CSG: Brand Pillar 2 – Heritage

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on October 11th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/brand-pillar-2-heritage/

By now, you may be familiar with CSG’s recent efforts to identify the most important elements that make us what we are – which we’ve called our brand pillars. Last week, we examined our unique approach to customer service. This time, the focus falls on another area that makes CSG so special: our heritage and no examination of CSG’s heritage would be worth reading if it didn’t feature our Chairman and the eldest daughter of our founder, Heather Hart.

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Heather Hart signing a book at this year’s CSG book launch for “The Hart of Waste A History of Cleansing Service Group”.  Photo: CSG

Edgar ‘Bunny’ Hart had started his Hampshire Cleansing Service in 1934, with the purchase of a single tanker and dreams of greater success, which he was busily pursuing several years later when the time came to start a family. Heather was thus born into a household dependent upon the success of a new business in a world shrouded by the uncertainties of war. It’s likely to have been a time which offered more than a little stress to disrupt this domestic idyll but Heather recollects little about her father’s work, back then.

“I remember knowing that my father was ‘back from the office’, when he arrived home but at that age, I didn’t question what that might mean.”

One reason for that may have been that Bunny was also an active member of the Home Guard, tasked with monitoring enemy activity, principally around Britain’s southern coastal towns. The Home Guard may now be inextricable linked with the hapless efforts of ‘Dad’s Army’ but in reality, their role was one which put them in the front line of any threat to occur on British soil.

Another reason why the two Hart daughters were shielded from the family business was the fact that their mother, Margaret was keen to keep the two spheres separate. She always insisted that they would not be forced into the business, by default. It’s something of a stereotype that family businesses are apt to carry discussions readily from the boardroom to the dining room table but if that ever happened in the Hart household, it was only when the girls were absent, a situation made more likely by their attendance at boarding school.

Heather’s first memory of visiting ‘the office’ (CSG’s original site at Botley, Hampshire) came when, aged “between 12 and 14”, she and her younger sister, Hilary rode their ponies there – literally all the way into their father’s office. When one of the ponies did what comes naturally – and what can always be expected of them at such moments – all over the office floor, Heather recalls “Bill Norton from the yard dealt with it”. As unfortunate as the incident was, at least you might conclude that it was the best possible place to have such a waste removal requirement!

By her mid-teens, Heather had become more aware of the nature and culture of her family’s business. At 15, something happened that was to push her further into the world her father had created:

“One of my father’s employees, Rosemary Rogers (always known as “Ro”) decided to marry Bill Voller, one of the drivers. Unfortunately, her parents disapproved of the marriage and let it be known that they would not be attending the wedding. My father offered to attend in support of Rosemary and, as my mother was ill at the time, I was to accompany him.”

Not only did this more closely acquaint Heather with the business, it was also clear that those who worked there were regarded by Bunny as a kind of extended family. It was a formative experience.

Despite her mother’s concerns, Heather later sought to develop her interest in CSG – to Bunny’s great delight – and began to work in the office a few days a week “learning bits and pieces, shadowing Father and reading lots of Directors’ correspondence”. As her compulsion to join the business had been entirely self-generated, her mother was placated. Heather’s involvement therefore seemed to suit everyone.

Within a few years, Heather had become elevated to the Board, already widely experienced and yet, in her own words, “not knowing I was learning – but then I’ve always underestimated my own knowledge”. Around this time, Bunny’s health was beginning to falter but still, Heather had no expectations to succeed him – “it wasn’t in anyone’s mind, certainly not mine. I was in control of the cash book at that time as we did not have an accountant in those days”.

Upon Bunny’s death in 1971, Heather became thrust towards a leadership role, a mere seven years after her first day in work. Heather refers to her status over the next years as a “gap filler”, diverting her attention variously to Human Resources, Sales and gaining British Standards accreditations. As modest as this description sounds, her approach of adding or enhancing systems to produce continuous performance improvements in different areas sound more like the actions of a trouble-shooter, adding value to the business and maintaining the family interest.

