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DS Smith engages schoolchildren in recycling with pilot scheme

Sustainable packaging company DS Smith has launched a new recycling pilot scheme to encourage school pupils to look after the planet.

The DS Smith Young Recyclers scheme is partnering with five primary schools across Kent to help children aged three to 11 understand the importance of recycling and the circular economy through fun and engaging educational materials.

Pupils can get involved in the recycling process by bringing cardboard from home into dedicated collection boxes at their school where it will be collected weekly to be turned into new packaging papers at DS Smith’s Kemsley paper mill, the largest recovered paper mill in the UK. Through an educational visit to the mill, the children also get to experience the science of the recycling process first hand.

The schools initially taking part in the scheme are Lower Halstow Primary School, Sunnybank Primary School, Teynham Parochial Church of England Primary School, Thames View Primary School, and Thistle Hill Academy.

Stephanie Dalton, innovation manager at DS Smith, said: ‘We want to lead the way towards a more circular economy through engaging and educating our people, our industry and the next generation. We are delighted that the children are involved in this project, and we are really looking forward to showing them how little steps can make a big difference.’

As consumer shopping habits have shifted towards e-commerce, it is more important than ever to make sure cardboard in our homes finds its way back into recycling streams. The Young Recyclers scheme follows a project with Cardiff Metropolitan University, where the next generation of product designers were challenged to rethink how packaging is better collected from our homes as the trend towards more online shopping is set to continue. Toby Edmunds, whose team created the Young Recyclers concept, has since joined DS Smith to turn the idea into reality.

Toby Edmunds, DS Smith Young Recyclers’ coordinator, said: ‘Across Europe, e-commerce is growing year on year and the Covid-19 pandemic has only heightened this trend, creating a demand for more and more fibre based packaging. Finding practical, sustainable solutions to keep pace requires leadership, new partnerships, and new thinking. It is exciting to see the schools’ involvement and the children’s joy at contributing to this scheme, and we hope that, if successful, the scheme will be rolled out nationally to make an even bigger difference.’

The Young Recyclers scheme is a part of DS Smith’s commitment to engage five million people in the circular economy and circular lifestyles by 2030.


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