Corrugated cardboard – the right choice for a circular packaging industry

Circularity is high on the priority and conversation lists in all industries right now. Working to increase circularity involves a variety of aspects and efforts, but it is a fact that some have come further than others. Corrugated board has not only revolutionized the packaging industry, but the corrugated board industry has provided good solutions in automation, logistics and effective marketing. Now they are leading by example in the circular economy.

DS Smith is a packaging group based on circular thinking and a member of the Swedish Corrugated Cardboard Association (SWIF). Thorbjörn Sagerström, CEO of DS Smith Sweden since 2015, is involved in leading the work to ensure a more environmentally friendly industry.

– Recycling and circular economy are an important part of our DNA. The goal of a new corrugated board from DS Smith is that it will largely be based on recycled raw material. That this goal has at the same time colored the Group’s environmental work is evident in a number of ambitious promises, with the goal of taking responsibility for lower emissions and minimal utilization of the earth’s resources, says Thorbjörn.

As mentioned, all industries have their eyes on each other when it comes to sustainability and environmentally friendly production. The corrugated board industry in particular has long had a favorable advantage due to its high recycling percentage.

– The recycling for corrugated cardboard is extremely high. We at DS Smith have a recycling percentage that is 95. But recycling is far from everything when it comes to circularity, says Thorbjörn.

Working circularly means consistent efforts throughout the process from production to delivery, recycling and back to production. This means that all parts of the product’s life cycle must be as durable as possible. The packaging industry in particular has been forced into rapid development due to the increased volume that global e-commerce has entailed.

Thorbjörn Sagerström, CEO of DS Smith Sweden

– I have been met with a mindset where you simply see the packaging as part of your product. That, only when the product is packaged does it condition its full value. That way of thinking has become an invaluable driving force in our own development. Solving concrete packaging problems is not enough. We are moving towards a future where we must master completely new parameters, says Thorbjörn.


SWIF, or the Swedish Corrugated Cardboard Association, is an industry association for the corrugated board industry where members, such as DS Smith, meet to promote the industry’s development.

– At SWIF, we meet manufacturers and discuss and handle common industry challenges. What is high on the agenda now is to reduce CO2 emissions throughout the chain from production to delivery. What do the transports look like to customers and then to consumers? By reviewing and optimizing packaging, we can reduce the size of the packaging and thereby reduce the number of transports, says Thorbjörn.

Circular Design Metrics

Circular thinking will be a decisive factor in the future of the planet and the climate goals set around the world. So far most people agree. But Thorbjörn Sagerström points out the difficulty of landing circular goals in the choice of packaging solution.

– There is always a risk that modern concepts become “buzz-words” that you like to swing with, but do not have full control of. To be on the safe side, knowledge and measurement methods are needed that take a collective grip on all influencing factors.

DS Smith has recently introduced such an instrument. With Circular Design Metrics, packaging buyers are offered a measurement method that gives black and white whether a packaging lives up to a company’s environmental aspirations. At the same time, you can compare how much different decisions about packaging design affect the environment.

– We see the instrument as an important tool for promoting circularity in the world, concludes Thorbjörn Sagerström.

Scanpack will be held at the Swedish Fair in Gothenburg 4-7 October 2022. A creative hub completely focused on sharing and disseminating ideas about new technology, new materials and new solutions that give you the right sharpness to be relevant in a circular future. By bringing together innovators, designers, decision makers, researchers and visionaries Scanpack an exploration of what the packaging industry can and must be tomorrow. Theme areas for Scanpack 2022 is: Digitization, Environment, sustainability and recycling as well as new trends and innovations.

Swedish fair

Swedish Exhibition Gothia Towers is one of Europe’s largest integrated meeting places with a unique city location in central Gothenburg. Swedish Exhibition Gothia Towers arranges and runs fairs, meetings, hotels, restaurants, spas and a show arena. Every year, just over two million visitors are welcomed to the meeting place. Svenska Mässan Gothia Towers is owned by a private, independent foundation, Svenska Mässan Stiftelse. The foundation’s mission is to promote business and industry, and every year just over SEK 3.2 billion is generated in tourist economic effects.

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