Within months, she and CSG would find themselves at the centre of an emergency making national headlines that many observers, Heather included, believed would shape the very future of the whole waste industry.

It was February 1972 and police were called to a site near a children’s playground in Nuneaton to find 36 drums of highly toxic sodium cyanide ash dumped on open ground. The incident made front-page news and resulted in an emergency debate in the House of Commons the next day. Sweetways, a CSG subsidiary had been engaged by the authorities to move the material to our Botley site, where it was safely treated.

MPs were calling for reform of an industry that had failed to prevent an incident that could potentially have resulted in a major tragedy but many in the industry seemed resistant, aware that stronger regulation threatened to disrupt their livelihoods. CSG had to decide if it was better to position itself as a more responsible operator, with the expectation that tougher legislation would gain more business in the longer term, or add its voice to those keen to maintain the status quo. Unanimously, the Board chose the former option, embracing the brave new world of regulation and greater professionalism.

From today’s perspective, it seems as if it was an obvious choice but ours is a perspective shaped, in part, by that decision. It must have taken a great deal of courage to see through the uncertainties and dissenting voices to choose to reject the comfortable certainties of the past and invite a huge level of change, based on little more than a belief that that’s where opportunity lay.

Today, 45 years on, Heather is sanguine about the seismic shift that she and her fellow Board members saw coming.

“I think we all knew there was a need for the industry to be more responsible. The issues we faced were how to achieve that: via what processes and over what timescale? Many of the changes required increased costs or risked turning away business. Of course, we had to make these changes but we also had to remain in the market long enough to see them through.”

History now shows that this single issue heralded many of the changes the waste industry has since undergone: professionalism, consolidation, specialisation, while not alien concepts beforehand, have all become commonplace in the years since 1972.

One thing that hasn’t changed much in all that time is the strong culture within CSG; where employees are still able to think of themselves as part of the ‘extended family’. As in the rest of society, the style has become less deferential, although here too, Heather can claim to have driven this progression.

“My father was always ‘Mr Hart’ and even the Board used to refer to each other in this way. When I started, it was natural to everyone that I’d be greeted ‘Miss Heather’. I was never comfortable with that and preferred just ‘Heather’, so we began to adopt a first-name culture, which still exists today.”

It’s a culture that’s often remarked upon by new starters and it’s one that’s made more evident by the number of people who’ve been on the payroll for twenty, thirty, even fifty years. To Heather, this is more than just a statistic; it’s part of the very essence of CSG.

“The importance of having a mix of different people, with different experiences and backgrounds, each learning from the other, is hugely underestimated.”

Today, CSG has revenues of over £60m and profits of over £4.5m. In such rarefied business circles, the term ‘family business’ is often derided, as shorthand for parochialism or lack of professional impetus. Is CSG really still a family business?

“We’ve always needed professional management at the highest levels – and we’ve backed them – but the involvement of the family adds focus”, Heather insists.

Perhaps the most prominent evidence of CSG’s unique heritage is the Margaret Hart Trust, set up in 1975 by Bunny’s wife, (Heather and Hilary’s mother) as a lasting tribute to CSG’s Founder. The trust was established to provide later-life assistance to any retired CSG employee with over 10 years’ service as well as any current employee who might be long term sick.

“It assists with gardening, stair-lifts, holidays amongst many other things – and we have a lovely party for all those it helps every year, which is great fun. I think its greatest achievement is that it has consistently enabled people to keep living in their own homes for longer. My sister Hilary chairs the Trust and we are both very proud of it.”

CSG has always tried to combine the best of both worlds: the achievement and capability of a dynamic corporation with the lighter touch and firmer identity of a family concern. It’s a rare combination and one that’s a testimony to the vision, not just of the man who started it all, but to his descendants who have worked to retain the essence of that family business, established 83 years ago.

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CSG: Treatment and Recovery

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on September 26th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/treatment-and-recovery/

If you’ve spent any time involved with the Waste industry, it’s a fairly safe bet that you’ll be familiar with the Waste Hierarchy.  As long ago (or as relatively recently, depending upon your viewpoint) as the 1970s, the time came for waste to cease to be thought of as something you could just ‘throw away’ – which usually meant simply burying it or burning it (and burying what was left).  Disposal as a default method had finally become seen as unsustainable.

