Packaging manufacturer DS Smith will invest £100 million in circular economy R&D over the next five years.
As part of this R&D, it will accelerate investment in new materials development including fully recyclable, translucent packaging to replace plastic windows in sandwich and ready meal packs. It will also research alternative fibres as part of this.
The company will also expand its barrier technologies, such as its recent piloting of Touchguard, which is a coating able to resist the transmission of viruses.
It will also do in-depth analysis of different fibres in recycled paper and corrugated to optimise its strength, resilience and recyclable properties.
Additionally, DS Smith will undertake new trials on strengthening natural paper fibres to optimise materials in box design and manufacturing so that excess fibre can be removed from the packaging while also improving overall strength.
It will also analyse e-commerce home delivery supply chains to measure G-force impacts on packages in transit, to reduce wastage and prevent damaged parcels.
The company also plans to recruit 700 DS Smith designers trained in Circular design, so all of its customers have access to circular packaging and services. Designers will be trained in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Its new Unit 17 prototyping and testing facility in the UK will be created as part of the investment.
DS Smith chief executive Miles Roberts said: “How we live our lives is changing fast due to many factors and how we all take care of the environment is a top priority.
“We are now investing more than previous years to ensure we are leading this change and can offer customers packaging that has less impact on the environment.
“DS Smith makes sustainable packaging that is fibre-based and fully recyclable. We continue to focus on reducing our impact of our operations on the environment but importantly, we are able to contribute to wider society by providing circular packaging solutions and supporting our customers in transitioning to a circular economy.”