According to London-based DS Smith, citing data from the organizations Beyond Plastics and the Last Beach Cleanup, less than 6% of US plastic waste is recycled each year. Of the total volume of all plastics produced worldwide since the 1950s, only 9% of it has been recycled.

Many packaging manufacturers and suppliers are working to make their products easier to be sorted and processed.

In March, DS Smith launched an innovative solution to replacing plastic bags in grocery stores.

“According to data from the US International Trade Commission, Americans use 102 billion plastic bags a year, and plastic shopping bags are only used for an average of 12 minutes by consumers, with very few of them ever being recycled,” DS Smith said. “The new product comes at a time when many are closely examining the impact single-use plastic has on the environment. To date, 18 US states have enacted legislation to ban plastic bags, and major retailers have joined the Beyond the Bag initiative, a group seeking to identify, test and implement viable design solutions and models that more sustainably serve the purpose of the current retail bag.”

The company’s new Carriers are stackable, reusable, sustainable fiber-based boxes. The line features the company’s patented, food-safe, and water-resistant Greencoat coating technology, for durability.

“The Carrier product line gives consumers the ability to help remove the billions plastic bags used across the United States each year while at the same time delivering convenience and sustainability to consumers’ day-to-day shopping experience,” said Steve Cooper, DS Smith’s global customer business unit director. “This kind of innovative, sustainable packing solution is what more communities need to stem the tide of hard-to-recycle plastics and move away from single-use plastic bags.”

The boxes can be customized by supermarket retailers with their own logos, along with branding from other sponsored companies, creating a great new way for suppliers to advertise their products.

“Individual Carrier boxes sell at retail price points similar to reusable plastic totes, with each box having the capacity to replace between 5 and 7 plastic bags,” the company said. “Along with having them in checkout retail sales, supermarkets can also use Carriers as a loyalty program benefit in online curbside pick-up orders.”

This article is an excerpt from the May 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Sustainable Packaging feature and more in the digital edition here.