In 1975, the EU – or the EEC as it was, back then – announced a directive, which sought to rank the options available to minimise the creation and impact of waste.  Like most directives, its guideline status meant that it could easily be ignored and, by and large, it was.  Fourteen years later, the idea was revisited and drawn up into a hierarchy of management actions, to encourage its more widespread use.

waste-hierarchy-2

At the dawn of the 1990s, the concept of recycling began to gain some favour – where conditions allowed – with notable successes in campaigns to use recycled aluminium drinks cans or literature printed on recycled paper but these were examples of ‘soft’ social pressure rather than ‘hard’ legislation taking effect on areas that were, technically speaking, arguably ‘easy wins’.

Only by the turn of the millennium were the principles espoused by the hierarchy finally drafted into UK law, a quarter of a century after the concept was first proposed.  To put that into perspective, when in 1998, ‘Bob the Builder’ was first broadcast, encouraging children to “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle”, the mantra was still officially nothing more than an idealistic guideline.

Of course, in the years since then, legal expectations and waste practices have changed almost beyond recognition; the industry has had to re-invent itself from one that largely just ‘got rid of’ waste to one that was willing to go to ever-greater lengths to find a way to reclaim it in one way or another.  The relative inertia of the 25 years beforehand has been well and truly washed away with a growing tide of ever-more stringent waste regulations in the 17 years of the 21st century.

Jen Cartmell, our Operations Manager, based at our Cadishead facility explains further:

“Higher landfill taxes not only had the effect of calming the demand for simple disposal but they also encouraged operators to develop alternative solutions and created the conditions for them to invest in those alternatives.  That, combined with the higher standards expected of those who make money from waste has led to a far more professional industry today.”

Following on from those ‘easy wins’ of the 1990s, the move to expand the scope of treatment and recovery has led to ever-more intricate processes to extract reclaimed materials in one way or another.  Inevitably, the ubiquity and the residual value of oil has led to oil recovery being one of the most lucrative areas in this burgeoning sector, a logical development reflected in CSG’s strategy by our acquisition of Willacy Oil Services in 2015.

With the industry’s successes in extracting waste oil for re-refinery, together with the growing capability for separating precious metals from waste streams to create a ‘circular economy’, it’s tempting to think of waste treatment and recovery as a modern-day form of alchemy, the mythical ancient art of turning base metals into gold.  For centuries, many cultures have tried in vain to find a process to do just that. Are we, figuratively speaking, now at that point with a large proportion of our waste?

A qualified chemist, Jen is quick to point out the limitations. Treatment processes are vital to recovering the material but they’re only one part of the equation – and very often, the easiest part.

“In order to have a truly viable treatment and recovery capability, you need three things. First, a guaranteed supply of a particular waste stream, in which there is little variability of supply or composition; second a reliable, process which efficiently allows the material to be recovered in a re-usable state; and third a market for that recovered material.  Even if you’ve mastered the recovery process itself, if you can’t guarantee a steady stream to apply it to, you can’t make the investments needed to operate it and, obviously, if it’s too difficult to sell what you’ve recovered, it’s clearly not an economically viable proposition.”

Simply put, even if you’ve worked out the ‘how’ to treat and recover, you always have to be able to prove the ‘why’, the commercial incentive to actually do it.  Such pragmatism can seem rather negative but only because it flies in the face of the conventional view that re-cycling is akin to a magic process, capable of solving the world’s consumption needs.  As consumers, we’re invited to buy into that rather simplistic viewpoint because it increases the effectiveness of those ‘easy win’ examples like aluminium and paper.  If you look at these two cases objectively, they’re both perfect examples of the three-stage rule Jen explained – offering a steady supply of waste and a strong demand for the reclaimed matter.  Particularly in the case of paper, if a more digital world significantly reduced the need to buy as much of it, there would be far less incentive for anyone to recycle it.

