The Worshipful Company of Horners Annual Awards

The Horners promote excellence in the plastics industry through the five annual awards presented below:

Design Innovation in Plastics – Student Design Award

Established in 1985, Design Innovation In Plastics is now the longest running student plastics design award in Europe. It is an opportunity for design students to make a name for themselves, but also for universities to raise their profile as institutes of excellence in this field.

Around 300 students from 20 universities register for the competition every year with many of these universities having now incorporated Design Innovation in Plastics into their coursework.

Organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3) and the Worshipful Company of Horners,Design Innovation in Plastics is headlined sponsored by Covestro and also supported by market leaders in the fields of design and innovation.

Both IOM3 and the Worshipful Company of Horners play important roles in the field of education, and this award was set up to encourage plastics design innovation and best practice in our future product designers.

Details of the brief for entrants for the 2020 award can be found by clicking here.



The winner of the 2020 Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition has attempted to tackle one of the most pressing problems of the modern urban age.

Kristen Tapping, a third year product design student from London South Bank University, created a bicycle wheel with pollution filters, that uses movement to actively purify the air.

Her Rolloe – Roll off Emissions wheel operates in the busiest, most polluted roadways, requiring zero energy to function, except for pedal power from the cyclist.


Her concept is targeted at large scale shared bicycle schemes, such as those used in London, rewarding consumers based on distance travelled.

Organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and the Worshipful Company of Horners, and industry headline sponsored by Covestro, DIP challenged students to come up with a brand new product on the theme of urban living, which would enhance life in a city environment, for use in flats or whilst commuting.

Tapping beat an original entry of more than 100 students from all over the UK and Ireland to win the top prize of a trophy and £1,000; a trip to Leverkusen, Germany, to visit Covestro; a placement with sponsor PDD Innovation and an invitation to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet as a guest of the Worshipful Company of Horners.

“A very worthy winner”

The judging panel felt Tapping’s product, with further support and development, could be a viable prospect for the market.

“She tackled the brief extremely well and to a high level, addressing the points the judges raised at the preliminary judging session.”

Tapping, for whom this was a second attempt at the competition, said: “Cycling through London, I was able to see and smell the pollution coming from tyres and tailpipes. I thought – why not use the movement from vehicles to filter the air?  If it seems the product has a future, I may try to develop it to a commercial level.”

Meeting the brief “to the letter”

In second place, Coventry University’s, Matthew Foord, “met the brief to the letter”, according to the judges, with his Transforming Urban Trolley, whilst in third, Zihao Zhang (Brunel University), used the ‘utilitarian’ plastic bottle to create a low cost piece of fitness equipment which can be used anywhere, if a gymnasium is not available.

Each of the six finalists receives a short industry placement with one of the supporting competition sponsors: Brightworks, Innovate Product Design, PDD and RJG Technologies.

News ways of working

Uniquely, this year’s competition took place thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, with preliminary and final judging taking place through video conferencing, and the final award being announced in an ‘as live’ broadcast online.

DIP chairman, Martin Sixsmith, said: “Our committee has worked really hard to make this competition happen through the period of the coronavirus lockdown, and I must pay tribute to their dedication and creativity. Because of this, the number of designs submitted was pretty much the same as in any ‘normal’ year.

“In retrospect, a lot of positives have emerged from this year’s challenges, not least that we have found new ways of working, many aspects of which are sustainable, and which we will adopt permanently in future.”

In keeping with other years, the theme of next year’s competition was announced at the end of the ceremony. The 2021 brief is to design a product for a natural world, where students are asked to design a sustainable, high quality product in harmony with nature.

For the first time  the Awards Presentation has been recorded and you can see the ceremony by clicking here.

Horners’ Award for Plastics Innovation and Design.

The Horners Award is an annual award for an imaginative or innovative contribution to the plastics industry. The Worshipful Company of Horners was founded to set and maintain standards in the ancient craft of the Horner. After it had ‘adopted’ plastics, the company introduced an award to encourage good design in plastics, these materials being the logical successor to the horn.

The Horners Award is an annual award for an imaginative or innovative contribution to the plastics industry. The Worshipful Company of Horners was founded to set and maintain standards in the ancient craft of the Horner.

Could you win the Horners Award?

Any outstanding product, machine or process could be eligible to win the prestigious Horners Award. Entries are judged from the viewpoint of their significance in the United Kingdom through the imagination and appropriate use of plastics. The Rt.Hon. The Lord Mayor of London is Patron of the Award and presents it to the winners at the Horners’ Annual Banquet in The Mansion House.


Due to the pandemic, the Award was not held during 2020 and, instead, we launched, in conjunction with the BPF, The Horners’ Covid-19 Outstanding Achievement Award. This is in recognition of outstanding achievement by companies or organisations in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Horners Award for Plastics Innovation and Design 2021 is now officially open for entries. As the oldest plastics award in the world,  instituted in 1947, to be a winner is a real feather in the cap for a company. To find out about entering please  click here.  The winners will be announced at Interplas on 28th September 2021.  Entry forms can be obtained from the BPF website.



