DS Smith Takes Steps to Make Its Reusable Crate Molding Process More Eco-Friendly

DS Smith Plastics’ Injection Moulding Business contacted Eco-Point BVBA to develop a safe and ecological alternative for the thinner used to remove ink during the screen printing of crates

DS Smith Fillbee reusable beverage crate

Graphics on reusable crates can provide a high degree of visual attractiveness.  Now, DS Smith is improving the sustainability of its screen printing process. Source: file photo, DS Smith.

The beverage crates industry is one of the first to adopt what we now call a truly circular approach to packaging products. As an expert in the production of reusable crates, DS Smith Plastics’ Injection Moulded Products embraces the sustainable life cycle, production and recycling process of their products. At the end of their useful life, the crates can be reground and turned into new crates in just one day without the utilisation of any additives. 

However, there was one bottleneck holding the business back from becoming 100% sustainable in their production process: the thinner required to remove inks from the screen printing plates used for branding crates. Ink thinner is known to cause negative effects for users such as headaches, allergic reactions or skin and eye irritations. 

The Challenge

DS Smith Plastics, Injection Moulded Products in Bilzen contacted Eco-Point to develop a safe and ecological alternative for the current ink thinner and successfully remove all hazard symbols from the packaging of the thinner. Among the current alternatives on the market, none met the specific requirements for the ink used for the printing of crates. For this particular application, the thinner had to be efficient for dissolving and removing the inks, but the most important factor was the efficiency of the drying time.

The Approach

Eco-Point is an expert in the development and production of fit-to-purpose eco-friendly alternatives for hazardous products. In close cooperation with the DS Smith Plastics Production and Health & Safety departments, Eco-Point identified all the expectations and requirements for the new product. During the development period the product was frequently tested and adjusted until the ideal formula was defined. 

The Result

The final formula of the new ink thinner, that will be available on the market under the name ‘Eco Remoscreen’,  exceeded all expectations and can be used as an alternative for white spirit, acetone and naphtha. Unlike the current market solutions, the new, environmentally friendly ink thinner is biodegradable, more economical and requires less product to clean and degrease thoroughly. In addition, the product is more versatile as it can also be used as a degreaser for the technical department and to rinse equipment. Lastly, the product is more enjoyable to work with because the odor doesn’t hinder or leave an unpleasant scent in the production area after use. Because hazardous ingredients were eliminated, there is less risk for accidents at work. 

Both the environment and the health and safety of employees are our highest priorities,” stated Vincent Roox, Health and Safety Officer for DS Smith Plastics Injection Molding, at Bilzen. “The process took a lot of work and effort, but we feel extremely proud that we succeeded in making our process 100% safe and environmentally friendly.”

About Eco-Point

Eco-point is a Dutch innovative developer of sustainable cleaning and maintenance products. Their state-of-the-art knowledge and test center employs experts that have the knowledge of all the latest techniques and regularizations regarding legislation and cleaning & product applications.