There are some great examples of advances being made to broaden the principle in other areas – fly ash into bricks and desulphurisation gypsum from power stations into plasterboard.  Here at CSG, we’ve been able to develop commercially-viable methods to treat and recover tanalised timber and recover nickel from aqueous wastes, painstaking methods of recovery to sell to a market that was previously less well-supplied.  Even so, in both cases, the reclaimed products currently struggle to match the success of our subsidiary J&G Environmental which takes large volumes of rejected egg boxes and merely shreds them in order to make them a valuable animal bedding product.  Once again, it proves the process of recovery isn’t everything.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the growth of treatment and recovery is the fact that it’s still in its infancy.  As an industry, we’re only a couple of decades into even entertaining the idea that waste materials can be reclaimed and re-sold – and you could argue that so much has already been achieved.  Future development will not be without its difficulties – Jen is concerned that the suspension of the Environment Agency’s Definition of Waste panel is currently a disincentive for many companies to invest heavily in treatment and recovery research – but history teaches us that commercial imperative is not to be resisted for long.  There are some intriguing areas of opportunity, should the will be there to exploit them, with phosphorous suggested by experts as a particularly lucrative example.  Similarly, a means of more finely treating the waste water system to harness microscopic traces of gold that wash from our jewellery could represent a big enough prize for someone to attempt it.

To take advantage of such imaginative thinking, you have to decide what could be achievable if anything was possible.  Having identified what’s achievable, you then have to decide how you make the technique possible.  Whether in the name of science, discovery or commerce, such ‘blue-sky’ thinking has always been a potent driving force.  It’s a sign of how far the waste industry has come in a relatively short time: two generations ago, it was little more than a dirty job for hardened souls, in two generations’ time, it really could be the preserve of alchemists.

CSG: Brand Pillar 1 – Customer Service

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on September 14th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/brand-pillar-1-customer-service/

You may have read of our recent efforts to define the strongest parts of what makes CSG what it is. After much discussion, we arrived at four distinct elements, what we like to call our ‘brand pillars’ because, together, they hold up everything that CSG does.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to dedicate an entire blogpost to each of the four pillars and first up – arguably in order of importance – is ‘Customer Service’. You may think the way a company treats its customers and responds to them is quite an obvious contributor to their success but if it’s so obvious, why is it that so many of us experience poor service so frequently? What, then, makes it such an indelible part of what CSG does – and why are we so proud of it?

With CSG operating across such a broad range of customer types, the ways in which we’re able provide excellent service can also vary enormously. For example, in the case of our biggest accounts, with huge volumes involved and clarity of purpose vital, the levels of service we promise are often written into our contracts and tenders. Perhaps a more acid test of our ability to offer an unbeatable level of service is in the business-to-consumer (B2C) environment, where we’re usually asked to react quickly to very specific requests by a wide range of consumers, often with very different levels of expectation.

With that in mind, perhaps the best person to ask is Dean Hough, our Telesales Manager, responsible for providing a fast, professional response to all our domestic and small business sewage collection services. He’s the man who’s there to ensure a very specific flavour of ‘CS’ is present within CSG. A veteran of a number of call centres throughout his career, he’s now charged with the task of keeping our B2C customers happy, every time they contact us. How do his objectives here differ from other places he’s worked at?

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Dean Hough, Telesales Manager.  Photo: CSG

“You could say it’s essentially the same requirement: handling calls efficiently in order to make sales but in reality, it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever done before” he says, with disarming candidness. “We tend to have a very distinct type of customer with very specific requirements, which are a world away from those of most call centre-based businesses. For that reason, it would be totally wrong for us simply to copy the techniques of even the most successful call centres. Everything we do has to be right for CSG and the customers we’re here to serve.

It’s true that, due to the vagaries of demographics, our base of domestic sewage customers (owners of houses with septic tanks) tend to be, on average, much older than a standard cross-section of the community. Similarly, such properties tend to be rather more remote than usual and that can uniquely influence the conversation with the customer.

