29 April 2021 by James Langley

Waste sector features in Queen’s Awards for Enterprise

Four companies have been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for their work in the waste management sector.

Now in their 55th year, the annual awards recognise “outstanding achievement” by UK businesses in the categories of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

The awards were officially announced today (29 April) in the London Gazette.


Shropshire-based waste management company Reconomy won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for demonstrating “excellence in the field of innovation”.

Shropshire-based Reconomy was established in 1994

Reconomy was recognised for using digital technology to manage waste more efficiently, transparently, safely, and with greater consideration given to the environment and sustainability. The London Gazette says Reconomy is “transforming the waste industry with end-to-end digitisation, ultimately reducing waste sent to landfill”.

Reconomy can now use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years, as can every winner.

Paul Cox, CEO of Reconomy, said: “This is an incredible honour for everyone associated with Reconomy and a landmark day in the journey of our business. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious, sought-after award that any UK business can receive and is an incredible testament to the hard work of all our people.

“The development and roll-out of new technology underpins every aspect of our business model, and this award acknowledges our continued commitment to innovative thinking.”

SJM Alloys & Metals

Rotherham-based SJM Alloys & Metals Ltd bagged an award for “outstanding short-term growth in overseas sales over the last three years”.

Overseas sales have increased year on year for the past three years from £16.1 million to £40.8 million, a total growth of 152.7% with overseas sales accounting for more than 90% of total sales.

The company is a dealer, processor and recycler of super alloys, specialty steels and refractory metal scraps.

It deals in a wide range of special metals, with particular expertise in cobalt and cobalt alloys, nickel and nickel alloys, tungsten and tungsten alloys, and molybdenum. It serves the automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, electronic, medical, foundry and nining industries.

Hubbub Enterprise

Hubbub Enterprise, the social enterprise arm of London-based environmental charity Hubbub Foundation, won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the sustainable development category.

Hubbub Enterprise’s entry focused on the ‘Ballot Bin’, an engagement product to encourage people not to discard waste cigarette butts (picture: Hubbub Foundation)

Its entry focused on the ‘Ballot Bin’, an engagement product to encourage people not to discard waste cigarette butts. The Ballot Bin is a customisable ashtray which displays a question and two answers. Smokers vote by putting their cigarette butt in the slots underneath their preferred answer. The litter stacks up behind the clear glass front in two columns, showing which answer is more popular.

The company says it has sold more than 3,000 Ballot Bins in 38 countries around the world, from South Korea to Macedonia. It suggests that if each of its Ballot Bins was emptied once a month when only half full, they would collect 12 million cigarette butts per year.

Hubbub Enterprise was awarded the Queen’s Award because it has demonstrated a clear vision for a more sustainable future, initiating innovative and engaging campaigns to change behaviours. The business has been impacted by Covid-19, the London Gazette says, but there is evidence that the agility of the charity is leading to new opportunities which impressed the judges.

Toast Ale

And, London-based brewery Toast Ale also won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the sustainable development category.

A small company set up in 2015 with 10 employees and a turnover of less than £1 million, Toast Ale ‘upcycles’ surplus bread from the sandwich industry and commercial bakeries to produce beer. All profits go to its main charity partner, Feedback.

The London Gazette says Toast Ale was given the Queen’s Award because it is innovative, shows the circular economy at its best, raises awareness of a key sustainable development issue, and provides practical and engaging solutions to food waste with all profits used in charitable work.

Elsewhere, Biffa’s Community Shop, the UK’s first social supermarket chain, also picked up a Queen’s Award (see letsrecycle.com story).


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