The winner of the Horners Award for Polymer Design and Innovation was announced as DS Smith’s “Hotbin Mini” compost bin during a visit to Grundon’s waste management facility in Slough on Monday 16 September.

The winner was praised for providing homeowners around the country with a small, slimline unit to help process their waste into compost up to 32 times faster than cold composting bins. Reaching temperatures of 60°c, food and garden waste can be composted in as little as 30 days due to the insulating properties of plastic. The winner’s will be presented their trophy by the City of London Lord Mayor, Peter Estlin, at the prestigious Horners banquet, taking place on Thursday 3 October at Mansion House in London.

The runner-up, and recipient of the British Plastics Federation (BPF) Award was announced as The R & D Factory Ltd, for their development of Streamoulding – a water foaming technology that fits to existing machines to enable lighter weight plastic material to be produced.

The Horners Awards Chairman, David Williams, said of the award this year:

 “Many of the entries this year demonstrated how smart applications of plastic help us solve everyday issues of reducing waste, and help us live sustainably. I was extremely happy to see how the UK industry is proactively responding to the concerns of the public over waste, and how innovations like the Hotbin Mini demonstrate that innovation in plastic is vital now more than ever.”

Due to such strong competition this year, three entries scooped a Highly Commended certificate.

The first Highly Commended was announced as 3DSeed, a 3D printer which works alongside a miniature plastic grinding unit to create 3D printed objects from recycled PET packaging, such as bottles, straight from the home.

The second Highly Commended product was SecurInject, a single-use dental safety syringe designed to prevent needle stick injuries and cross infections.

The third Highly Commended innovation was the Flip Pad, designed and developed by Futurenova. Flip Pad is a strong and durable iPad case which has been designed specifically to be anti-microbial, making it suitable for doctors and nurses to use in hospitals.

Entries for next year’s award can be made online at

Bottlemakers Award

In 1467 The Worshipful Company of Horners’ merged with the Bottlemakers Company (who made bottles from leather) and in October 2002, at the Interplas Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, they announced a new annual Award for Bottlemaking. Entries for this award must be a plastic bottle, jar or hollow container, made by any process including extrusion blow, injection blow, injection stretch blow, injection moulding, rotational moulding or vacuum forming.

The entry must have significant UK content in Design, Materials or Manufacture and a proven record of commercial success.

The annual Award consists of a leather bottle made in this century by traditional methods, flanked by two silver-rimmed horn beakers, all mounted on an oak plinth. The Award that the winner retains is a smaller leather bottle, also mounted on an oak plinth which is suitably engraved.

Due to the pandemic, the Award was not held in 2020, but the 2021 Awards are now open and the winner will be announced at Interplas on 28th September 2021.

2019 Winner  –  The Zero Waste CuZero Waste Cup

Invented and manufactured in the UK, the Zero Waste Cup will replace disposable ‘to-go’ paper
cups found at coffee shops, campuses, sporting events and festivals. The lowest cost insulated and reusable cup available today, it is made using EcoCore(r) – a new platform technology for injection moulding that will underpin low-cost transitions from single-use to reusable packaging.

It is Eco friendly when compared to both single-use bio and non-biodegradable cups.

Reusable, it can be provided in place of single-use packaging at no extra cost to consumers or businesses and can be washed in commercial dishwashers up to 1000 washes.

Recyclable – made of monomaterial polypropylene which is widely recycled.

Ideal for deposit return schemes – compatible with reverse vending machines.

A worthy winner of the Horners Bottlemakers award, it is made by Bockatech Ltd in Huntingdon.

The Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award

The Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award, run jointly by the Worshipful Company of Horners and the British Plastics Federation Education & Skills Committee, aims to recognise the commitment and achievement of apprentices in the polymer industry and to encourage and support them in their development.

The Company, through its Polymer Committee, looks to encourage and promote education and training in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) generally, and in the skills vital to the polymers industry particularly. The BPF, for its part, is seeking to promote further development of education and training within and for the polymer industry, to address the “skills gap” and to attract talented young people into the industry. The Polymer Apprentice Awards, which not only celebrate achievement, but also demonstrate opportunity in the industry, are an important part of this developing cooperation. The competition is open to apprentices (and those who have recently completed their apprenticeships) employed in a technical, engineering, manufacturing or design role in the polymers industry.

The award is for apprentices involved in a technical, engineering, manufacturing or design role associated with polymer processing or polymer/additive manufacturing. Nominations can be made either by the apprentice themselves, their employers or training providers. In order to be considered for the award the person must:

be engaged in – or have completed in the year up until December 2019 – a full accredited apprenticeship programme at Level 2 or 3
have had sufficient time in their apprenticeship to be able to demonstrate quantifiable achievement, both academic and in the workplace
Details of other training undertaken by the apprentice will be taken into consideration, as well as extra-curricular activities and achievements outside the workplace.

