UK-based sustainable packaging provider DS Smith has announced that it has successfully removed 170 million pieces of ‘problem plastic’ for supermarkets and online retailers from circulation.

The company was able to reach this milestone after launching its Now and Next Sustainability Strategy last September.

One of the strategy’s key sustainability targets is to remove one billion pieces of ‘problem plastics’ from supermarket shelves by 2025.

To reach this goal, DS Smith eliminated an average of more than two million pieces of single-use plastic a week from its customers’ packaging and store display products.

These pieces of plastic have been replaced with paper-based alternative solutions.

DS Smith said it had developed more than 1,000 wholly recyclable fibre-based packaging solutions, including wine boxes, ready-meal trays and shrink wrap, for both in-store and online retailers.

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In addition, the company has moved to self-locking cardboard flaps from plastic sealing tape and started printing labels directly onto cardboard instead of providing plastic labels.

DS Smith Group chief executive Miles Roberts said: “We are working with our customers to replace more than one billion pieces of problem plastic with fully recyclable, fibre-based packaging solutions by 2025.

“Consumers are increasingly demanding less waste from their products, and we are embracing this agenda for change to protect the planet and create a more sustainable future.”

DS Smith has pledged to provide fully recyclable packaging in the next two years and plans to make all its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030.

The company has invested £100m ($132m) through its Circular Economy research and development programme to expedite this commitment.

Earlier this week, DS Smith reported a 16% increase in revenue on a reported basis to £3.36bn for the first six months of the fiscal year 2021-22.

The company’s revenue for the period grew by 22% on a constant currency basis in the six months to 31 October.