After humble beginnings based in Caistor, Lincolnshire, Marmax Recycled Products is now the market leader in quality recycled plastic products and is celebrating 25 years in business. But how did it all start and where are we going next? We tracked down Group Managing Director Matthew Grant to ask him:
What was the first product sold by Marmax?
“Our recycled plastic potato boxes were our first product. I remember the first big order of £12,000 worth of these from Morrisons – it was an amazing day! We reinvested all the money from the first order into further production, and into making display boxes for potatoes as well as those for transportation. In terms of furniture, we launched our still best-selling Heavy Duty Picnic Bench and our Sloper Seat at a similar time – we put these into a pub local to Marmax to try and test them so we could finalise the design before launching to the mass market.”
What did you do when the business first started?
“I worked in the workshop manufacturing the products. Then I found my love for selling, driving around the country with a couple of potato boxes on a trailer, taking them to customers throughout the country! Every order we got, we reinvested further into the company. Eventually in 2001 we were able to purchase the manufacturing site in Stanley, where Marmax remains today.”
How did the company develop from there?
“We started to develop products in conjunction with our clients. Our range of products continues to be a collaborative development based on their feedback. We launched play equipment and playground furniture through catalogues from 2000 onwards, and launched additional colour ranges. In 2005 we produced a mile of boardwalk for a client, and boardwalk continues to be one of our best-selling products today. It’s funny that when we started we thought we’d be producing industrial packaging alongside our parent company, Samuel Grant Packaging – how times have changed, now packaging is only a small part of what we do.”
What have been your highlights?
“In 2009 we received a single order from Morrisons of nearly £2M worth of potato boxes – Now framed on my office wall! It still remains The Samuel Grant Group’s biggest ever single order, and that order alone allowed us to develop our production facility hugely, investing in machinery and staff. Many of the staff are still with us today.”
To what do you owe Marmax’s continued success?
“We pride ourselves on listening to our customers and innovating based on their needs. We think that, coupled with a loyal and dedicated team, has propelled Marmax to the £5M turnover business it is today. Our former Managing Director, Jackie Robshaw, who retired in 2020, was with Marmax for 15 years, and was responsible for a lot of the growth. We now have Dave Johnson at the helm, who is continuing the good work in developing and growing the business.”
Have you got any statistics of how much plastic you’ve saved from landfill to date?
“I love statistics! In 25 years we have recycled 17,550 Tonnes of waste. That’s equivalent to 554,687,500 HDPE milk bottles. If we laid these end to end they’d cover 97,058 miles: that’s more than 4 times round the world!”
So what’s next for Marmax?
“In 2023 we are excited to launch our new Street Furniture range, which will be exhibited at Futurescape in November 2023. We’re expanding our range of fencing, decking and profile, which we are seeing growing demand for as the world moves to a more sustainable future. With our products made from 100% recycled HDPE plastic, we are at the forefront of sustainability, creating durable and maintenance-free products out of materials that might otherwise end up in landfill.”
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Surround yourself with intelligent people and delegate”
How will you celebrate the 25 year anniversary?
“We’re going to have a big giveaway across the next year, giving away one of our products a month to celebrate. For more information on that, see our competition page here https://marmaxproducts.co.uk/25th-birthday/
We’re also taking the team out for a few drinks!”