On 2nd March 2020, the annual Livery Companies Skills Council Awards Ceremony was held, for the first time, in the impressive setting of the Egyptian Hall in Mansion House. This was the opportunity for a record number of fifteen livery companies to recognise and celebrate career and skills progression and achievement in their associated industries.  At this impressive ceremony, the Lord Mayor of London and the masters of the participating companies, all splendidly robed, gathered to present Master, Journeyman and Apprentice certificates. Amongst those being recognised were two exceptional apprentices from the polymer industry, the winner and runner-up in the Horners’ and BPF Polymer Apprentice of the Year Awards, who were both recipients of the Polymer Apprentice Certificate awarded by the Horners’ and the BPF.

The standard of the entries was high, and the judges (two Horners and two representatives of the BPF Education and Skills Committee), who were looking, not just for a high standard of achievement, but also for evidence of strong commitment and personal initiative as well as for engagement outside the workplace, identified two outstanding candidates and decided to award the Polymer Apprentice Certificate to both the first-prize winner and the runner-up

At the ceremony, Jordan and Charlie, having accepted from the Master Horner, Martin Muirhead, the ”Charge” to “uphold the high standards expected of all who receive the Polymer Apprentice Certificate and do your best to continue diligently with your skills and general training in the plastics Industry”, received their certificates from The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman William Russell.

The Master then presented Jordan with the first prize of a ceremonial drinking horn and a cheque for £500, and Charlie with the runner-up prize of a cheque for £200.

Jordan Clayton: winner of the Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award 2019 and recipient of the BPF/Horners’ Polymer Apprentice  Certificate.

 Jordan is a third year toolmaker apprentice at Mason Pinder, a toolmaking division of the Polypipe Group, in Doncaster. He achieved a double distinction in his BTEC Level 3 Mechanical Engineering qualification and has now progressed to BTEC  Level 4. In learning his practical skills, he has very successfully progressed through the various sections of the toolmaking operation, showing great commitment, enthusiasm and willingness to learn, and demonstrating exceptional ability, such that has become an “ambassador” in supporting other apprentices. He has demonstrated a “can do” attitude, reflecting his inquisitive personality and diligent nature, and he will always go the “extra mile”.

Jordan has frequently offered up new ideas, and was selected as a member of a Continuous Improvement team tasked with improving the performance of an automation cell at one of the Polypipe sites. Not only did Jordan play a vital part in the design of the cell,making innovative proposals on many aspects, but he himself designed a key component; he then worked tirelessly, following the project right through to commissioning and completion on time.

The experience gained whilst working on this project, alongside his progress in toolmaking skills, has now enabled Jordan to work unsupervised with minimal mentoring.

Charles Thomas: runner-up in the Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award 2019 and recipient of the BPF/Horners’ Polymer Apprentice  Certificate.

 Charlie is a third year toolmaker apprentice at St Davids Assemblies in St Davids Pembrokeshire. He has completed a BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering with triple distinctions, is now completing an NVQ Level 3 Competence Extended Diploma in Toolmaking, and is studying for a University HNC in Mechanical Engineering, achieving distinctions in all units so far.

He has progressed rapidly in practical toolmaking, seeking out all opportunities to expand his knowledge and learn new skills. He produces accurate and precise engineering drawings and is trusted to carry out highly complex machining activities with no or minimal supervision. At his own request, he has been trained in 2D and 3D modelling, work in which he now excels.

Charlie now works directly and independently with clients in designing and re-designing their products. He has shown leadership ability, regularly having taken charge of the toolroom, dealing directly with issues from production managers.

He consistently looks for ways to improve not only his own designs but also to challenge and improve existing processes. He has earned the respect of experienced toolmakers despite being “the apprentice”.

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The Horners Jewellery and Fashion Accessory Award

(previously known as the Jewellery Award)
This award, given by the Horners in conjunction with the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (London Metropolitan University), is founded on charitable and citizen based motivation to raise social awareness and support charitable activities. This annual award is for the most effective use of plastics and/or horn in a range of durable, wearable jewellery.

Students are invited to submit for subsequent charitable auction, wearable jewellery (using plastics and/or horn) which appeals to the charitable supporters of the Livery.

Students are encouraged to design with an environmental mindset in relation to the choice of materials, recyclable materials and waste. Stock jewellery findings (e.g. broche pins) may be used if integral to the design.

Consideration is given to a practical and visually effective method of displaying the jewellery for auction/sale/delivery at the Master’s Charity Evening. Submission for judging should include one A2 Concept Board and the finalised artefact.

Judging Criteria

The judges look for:

  • Imaginative design and material use
  • Wearability and durability
  • Suitability in relation to target audience
  • Concept, display and presentation

The Horners Jewellery and Fashion Accessory Award

2019 Winner

This year’s winner of the Jewellery Award is Julia Charters, with a piece entitled ‘Box of Frogs’. The small box (about 6cm high) is made from horn and silver. Congratulations to Julia.

In the past the winning item has been auctioned off for charity. This was the case again this year and was sold by auction  after the Carol Service Dinner on 19th December 2019 and raised £700 for the Master’s Charity.


View Previous Winners