DS Smith investigating straw, hemp, cocoa shells, daisies and seaweed as paper and plastic packaging alternative materials


As part of its £100 million circular economy R&D programme, DS Smith is trialling use of materials such as straw, hemp, cocoa shells, daisies and seaweed as replacement raw materials for packaging.

These are intended as potential substitutes for the current fibre and plastics uses for packaging.


Annual plants such as daisies and agricultural wastes are being researched for their fibre properties and potential paper performance. Additionally straw, hemp and miscanthus might be a fibre replacement that use less energy and water than some traditional paper-making materials.

Seaweed is also being looked at as a raw material to design out plastic from carton, paper wrap and cardboard tray packaging.

Its innovation team is also experimenting with cocoa shells for carton board in chocolate packaging.

DS Smith paper and board development director Thomas Ferge said: “With the strain on the planet more evident than ever, our research has the potential to lessen pressure on forests and protect the planet’s natural resources.

“As well as looking at how we optimise the standard recycled paper fibres that we already use, we’re very excited by the prospect of how other resources such as miscanthus, hemp, agricultural wastes and seaweed could be used in the next generation of packaging solutions.

“This is all part of our goal to make the most of every single fibre we use by 2030.”