manufacturing plant “is able to produce more than 17 million square feet of lightweight recyclable packaging—enough to overlay the entire Indianapolis Motor Speedway.” 

The new corrugated plant uses the company’s latest technology, keeping pace with increasing demands by consumers and retailers for fully recyclable boxes and “fit-to-product” packaging that reduces costs, waste and “packaging air” of irregularly shaped items, DS Smith reports. The facility can produce about 30,000 boxes an hour and 2 billion square feet of recyclable packaging per year.

“Our new facility in Indiana is unique to the U.S. market,” says Miles Roberts, group chief executive of DS Smith. “With our innovative packaging design and focus on sustainable materials, we can support our customers’ needs in a changing world, no matter how sophisticated their requirements. We look forward to serving many of the global brands we work with in Europe, as well as a range of new customers, with their U.S.-based packaging.”

Roberts plans to tour the new plant Jan. 24, marking its formal opening as it steps up full operations, DS Smith reports.

Made with the lightest possible materials, a widespread practice by DS Smith in Europe, DS Smith reports that the Indiana-produced boxes will use 30 percent to 40 percent less fiber than traditionally used in the U.S. According to DS Smith, the lightweight material is a key differentiator of the products DS Smith will manufacture at the new facility. These next-generation boxes will enable brands to meet growing consumer calls for more sustainable packaging and a reduction of shipping costs across the U.S.

The 550,000-square-foot packaging facility was designed to model three cutting-edge DS Smith locations in Europe that are highly automated, customer-centric plants that can accept and process high-volume orders with short lead times, many with same-day turnaround.

“Our new box plant stands apart from the rest in the industry and is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and machinery that relies on fully automated operations,” says Mark Ushpol, managing director of packaging for DS Smith in North America. “Our talent and teams are free to focus on working directly with customers designing custom packaging that reduces system waste, drives sustainability and provides immediate value to the supply chain.”

In addition, the new plant will feature an underground scrap conveyor system designed to reduce dust and noise levels at the plant. DS Smith says the plant has created about 170 new jobs in Lebanon in engineering, machinery, production, sales and management positions.

The location will serve customers and brands with distribution centers in markets such as Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati; St. Louis; and Nashville, Tennessee.