“We’ll generally take maybe five calls a day in which we’re just asked for advice about the customer’s system, its upkeep or when it was last emptied. There’s not always an obvious path to ‘convert’ the call into a sale so we don’t necessarily push the conversation in that direction. It’s important that we help when we’re asked but it’s enough that we’re happy to leave it at that and only ‘make the sale’ when the customer is ready. That sort of thinking would be inconceivable in other industries I’ve worked in, like software or insurance, but what they would feel is right for them isn’t necessarily right for CSG and our customers.”

That’s not to say we ignore the influences of so-called ‘best practice’ of the whole call centre sector. Unsurprisingly, there are areas of Dean’s experience that have been incorporated and tailored to the way CSG deliver service to customers.

“Like any professional organisation, we still have processes and targets but we always ensure they’re done in a completely different tone, with a much lighter touch than the more hardened, clinical style that most people would associate with telephone-based customer contact. We’re very aware that to some of our customers, a call to our sales team may be their only conversation that day.

“Our team come from a variety of backgrounds, not necessarily just sales.  We find a good grounding within the waste industry helps to foster an understanding of and therefore competence in a subject in which they’re being asked to provide assistance.  On top of that, before anyone ever takes a call, we provide a fair amount of training and even arrange for them to spend time out on the road, accompanying our tanker drivers on their rounds.  We’ve long known that if you’ve seen at first hand the day-to-day issues that can create problems, it’s much easier to give the right advice when, for example, access to a septic tank is difficult.  It’s pretty simple, really – you have a better appreciation of what can go wrong if you’ve already seen it in action.  The more appreciation my team has, the less assumption there is – and usually, assumptions lead to problems.”

It’s fair to say that even the briefest look at CSG’s history will show that customer service has always been a strong part of our culture and ethos.  As the person charged with upholding, even improving that long-standing commitment, does he find it a daunting prospect?

“I wouldn’t say so.  I don’t feel under any extra pressure just because CSG’s standards are already so high.  I’m a perfectionist so it’s more the case that my aims and CSG’s are exactly the same.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing to admit that we’re not perfect (yet) and there’s lots of things I’d like to do to keep improving.  I think the fact that CSG is still a family-owned business is a huge reason for its focus on customer service and I’d say that, while it might be easier for me to suggest lots of easier improvements to a less customer-focused business, the flip side is that I’d expect to find it harder to get the backing I’d need to make those improvements.  Here at CSG, that very strong existing focus means that there’s also a much greater willingness to support me in this role – and I find that very motivating.”

Customer service seems a simple enough concept but it’s one that frequently seems to find itself complicated and distorted to meet the eye of the beholder.  What’s the simplest way to define good service, in order to ensure that it can always be assured?

“I think, at its heart, customer service is really a question of empathy – the ability to know what the other person ultimately wants – in some cases, even before they do.  Of course, people are all different so it’s difficult to demonstrate empathy until you know enough about the person, their personality, what situation they’re in, what’s motivating them at that moment.  Even that’s pretty meaningless if there’s nothing you can do with that insight so it’s necessary not to be too governed by hard and fast rules.  Experienced people are always an asset, as is diversity within the team, increasing the ability to view a situation from more than one angle.”

What about internally?  Isn’t there a danger that very existence of a team specialising in customer service can have the adverse effect of implying to the rest of the company that it’s a consideration they can then more easily ignore?

“Whenever we need to take corrective action, we know we need to show empathy not just to the paying customer but also to our internal customers – all the colleagues who rely on each other in order to get the job done well.  Ultimately, we’re all on the same side, trying to achieve the same goal so if something has gone wrong and needs to be put right; failure is failure and we have to take ownership of that.  That sort of terrible side-effect doesn’t happen when there’s good communication and everyone is dealing with each other in the way they would expect to be dealt with.  We often say we’re ‘Working together for you’ and it’s not just a strapline – we really are.”

In the end, for all the well-intentioned ideas, the refusal to limit to ‘wrap-up’ time (the amount of time spent talking at the end of a call, after the sale) or the removal of counter-productive individual incentives, numbers will still prove the success of the strategy.  Customer retention rates, longevity, average life-time value are all longer-term measures of customer behaviour that almost define the very point of offering an unbeatable ability to meet and exceed expectations, consistently.   Customer service is not really about what it achieves today but what it continues to enable in future.  In an era where we’re used to demanding and delivering instant gratification, it’s worth remembering that its true value is one that arrives very steadily, over time.

