Packaging consultancy and manufacturer, Duo recently commemorated its 35th anniversary with an event to remember at its premises in Manchester in July. The day provided an opportunity to celebrate employees and reflect on the business’ growth and success since its conception in 1988.
Staff and their families were served Manchester-themed refreshments and invited to watch artist and performer, Dave Sharp speed paint a masterpiece of King Charles in under ten minutes. The inspiration behind the royal painting and one of Duo’s proudest moments to date was winning the Queen’s Award – now named the King’s Award – for Enterprise in Innovation for its DuoOptipac mailing bag in 2020. The commemorative art will be hung in their community room, The Hive, alongside their award.
Zoe Brimelow, Brand Director at Duo, said: “Reaching our 35th year in packaging is a milestone we’re honoured to have achieved. The business started out with a humble 17 employees and minimal machinery and equipment. Now, the business is thriving with 106 members of staff and some of the UK’s leading brands as loyal customers. The event was a fantastic way to honour our successes over the decades and give special focus to the awarded DuoOptipac product, which was designed and patented by our team. It’s a brilliant example of packaging innovation and the combined effort that goes into developing our leading solutions – a true team endeavour.”
Ten of Duo’s employees were also selected to take part in a speed painting masterclass with Dave, learning step-by-step how to craft a piece of art. One of the ten chosen was John Zlupko, a Conversion Operative and one of the company’s longest-standing employees.
“I joined Duo at the very beginning and I’m proud to have been part of the business for all of its 35 years,” said John, who is due to retire this coming October. “I didn’t expect Duo to be my last job when I joined in 1988, but I couldn’t have asked for a better company to work for. It has always been a forward-thinking business with young, fresh, and innovative ideas that are designed with our customers’ needs front of mind. Being able to celebrate this milestone with colleagues means a lot and I must admit, although I wouldn’t call myself a painter, under Dave’s guidance I’d say it turned out pretty well!”
Duo has achieved some major milestones over the last 35 years. One of its most significant was a £3 million investment in 2022 into its new recycling business in Leeds, Duclo Recycling. It is a dedicated UK recycling site which complements everything Duo has been striving for since it began and helps boost the volume of plastic waste entering closed-loop recycling and in turn high-quality recycled plastic more available to UK manufacturers. The site now has capacity to recycle around 7,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year, with plans to double this in the next year by adding additional kit.
In 2018, 73% of the raw material used by Duo was virgin. Now, thanks to the addition of Duclo Recycling, that figure is now down to 32%, The organisation’s ultimate goal is to close the loop on every part of its processes, to run a completely circular business.
The business is also working on an extension to its factory to accommodate additional machinery, which is due for completion in August 2023.