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DS Smith: paper recycling being maintained

One of the largest paper recycling and packaging companies says its operations are not being disrupted significantly by the coronavirus pandemic – and has recently seen higher volumes of scrap from the retail grocery.

DS Smith, which operates the UK’s biggest mill for recycled papers at Kemsley in Kent, says it has ‘robust plans in place to deal with an escalation of this issue’.

Jochen Behr, head of recycling, says the retail sector is providing strong supplies. ‘In particular, we are seeing a spike in material delivered from the grocery retail sector, driven by increased consumer demand during this crisis,’ he says. ‘Going forward, we are planning for a decline in material coming directly from certain manufacturing sectors, but we expect this to be offset by the retailers.’

In March, Simon Ellin, the Recycling Association’s chief executive, raised concerns over a lack of fibre to make cardboard boxes as councils across the UK reduce or suspend their recycling efforts due to Covid-19. Demand for cardboard has increased as it is a key product in the supply chain for food and pharmaceuticals.

Behr adds: ‘We are working closely with local authorities and encouraging them to maintain collections to support the supply of essential raw materials which underpins the critical work of the paper and packaging industry in keeping essential goods moving. We are not, at this stage, being impacted by a decline in collections but we are monitoring the situation closely with both customers and industry bodies.’

DS Smith, which manages over 5.5 million tonnes of paper for recycling every year, says it can draw on its Europe-wide infrastructure to ensure there is no cardboard shortage.

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