CSG: A ‘Brand’ New Outlook

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on August 22nd 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/a-brand-new-outlook/

Over the last year, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about CSG, what it means, what it stands for and what it is that sets us apart from our competitors.

Technically, you could call it a re-branding exercise but you might forgive us for being a little hesitant to use that phrase in public because the very term ‘rebranding’ has, ironically, something of a brand problem of its own.

There have been rather too many examples of companies being too keen to press the ‘re-brand’ button, without really seeming to understand why it was needed – or why change isn’t always better. Particularly horrific examples include the British Airways ‘ethnic’ tailfin liveries, which caused huge controversy in 1997 when they were announced – a decision that was promptly reversed just four years later. Equally cringe-worthy was the débacle that was the decision to re-name the Royal Mail ‘Consignia’ in 2001. It was only a year later that the new name was ‘consigned’ to history.

Why the history lesson? Principally to assure you that our exercise is nothing like those (in)famous branding mis-fires. We’re certainly not considering changing our name to some meaningless term or messing with our visual branding to the point where we become unrecognisable.

Our intention was to establish the things we’re strongest at and put them at the forefront of our identity – which is just an exercise in common sense, when you think about it. Land Rover never seem to miss a chance to tell you how good their vehicles are off-road and why shouldn’t they – it’s their very reason for being! We’re very aware that all our customers have a choice of waste partner and only by presenting ourselves in the best way possible can we hope to become – or remain – your first choice.

With all that in mind, we spent many hours discussing the most fundamental aspects of CSG, with a view to agreeing our absolute core values that are demonstrably part of our make-up. Here’s what we agreed on:

Customer Service

We pride ourselves in our commitment to our customers old and new. Maintaining a high quality service and working to provide solutions that are both sustainable and productive. We aim to offer a value for money service and are always willing to go the extra mile to develop customer relations and remain engaged with our customers’ needs.

People

Our people are what enable us to offer our high quality services. We help build people and teams to work together, take pride in their work and offer opportunities where we can help promote the best in each and every employee. In turn, we can pride ourselves on delivering a first class service; knowing we have aimed to achieve our very best.

Innovation

As our industry grows we are facing more challenges; looking at new ways to help protect the environment and ultimately ourselves. This in turn offers us opportunities to push the boundaries and grow. Finding new processes, investing in research and development and increasing our technological infrastructure relays a pioneering and competitive service.

Heritage

Building the very best from our valued past, to develop a continued successful future. Over 80 years of growth and development has allowed CSG to become one the UK’s largest privately-owned waste management companies and we will continue to use our past and deep rooted heritage to drive our progression.

Together, we refer to these values as our four ‘pillars’, as they uphold everything we do and all that we seek to achieve. Having identified them, the next challenge is to prove that this is more than mere “marketing fluff” and that we consistently represent each of these pillars in all that we do.

With that in mind, we’ll be blogging in greater depth about Customer Service, People, Innovation and Heritage in the coming months. You’ll also recognise their influence in our new website and our new video, both due for launch later this year. As any cattle-brander already knows, the exercise only works properly when you have a lot of irons in the fire.

CSG: Coming Soon… A Site to Behold

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on August 15th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/coming-soon-a-site-to-behold/

At the recent launch of the new edition of the CSG book, ‘The Hart of Waste’, much was made of the fact that there’s a new CSG website in production – including a snazzy new corporate video! We thought it was time to ask around and find out more. Here’s what we learned…

First of all, the new website is on schedule and is expected to ‘go live’ “before the end of the year”. The edition of the site it replaces will have been in use for over seven years – which is a long time in ‘website years’. If popular myth has it that that you multiply a dog’s age by seven to arrive at a ‘dog years’ age, then perhaps it’s fair to raise the factor to fourteen in the case of websites. Whichever way you dress it up, the conclusion is the same: the site is in need of an update.

