Millennium Stadium closes the loop on Rugby World Cup signs

Plastic advertising hoardings and signs used for this year's Rugby World Cup in the UK have been given a new lease of life through packaging company DS Smith which has recycled and re-purposed the boards.

DS Smith, recently crowned as winners of the Waste & Resource Management award at edie’s own Sustainable Leaders Awards in London last week, has partnered with the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to offer a closed loop recycling scheme that has seen 98% of the total weight of the Correx polypropylene (PP) sheets at the stadium reclaimed and diverted from waste fields.

Iain Hannam, site director of DS Smith Plastics’ Gloucester location, said: “Recycling and repurposing used Correx sheets is one key goal of our site and an approach that is very much in line with the ISO14001 accreditation that we are proud to hold.

“It is also an important element of DS Smith Plastics’ overall product offering that demonstrate our commitment to protecting our environment by managing the recycling and re-proposing of used plastics that otherwise would end-up on waste fields.”

The signs, which have since been turned back into new Correx sheets, were collected and taken to the nearest DS Smith Plastics location in Gloucester where they were granulated and the recycled plastic was extruded and re-purposed.

Jonathan Edmunds, commercial manager of DS Smith Recycling Division in the UK said: “While it was encouraging to see that many advertising hoardings made of PP plastics could be successfully recycled and repurposed; it was frustrating to see that a large amount of signs ―made from woven PVC, Foamex and coextruded (mixed) polymers― were not able to be recycled.

“More work needs to be done with the supply cycles involve in producing these non-recyclable signs. This is one of the reasons why the DS Smith Plastics and Recycling Divisions are working together in promoting Correx polypropylene sheets as the preferred choice for recyclable advertising signage.”


The work with the Millennium Stadium has an added dimension for DS Smith, with former Cardiff Blues, Wales and British and Irish Lion player Tom Shanklin now acting as commercial manager for the company’s recycling division – as he develops from recycling the ball to recycling plastics.

The Rugby World Cup may well get remembered for Japan’s great upset or England’s disappointing exit, but DS Smith’s work further highlights the sustainable legacy that the tournament has left for the competing nations.

Matt Mace

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