VIBES Award: Circular Economy


  • Operate a truly circular business - re-furbish, remanufacture cable drums to keep them in the supply chain for as long as possible.
  • Their drum management schemes reduce new purchases by 60% and in some cases up to 98%.
  • Re-use drums are around 50% of cost of a new drum resulting in significant savings to customer.
  • If product not reused, material will be chipped and sent as biomass or used for pathways or play areas.
  • Marlin work with their supply chain to remanufacture cable/duct left on the drum and return it in to the manufacturing process.
Sponsored by: Chivas Brothers - Pernod Ricard
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Marlin operates in the electrical energy distribution and telecommunications industries. The company was founded  in 2012 and now has 36 full time employees and a turnover in excess of £2M. Marlin Industries re-furbish and  remanufacture cable drums to keep them in the supply chain for as long as possible. This reduces waste and carbon footprint of the drums by keeping them in use for longer, reducing the reliance on raw materials.

The Circular Economy award is for businesses whose product or service fit the principles of the circular economy  and demonstrates the business and environmental benefits of a closed loop approach. The judges considered that the commitment of Marlin Industries and the associated environmental benefits achieved are worthy of an award in this category.

Marlin Industries has developed their facilities and techniques to ensure that the quality, reliability and value of the product are maintained. The drum management service is a great example of a circular business. The business model is to return, refurbish and re-use.

Reuse presents significant environmental benefits compared to new manufacture. In house manufacture of new drums exists within the group but this is used only to supplement stock shortages of reuse drums. Refurbishment of reuse drums has been developed from a replacement of damaged or rotten sections through to re-sizing and conversion to suit differing end uses. Drums beyond economic repair pass through the in house recycling facility. Recycling takes the form of shredding and chipping to convert non-repairable drums into biomass fuel, animal bedding, construction feedstock, ground cover and children’s play areas.

Re use of cable drums significantly reduces the reliance on raw materials. Also, the innovative techniques adopted  by Marlin, such as flat packing drums for transport has led to significant reductions in vehicle movements.

The company promotes the return of cabling from customers and are looking to rewind non used stock for  re-supply.

Re-use drums are around 50% of cost of a new drum resulting in significant savings to customer.

It was clear that Marlin have worked very closely with their supply chain to demonstrate that refurbished drums are an economical and environmental viable alternative to buying new drums. The supply chain now fully understands the value in the materials they are using.

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Simon Graham, Managing Director, Marlin Industries Scotland Ltd: ”We are delighted to be confirmed as winners of the VIBES circular economy award. Our business has grown substantially over the past four years and to gain recognition through this award is a tremendous vote of confidence from the organising partners behind VIBES.

While we recognise our achievements to date, our vision for the future development of the company remains constant – maximise the use of existing, minimise the need for new and prevent wastage of natural resources.