UK's National Recycling Awards recognize best practices, innovation
Stroud District Council, U.K., was recognized with the Local Authority Success-Overall Service Change award for its new waste and recycling collection system.
National Recycling Awards.

UK's National Recycling Awards recognize best practices, innovation

Recycling Lives, British Metals Recycling Association and Axion Polymers are among the 2019 winners.


More than 600 recycling and waste management professionals gathered June 27 in London at the Materials Recycling World (MRW) National Recycling Awards 2019.

United Kingdom’s first textile bank, Thompson Recycling and Landfill’s zero waste to landfill accomplishment and British Metals Recycling Association’s (BMRA) apprenticeship program are among the winners recognized for “best practice” and “innovation” in recycling and waste management.

“Every year through the awards we discover and celebrate truly groundbreaking initiatives, technology and services,” MRW Editor Corin Williams says. “The MRW National Recycling Award 2019 winners show our industry has the inspiration, expertise and enthusiasm to meet these challenges and lead from the front.”

BMRA was awarded the Excellence in Learning and Development award for its Metal Recycling General Operative (MRGO) level two apprenticeship.

Launched in November 2018 by Sir Gerry Berragan, CEO of the Institute for Apprenticeships, London, the MRGO is the industry’s first sector-specific apprenticeship that offers 13 different apprenticeships with Mellor Metals, Recycling Lives, Sackers, Sims Metal Management, S. Norton and other metal recycling companies in areas including material handling and end-of-life vehicles (ELVs).

“It is a really honor to win this award because as a group we have delivered a complex apprenticeship that truly offers sector-specific learnings,” Antonia Grey, BMRA public affairs and communications manager, says in a report by ATF Professional. “With a strong focus on learning and development, the MRGO apprenticeship is unique because it offers the option to specialize in a chosen area.”

She adds, “Through the apprenticeship, the partnership has engendered a greater sense of pride in the sector because it both recognizes and underscores the complexities of the industry and the role it has in protecting the environment.”

Axion Polymers, U.K., won the Team of the Year-Commercial award for its “circular approach” to recycling ELV plastics and meeting customer’s specifications for recycled polymers for a “wide range of new products.”

At Axion’s two processing sites, plastics recovered from auto shredder scrap are refined into high-quality polymers that match virgin quality, the recycler says in a news release announcing the achievement.

“Circular economy principles run throughout every aspect of the Axion Polymers team’s work and we’re delighted to have been recognized with a National Recycling Award,” Mark Keenan, business development manager, said at the ceremony.

Amy Stiven, sales and logistics manager, adds: “We build long-term relationships with customers to deliver successful, sustainable and locally-sourced raw material supply chains with all-round economic and environmental benefits.”

Stroud District Council, U.K., was recognized with the Local Authority Success-Overall Service Change award for its waste and recycling collection system, which was implemented in 2016 with a goal to reduce waste going to landfill and increase recycling. Stroud is the highest performing district for waste diversion and recycling in England, improving its recycling rate from 15 percent to more than 60 percent, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Hubbub, U.K., also won the Food Waste Initiative award for its community fridge network of 100 fridges that “provide a place for local residents and businesses to donate a surplus of perishable food, which is then available for anyone in the community to take.”

In addition, Recycling Lives, a British recycling and waste management company, won the Partnership Excellence award for its partnership with Amey, a U.K.-based waste management company, and public services provider Serco. The partnership uses electronics recycling to rehabilitate prisoners across 11 prisons in the U.K.

In 2018, the workshop, run by Serco, processed 939 tons of electronic scrap and achieved a 99.8 percent recycle rate for metals, glass, plastics, panels and circuit boards. Participants also develop skills and secure work and housing upon release and less than 5 percent reoffend, the company says.

“Winning this award is the cherry on top of an excellent partnership that allows us to really make a difference,” says Recycling Lives CEO Anthony Sharkey. “Meaningful work is critical to improving an offender’s chance of rehabilitation, so we are grateful to Amey and Serco for buying into our model and working with us to make it happen.”

Emily Davies, head of social impact at Amey, adds, “I’m delighted the fantastic work we’ve been delivering with Recycling Lives has been recognized. I’m proud the work is having positive impacts on improving offender’s rehabilitation, as well as reducing the amount of household items ending up in landfill sites.”

For more about the 2019 award winners, click here.