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 2021 award can be found by clicking here.


The six students who have just been revealed as finalists of the 2021 Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition, have demonstrated the excellence of design faculties within our universities – according to the competition judges.

DIP, which is supported by the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining, and the Worshipful Company of Horners, and headline sponsored by Covestro, challenged the students to come up with a brand new product made primarily from plastics which would commonly be used in the outdoor environment.

Announcing the final six, from an original, near record submission of entries, chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said the quality of work and thought which had gone into the entries presented by the finalists reflected not just their own intelligent research, but the quality of their universities and tutors.

“The very open brief for this year’s competition of ‘Design for a Natural World’, enabled a wide interpretation, and we’ve had everything from habitats for animals in nature, to products for use in the natural environment, as well as more esoteric interpretations stretching the boundaries of the brief,” he said.

“What is clear, is that a good number of entries – our finalists in particular –  have grasped the need for sustainable products in the natural world and also researched the damage the human race is doing to the environment, and it is probable the current pandemic has increased that awareness.  Our final six have understood the brief, which emphasised sustainability, quality and recyclability, and we are looking forward to see how they progress their designs in time for final judging on May 28.”

The students who have made it to the final are:

Pol Blanch – Brunel University

D-Shield: a semi-translucent foldable shield that minimises spray drift, blocking pesticides from drifting during application.

 Christopher Farrell – Technological University Dublin

ClearWater: a handheld water quality testing device for the presence of chemicals in water, due to run-off from land, providing on the spot testing for several chemicals in one go.

 Euan Gibson-Smith – Glasgow School of Art

ReCreate: a monthly educational service enabling children aged 7-11 to convert plastic waste into recyclable outdoor products.

Pradip Gurung – Brunel University

Stratus: a wildlife collar specially designed to prevent illegal poaching of big cats.

 Finlay McEwan – Glasgow School of Art

Equipoise: a reusable plastic gas canister for outdoor cooking, with a stand designed for stability on rough terrain.

 Andrei Petrar – London South Bank University

AER Drone:  a fully autonomous drone which can be deployed in an emergency to alert rescue services.

In line with continued coronavirus restrictions, the final judging will take place on May 28, via video conference, and the overall results will be announced in early July.

The winner will be invited to Germany to visit headline industry sponsor, the leading polymer manufacturer, Covestro, when coronavirus conditions permit. In addition, the winner and the remaining five finalists will each receive a short industry placement with one of the competition sponsors: [Brightworks, Innovate Product Design, PDD and RJG Technologies.] along with cash prizes.



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 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).

The quality of entries was impressively high, and a shortlist of four candidates was interviewed by a judging panel consisting of representatives from the Horners’ and the BPF Education and Skills Committee. The judges were looking, not just for a high standard of practical and classroom achievement, but also for evidence of strong commitment and personal initiative, as well as for achievement outside the workplace.

Two entries were of exceptional quality: Emily Harris, a Mechatronics Engineering apprentice at plastics recyclers Plasgran (Berry Global) became our Polymer Apprentice of the Year, with Harry Gissing, an Engineering Maintenance apprentice at packaging injection moulders UCP Zeller Plastik (Berry Global) as runner-up. Deciding between the two was very difficult, and both were deemed worthy of receiving the Horners’/BPF Polymer Apprentice Certificate.

Certificates of Commendation were awarded to two other strong candidates: Megan Denham, Toolmaking apprentice at medical device manufacturers Owen Mumford Ltd, and Lavinia Stevenson, Design Engineering apprentice at toolmakers Mason Pinder (Polypipe).

Emily and Harry would normally have been invited to the Livery Companies Skills Council Award Ceremony in the City, where a number of livery companies’ award Master, Journeyman and Apprentice Certificates for high achievement at the three levels of career and skills development in their associated industries. Here, they would have received their Polymer Apprentice Certificate from the Lord Mayor. For obvious reasons, this ceremony could not go ahead, but it is hoped that, all being well, Emily and Harry will be able to attend next year.

