Donations to fund greenspace in 18th Ward, holiday season activities
READING, Pa. – DS Smith, which operates a paper mill, packaging plant and recycling facility in Reading, announced plans for two local biodiversity projects, including funding a greenspace for the 18th Ward and partnering with the city to supply trees for lighting during the holiday season.
In support of Reading’s five-year plan to maintain and enhance a sustainable, connected and beautiful community, DS Smith will fund one of the six of proposed greenspaces for the 18th Ward, covering the most visited and vibrant parts of the city.
A string of proposed activities is designed to enhance sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. That includes planting native trees to create a greater urban canopy; planting native flowers to encourage survival of honeybees and other pollinators; using stormwater as a resource while reducing earth erosion; and increasing walkways and bikeways to lessen dependency on cars.
The Reading company secured a $17,000 biodiversity grant from the DS Smith Charitable Foundation for the greenspace project and $1,200 for planting and maintaining evergreen trees in various or public spaces that the city will be able to use for future holiday lighting ceremonies and festivities.
The evergreen trees serve multiple purposes – to restore “green areas” to the city and help combat climate change, provide a habitat for various birds and animals and provide each section of the city with a sustainable evergreen tree for annual holiday decoration.
The project also will include the planting of wildflowers, clearing of overgrown vegetation and overall beautification of the Thun and Reading Gateway section of the Schuylkill River Trail that runs through the heart of the city.
“Sustainability and being a responsible corporate neighbor is at the heart of everything we do,” said Nadine Racht, human relations manager for DS Smith. “We’re committed to supporting the communities where we operate with our ‘Now and Next Sustainability Strategy’ and we’re excited to kick off two of the 100 biodiversity projects we committed to funding worldwide here in Reading.”
She outlined the company’s plans in a remote presentation Thursday to the 18th Wonder Board and she estimated work could begin as early as next month.
DS Smith Reading will provide the soil, trees and landscape planting for the greenspace and holiday trees. The DS Smith Reading Activities and Volunteer Committee, “The DS Smith Experience,” will volunteer and work with the city to facilitate the project implementation.
DS Smith’s paper, packaging and recycling facilities employ 300 people at its three locations in Reading. The company has committed that by 2030, it will use packaging and recycling to replace problem plastics, reduce customer carbon and eliminate consumer packaging waste.