Axion Polymers won the Supplier Partnership: Polymer Producer award in the prestigious Plastics Industry Awards 2012 for its work with Marks & Spencer in producing a new sustainable M&S gift range.
The Salford-based plastics recycler was also Highly Commended in the Consumer Product Design of the Year category for the use of its high-quality 100% recycled polymer Axpoly PS01, derived from waste fridge plastic, as a direct replacement for virgin ABS in the Solutions collection.
M&S approached Axion Polymers as part of the company’s drive to make more of its UK retail products qualify under its ‘Plan A’ scheme – a list of 180 environmental commitments launched by the retailer in 2007.
Axion worked with the entire supply chain, including M&S’s UK supplier, Peter Black Footwear Associates (PBFA), to overcome technical, design and logistical challenges to manufacture the product range from 100% recycled post-consumer waste polymer in just over 12 months.
On sale from September, the new products include a magnifying glass, key-light, 2-in-1 ice scraper and torch card. The packaging contains the ‘I used to be a fridge’ strapline, highlighting the products’ ‘green’ credentials to purchasers.
Axion Director Keith Freegard, who received the award from comedian Sean Lock at the London awards ceremony on September 28, said: "We are delighted to receive this recognition from the judges and to share the honour with M&S, one of the UK’s leading retailers. It further underlines our technical and commercial success with manufacturers and retailers in using recycled plastics in new goods that consumers would choose to buy."
Keith added: "As a result of the interest in these successful products and high-profile exposure of the award, we are now building our range of recycled polymer types and looking to extend their use across other M&S product areas, such as homeware goods.
"We will also focus on developing partnerships with other polymer producers to encourage even greater use of traceable recycled plastics in household items, and in a way that shoppers, many of whom are committed recyclers, can readily identify with."
M&S Technologist Tim Bynoe said: "This award marks an outstanding achievement and represents an important milestone in our efforts to ensure our home and gift products become more sustainable."
He added: "The Solutions range realises the mutual aims of both parties to achieve greater recycled content in consumer products and has attracted a lot of interest from across our other product areas where it will be used as a vehicle to promote new concepts and process trials in the future."
Axion Polymers is part of the Axion Group that develops and operates innovative resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. The Group works with a wide range of clients within the recycling and process industries on the practical development of new processing and collection methods.