Paper and cardboard packaging producer DS Smith is looking to see if seaweed can be used as an alternative fibre source to wood.
It has undertaken initial testing on replacing wood with seaweed in its paper products, but is also investigating whether the plant could be used as a barrier to replace petroleum-based packaging with paper cartons, wraps and trays.
DS Smith paper and board development director Thomas Ferge said: “As a leader in sustainability, our research into alternative raw material and fibre sources has the potential to be a real game changer for our customers and consumers who increasingly want products that are easy to recycle and have a minimal impact on the environment.
“Seaweed is one of the many alternative materials we’re closely looking at, and while most people probably associate it with the beach or as an ingredient in sushi, it could have some exciting applications for us to help create the next generation of sustainable paper and packaging solutions.”
DS Smith is also looking at other natural fibres as part of its £100 million circular economy R&D programme, including straw, hemp, miscanthus, cotton, daisy-flowered cup plant, cocoa shells and bagasse.