The Worshipful Company of Horners Annual Awards

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

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.

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.

Bottlemakers Award Winner 2021

The winner was Zotefoams PLC for its ReZorce Circular Packaging , a fully recyclable mono-material beverage carton with barrier properties that meet  or exceed all food industry standards. It is the first viable alternative  to composite barrier packaging. Life cycle analysis shows producing, filling and transporting  a ReZorce carton requires five times less energy  than conventional aseptic cartons. ReZorce also requires 11 times less water and provided it is recycled, has a 50% overall lower global warming potential. It is made with up to 70% recycled polymer and could reach full circularity in the future when food grade recycled polymer becomes available.

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 2022 award can be found by clicking here.

The Finalists for the 2022 Award have been announced. Click here to find out more.


University student creates solution to universal problem of pesticide spray drift.

 A student from Brunel university has claimed top prize in the 2021 Design Innovation in Plastics competition, with a product which will help reduce pesticide spray drift.

Pol Blanch designed his product to help people in the developing world, after being inspired by his interest in agriculture and the rural issue of how to apply pesticides safely to vital crops.

The product, ‘D-Shield’, is a semi-translucent, foldable shield that minimises spray drift, blocking pesticides from drifting during application.  The shield, made from low density, heat resistant polypropylene, is designed to be carried by individuals using backpack sprayers, as is often the case in developing countries, where plots are smaller and the expense of agricultural machinery is prohibitive.

D-Shield was judged to be outstanding in its design and application, as well as addressing a fundamental problem in the environment, in line with the competition’s 2021 theme of ‘Design for a Natural World’.

Chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said: “Pol applied design thinking and conducted extensive research to find a cost-effective solution to a universal problem that threatens both our society and wildlife across the world.  His research recognises the scale of the problem and how pesticide overspray damages the natural environment.  His product is well designed, and we believe that with some refinement, it is good enough to be commercialised.”

Pol Blanch said: “I have worked very hard to create this product and am delighted it has received such a positive response.  The Design Innovation in Plastics competition has helped instil the value of sustainable design and I have gained skills in polymer-based product design along with a good understanding of its suitable manufacturing processes. It has been really rewarding to take a disposable product category and create a reusable solution – this is a trend I would love to continue in my future career.”

The runners up were…

In second place was Christopher Farrell, from Technological University Dublin, who designed ‘ClearWater’, a hand-held, user-friendly water quality device to test for the presence of nitrates, phosphates and sulphates in open water.  Christopher used a combination of polypropylene, polycarbonate and silicone rubber in the making of his product, to give it good barrier qualities, chemical resistivity and resistance to weathering.

In third came Finlay McEwan, (Glasgow School of Art) with Equipoise, a reusable plastic gas canister for outdoor cooking, with a cleverly designed stand for stability on rough terrain. The gas canister for his product is made of Ultem PEI plastic for its very high strength and stability, while the stand uses polycarbonate for its high strength and impact resistance.

Highly commended prizes go to Euan Gibson-Smith – Glasgow School of Art, Pradip Gurung – Brunel University, and Andrei Petrar – London South Bank University.

Polymer Apprentice of The Year 2021

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) and the Worshipful Company of Horners are pleased to announce that Thomas Coyne of IPL Plastics has won the 2021 Polymer Industries Apprentice of the Year Award.

Tom is currently a Lead Quality Assurance Technician at IPL Plastics who has recently completed a EAL Level 3 Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering course. Tom is responsible for a shift technician and leads a team in single-minute exchange of die (SMED) activities. However, it was Tom’s innovative ideas that resulted in a 38% reduction in tool change times (worth over £250k in additional capacity) that made him the standout candidate. Tom also impressed the judges with his technical ability as a certified machine operator and his designs for new products.

Chairman of Apprentice Award Committee, Ian Paterson (of The Worshipful Company of the Horners) states:

Tom was the standout candidate in this year’s contest and a well-deserved winner. His initiative, engagement and technical skills were very apparent. I congratulate him on his significant achievement.

Tom’s manager, IPL’s QESH & CI Manager Michael Christmas, added:

We are extremely proud of our apprentices. They make an outstanding contribution to our business and often go on to progress in IPL Plastics into more senior roles thanks to the skills and experience they gain. Tom is no exception, his dedication, work ethic and attention to detail, combined with his team working skills have helped drive a number of quality improvements at IPL Rotherham and we are delighted to see his achievement recognised in the form of Polymer Industries Apprentice of the Year 2021.

Tom will be awarded a £500 cash prize, a ceremonial drinking horn and a formal invitation to Mansion House where he will receive a Polymer Industries Apprentice of the Year Certificate from the Lord Mayor of London.

All the judges agreed that the standard of entrants for 2021 was exceptional and that special praise should be given to this year’s runner up, Joshua Vinters from Polypipe Civils and Green Urbanisation. His ability to adapt to varying challenges and his proactive approach to problem solving was very apparent. The judges commented that he is a “confident character” and that “his technical ability will prove beneficial for his future”.  Joshua has just completed his Science Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship at Level 3.

The Polymer Industries Apprentice of the Year Award shines a spotlight on the outstanding commitment and achievements of apprentices within the polymer industry. The BPF, in conjunction with The Worshipful Company of the Horners, will re-open this competition in September as it begins its search for the 2022 winner.

About the Polymer Apprentice of the Year 

The Worshipful Company of Horners and British Plastics Federation Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award aims to recognise the commitment and achievement of apprentices in the polymer industry and to encourage and support them in their development. As the award is intended to promote the skills particularly associated with our industry, it is restricted to apprentices employed in a technical, engineering, manufacturing or design role associated with polymer processing, or polymer or additive manufacture. There is a first prize of a ceremonial drinking horn and £500, and a second prize of £250, with Highly Commended candidates receiving a prize of £100 and a Certificate of Commendation. The winner and any other candidate considered to have a similar level of achievement are awarded the Horners’/BPF Polymer Apprentice Certificate (under the Livery Company Skills Council Master Certificates Scheme).

These Awards consist of a jewellery competition and a grant. The Horners aim to use these to promote the use of horn and plastics in jewellery and, in particular, the craft of working with horn. In addition, this award 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.

The Horners Jewellery and Fashion Accessory Award

The Jewellery Award has been running for several years and has produced a variety of excellent pieces; many have been sold at the Horners Charity Dinners and one was bought by the Company and presented to Dr. Andrew Parmley, when the Lord Mayor. The award is now integrated into the Goldsmiths jewellery awards.

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.

The judges look for:

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

Above, on the right, are examples of entries.

THE 2022 WINNER was Andrew Birks whose winning entry can be seen on the right.

He received his Gold Award during  the annual Awards Ceremony of the Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship & Design Awards at  the prestigious Goldsmiths’ Hall in London on Monday 28th February 2022.

 This important annual Awards Ceremony – known as the Jewellery Oscars – was hosted by British jewellery writer and editor Rachael Taylor, welcoming more than 300 guests, including representatives from world-renowned jewellery houses, notable sponsors, industry associations, leading designers and the UK media.

The Scholarship

The Worshipful Company of Horners offer a grant in Jewellery, Fashion and Decorative Items for innovation in horn. This will be awarded to a successful applicant who shows they are able to produce exceptional pieces and demonstrate great potential to expand crafting with horn in the near future.

This Scholarship has recently been introduced and has produced excellent pieces of work. The recent chalice and ring shown are examples of the pieces produced to date.