Inside INdiana Business

Lebanon plant to manufacture cardboard fans

(image courtesy of DS Smith)

LEBANON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – A Lebanon-based corrugated packaging supplier says it has a solution to current limited in-person attendance at events due to COVID-19. DS Smith says it is planning to produce recyclable cardboard replacement spectators for use at sports stadiums and arenas.

The company is launching its design and manufacturing plans, which includes an initial approach to the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.

“We look to sports as a unifier, and that’s been missing. We want to help solve that. By using a versatile material like cardboard, we can support teams across the country to design a unique atmosphere while fans stay home to maintain social distancing because of the coronavirus,’’ said  Barry Nelson, managing director of sales, marketing and innovation for the North America Packaging and Paper Division of DS Smith.

DS Smith says the plan offers quick, reliable and sustainable options for teams wanting to fill empty venues. Plans include water-resistant cutouts for outdoor venues, using the company’s patented Greencoat, a wax-free, 100% recyclable material.

The company says the Lebanon plant can produce more than 50,000 corrugated fans in an eight-hour shift. 

DS Smith says the cutouts easily slip over existing stadium seats, and says soccer clubs in Europe will allow the replica supporters to be displayed during matches.

Using in-house pre-print capabilities, DS Smith says its “fans” can be custom designed in a combination of tones, in solid or striped clothing to match team colors and even holding images of a foam finger or baseball bat.

DS Smith says it is also planning to reach out to universities, high schools and others wanting to fill seats during games.

The company says it is the first in the U.S. to announce designs and large-scale production plans.