DS Smith is launching its brand-new circular design principles, as it reveals new research that claims to identify a need for consistent design to help cut through perceived confusion in the recycling of packaging.

The principles have been developed in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and were created with the aim of helping to support companies design reuse and recyclability into their packaging. They come as a new study purports to show that UK adults admit to throwing 30% of their recyclable material into general waste.

In fact, 83% of people surveyed said they were not clear about which types of packaging can and can’t be recycled. A total of 56% of Brits cited unclear information on packaging as the reason why they were unsure whether to recycle a piece of packaging or not.

Stefano Rossi, packaging CEO at DS Smith, commented: “There is an undeniable desire from the public to help with the climate crisis, but a lot of packaging is still not recyclable, and people are confused about what packaging goes into which bin.

“We have launched our Circular Design Principles to help companies evolve to meet the needs of the public. By introducing this set of principles, we can design for recyclability, design out waste and pollution, create packaging suited to a circular economy and make it easier to provide labelling to help consumers recycle more.”

In its own words, DS Smith’s five circular design principles are:

  1. We protect brands and products – Designers must always ensure that packaging successfully protects its product. Damaged products from poor packaging have an economic and environmental impact
  2. We use no more materials than necessary - Optimised use of packaging materials saves resources and reduces waste
  3. We design for supply cycle efficiency – Our designers drive efficiency by changing the layout of products within boxes for stacking in delivery vehicles
  4. We keep packaging materials in use – We eliminate waste by keeping packaging products in use for as long as possible. We can ‘close the loop’ for customers in 14 days by recycling packaging into new products
  5. We find a better way – We empower our designers to challenge the status quo and support customers in the drive for a circular economy