CSH Environmental - Our Company History
How the sale of mini skips was the start of over 40 years of history, that’s exactly what happened to Terry Slade back in 1981, when a chat about the sale of ten mini skips sparked a business idea. Almost four decades later he and his family are looking back at how it all started.
- Terry says: “My neighbour Des had received a brochure about these skips, plus a unit that helps you lift them onto the back of a transit van. At that time, I was driving long distance, doing one week on and one week off.
- “I thought I could buy these skips and hire them out while I was away, then collect them on my week off.” (He wasn’t to know it then, but that gem of an idea was to prove more successful than he could have ever imagined).
- “My late wife Patricia was certainly very doubtful. She went mad when I ordered an extra ten mini skips while she was at work one day - she thought I’d thrown away our savings.”
- Far from it. Just a few months after that fateful conversation with Des, Terry had quit his driving job and was focusing on his new enterprise, Colchester Mini Skips.
- Indeed, so successful was the business that he didn’t have a day off in seven years, and Patricia gave up her job as a dinner lady to join her husband at work.
- “Our office was half of the dining table at home,” said Terry.
- “Pat used to do the invoices on a sticky old typewriter, and all the money we made went back into the business. I’ve always been very careful with finances, and have never spent money I hadn’t earned first.”
- By the late 1980s, business was booming. Colchester Mini Skips had expanded with the purchase of a similar firm and had changed its name to Colchester Skip Hire:
- It became a family operation when Terry’s then 18-year-old son Mark joined the company as a driver.
- Terry’s daughter Caron also worked at the firm from time to time in an administrative role.
- But business was set to skyrocket even further during the building of the Culver Square Shopping Centre in Colchester.
- “We were awarded the waste management contract for the build. It was our first big contract and really set us on our way.
- “That was when we bought four big lorries and our own premises at Old Packards Lane in Wormingford.
- Mark adds: “We’ve had some other brilliant contracts over the years, including Colchester Police Station and the Garrison, which was the largest building project in the country at the time.”
- It wasn’t long before Terry had to adapt his business to the changing landscape of waste management.
- “The local councils started to charge for the weight of waste rather than the size of the skips, as they had done previously,” he explains. “We realised that the industry was turning more towards recycling, so we obtained one of the first waste transfer licences for recycling from Trading Standards.
- “We extended our workshop to create a picking line and install a trommel system, which separates waste to eliminate the smallest elements.”
- Over the years which have followed, Colchester Skip Hire has revolutionised its operations to put recycling at the forefront of its business; so much so that its name was changed to CSH Environmental in 2013:
- New buildings have been added to the Wormingford site to include a 65,000 square foot materials recovery facility, where 16 pickers sort through tonnes of rubbish to separate paper from plastic, cardboard from plasterboard and more.
- “The expansion of our premises was a game changer and turned us into an environmental business,” said Mark:
- “We now have 32 different products in our sorting system, and export waste to places like Vietnam, Malaysia and Belgium where they become recyclable items.”
- So impressive are the firm’s operations Dubai company Visionscape called upon the team to advise them on a project taking place in Lagos, Nigeria.
- Terry adds: “We’re applying for planning permission for a new 20,000 square foot facility, which will enable us to process plastic recycling even more efficiently:
- “It’s fantastic to see how far we have come since we started with one van and ten skips. I think Pat will be smiling down on us to see where we are now.”
- More than 35 years later, Terry’s business CSH Environmental operates the largest recycling facility in East Anglia, employing 90 people and handling more than 50,000 tonnes of waste every year.
- What’s more, the firm’s constantly evolving methods mean that 99.86 percent of waste collected is now diverted from landfill.
- For more information about CSH Environmental, visit www.cshenvironmental.co.uk