The fact that three out of the four top apprentices were women is greatly to be welcomed and demonstrates the training and career opportunities open to women in the polymer industries (and indeed in engineering). In the cause of encouraging recruitment to technical and engineering roles in the industries, the BPF issued a press release, highlighting the achievements of Emily, Megan and Lavinia, on March 8th – International Women’s Day (link here).

Emily Harris: winner of the Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award 2020 and recipient of the BPF/Horners’ Polymer Apprentice  Certificate.

Emily is a second-year Mechatronics Engineering apprentice at Plasgran (part of Berry Global), plastics recyclers in Wimblington, Cambridgeshire. She has progressed rapidly, with an eagerness to learn, both in the workplace and at college, where she has achieved distinctions and completed her project well ahead of time. She has taken ownership of her learning plan, seeking support in order to excel in areas (such as machining) which she found more difficult. She has shown great initiative, notably in the design and construction of a control panel for a granule washing machine after identifying the problems (particularly safety) and making a costed proposal, with the result of much improved efficiency and safety. She has taken other initiatives based on her learning, including a recommendation for a “5S” (continuous improvement) activity to improve workshop layout and a risk assessment on a working area to highlight safety issues, and she remains involved in site improvement projects outside of her role and responsibilities. Outside work, she assists a local mental health charity, including practical work (digging pathways, laying sleepers and planting bushes) for a „Wellbeing” garden (also taking responsibility for supplying the PPE equipment for fellow-workers!).

Harry Gissing, Runner-Up

Harry is a fourth-year Engineering Maintenance apprentice at UCP Zeller Plastik (part of Berry Global), injection moulders of plastics closures in Norwich. Harry has achieved his level 3 qualifications in both Operations & Maintenance and Mechanical Manufacturing (machining) and is now studying for HNC/HND Mechanical Engineering. He has developed a broad range of skills and has consistently demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment and an excellent attitude. He led a team of apprentices that completed a project to design and manufacture a functioning model of an injection moulding machine for use in promoting jobs in the industry to young people. He was also part of a four-person team who were runners-up in the 2018 Cranfield National Apprenticeship Competition to design and manufacture a Mars rover vehicle. Harry is a highly regarded member of the maintenance team and on several occasions, in the absence of the senior engineer, has led machine rebuilds, which were carried out to a high standard. Outside work, Harry is a keen hockey player, representing England at under-20 level, and he has rapidly attained a golf handicap of 13. He has also attended Outward Bounds team building exercises in the Lake District, once as a team member and once as a mentor.


Meg Denham, Certificate of Commendation

Meg joined Owen Mumford Ltd, manufacturers of medical devices and disposables in Chipping Norton, as a Tooling apprentice in 2016. Throughout her apprenticeship, colleagues have been impressed by her work ethic and engineering application. A focus on education is evident in the qualifications achieved. They include 3 NVQs, and Distinctions in all modules throughout her level 3 BTEC. Thereafter, Meg achieved a Distinction in a Mechanical Engineering HNC and is now doing a Mechanical Engineering B.Eng (Hons) with Coventry University. She has undertaken various placements within the Owen Mumford organisation. Her great ability, detailed knowledge and positive work ethic are much valued by the team. In addition, Meg was an Ambassador for Women in Engineering and has provided support at careers fairs to encourage applications for future engineers. Meg has used her engineering knowledge outside the work environment, in maintaining her Land Rover and 1970‘s VW Beetle.



Lavinia Stevenson, Certificate of Commendation

Lavinia is a 4th year Design Engineering apprentice at Mason Pinder (Polypipe), toolmakers in Doncaster. She displays a high level of self-motivation, challenging herself and those around her in a very positive manner and is highly thought of by her colleagues. Since starting her apprenticeship, she has undertaken several varied tasks and projects. A particular example was the redesign and planning of the mould shop floor plan at the Eglington plant, a project running over an eight-month time period. Her input was critical and saved both cost and time by obviating the need to use sub-contractors. She is keen to advance her further education and has recently completed a BTEC level 3. Whilst highly committed to her education and career, she finds a good work/life balance within her ranging friendship groups.




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