DS Smith: and IBM develop an AI solution to improve the quality of recycled paper

As a company, we are constantly innovating to provide the best services to our customers. That’s why we’ve worked with IBM in the UK to use artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool to improve the quality of paper and board collected for recycling.

Testing the technology at our recycling depot in Kemsley, the company has invested in new camera technology that uses AI modeling capabilities on IBM Cloud, to assess the grade, quality and origin of material arriving at the depot.

Use AI to constantly improve processes

Placed in the ceiling of the depot, the cameras can identify whether the composition of bulk paper and cardboard meets strict quality guidelines before being sent for baling and recycling. This was achieved by teams from DS Smith and IBM Expert Labs working together to develop an AI model capable of comparing material image data against a specific set of criteria. Cutting-edge innovation improves the efficiency and accuracy of the process, which has traditionally been performed using the human eye.

Drive quality at every stage of the process

The information gained from the imagery is used to inform the production process, but can also be communicated to suppliers to help improve the quality of material arriving at the depot.

As more materials are introduced into the process and more data is analyzed, the AI ​​model is continually refined, improving inspection accuracy and quality.

Innovating to improve the quality of materials is key to increasing recycling rates. Exploring the latest technologies and digitizing our operations allows us to operate more efficiently and sustainably while simultaneously improving the quality of the paper to be recycled. This collaboration with IBM is good news for our recovered paper suppliers as it allows us to work even more closely to ensure they optimize their recycling processes – improving recycling by reducing contamination.

– Stephanie Dalton, Innovation Manager, Recycling Division at DS Smith

IBM’s collaboration with DS Smith represents the best of IBM’s capabilities to help organizations pursue their sustainability goals through digital modernization. Using the power of hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence technologies to transform DS Smith’s recycling operation, this solution will dramatically improve the quality of recycling output while reducing waste.

– Janet White, Head of Industrial Products, IBM Consulting UK and Ireland

Kemsley Recycling Depot is located in the Kemsley Paper Mill, the UK’s largest recycled paper mill, with an annual production capacity of around 840,000 tonnes.

DS Smith will continue to work with IBM Expert Labs and IBM Consulting on rolling out the technology to many of its recycling depots across Europe.


DS Smith plc published this content on January 17, 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on January 17, 2022 3:34:02 PM UTC.

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