Since 2010, there’s been an explosion in web browsing from hand-held devices and websites today simply have to look as good and behave as well, whether you’re using a smartphone, a tablet or a desktop computer to browse it. It’s therefore no surprise that the new site will be ‘responsive’ – i.e. the site responds to the screen requirements of each device used to view it – unlike the 2010 edition.

In an industry such as ours where so much of what we do is guided by changes in legislation and process, there’s an almost constant stream of updates to keep on top of, which means that the new site will contain even more information. At last count, we expect there to be around 15,000 words, spread across over a hundred pages but who knows how much this could rise to?

It’s not all about the written word, though. We’re very mindful of the stats we’ve seen that emphasise the value of multimedia elements such as imagery and video on keeping web browsers interested (or ‘engaged’ to use the tech term), which is why we’ve spent so much time and effort creating and capturing what we do in order to present ourselves as professionally and as engagingly as we can.

As we’re already doing with our Oil Monster site, we’re keen to harness the interactive power of the web. Instead of the site merely being a means to put information before the visitor, there will be the facility to order and enquire directly to our Sales team, via a simple online form. You won’t just be able to ‘read’ or ‘watch’ – you’ll be able to ‘do’!

Finally (well, probably not finally, but this is the last of the information we could get at this stage), the new site will be heavily influenced by the recent branding work we’ve done and will be designed to reinforce the ‘four pillars’ of what we believe CSG to embody: Customer Service, People, Innovation and Heritage. It’s no surprise that, having put so much effort into defining what we stand for so strongly, we should then reinforce those principles in our website – so that’s what we’ll do!

We expect there’ll be other improvements too but that’s all we can tell you for now. As with all these things, the number one question you’ll have is “when?” but with all the work involved, that’s always the hardest to confirm. “Later this year” is the best answer we could get but you can be sure that as soon as we have more specific information than that, we’ll share it with you!

Watch this space….

CSG: The Beat of a Different Drum

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on August 10th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/the-beat-of-a-different-drum/

For decades, CSG subsidiary Willacy Oil Services has been one of the leading providers of specialist oil storage cleaning services in the UK.  From their Flintshire headquarters, close to the huge Stanlow oil refinery, they quickly established a reputation as reliable exponents of oil recovery and sludge stabilisation – a reputation that soon spread to many of the UK’s other refineries.

Within a few short years, their reputation spread further and by 1998, Willacy’s services were required at the Mongstat refinery in Norway.  A year later, a call came from Australia to perform their services at a refinery there.  With a significant proportion of their revenue starting to come from overseas clients, the company was becoming truly international.

In 2008, Willacy were asked to lend their cleaning services to the Petrotrin refinery on the island of Trinidad.  Since then, work there has become a regular fixture on their calendar.  Trinidad and Tobago has a long association with petrochemicals – the distinctive sound of the steelpan in calypso music was defined in part by the availability of oil drums there in the early twentieth century.

Similar in capacity to Grangemouth (at around 200,000 barrels per day), the refinery operates in one of the most oil-rich areas of the world.  It surprises many to learn that, over the last seven years, neighbouring Venezuela has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the country with the highest level of ‘proven reserves’, as defined by OPEC.  Clearly, it’s an important area for Willacy to prove their capability.

Petrotrin is also the only oil refinery in the world that sits next to a wildlife park, the Pointe a Pierre Wildfowl Trust.  As you’d imagine, this adds a level of sensitivity, which has obvious ramifications on the way they must operate.  For almost a decade, Willacy have been a key partner to helping them maintain this important balance.

Gavin Lucas, Willacy’s General Manager explains how this responsibility is fulfilled and co-ordinated, over 4,000 miles away from their head office.

“We maintain a team in Trinidad, led by Keith Walker, who has twenty years’ experience, working in the Caribbean.  Just as we would do for a UK client, we build the machinery here, mostly centrifuge and de-watering systems.  In their case, we then fly it out there, where it lives and is maintained.”

Over the years, the teams on both sides of the Atlantic have become as adept at remote management as they are at waste oil recovery, a task made slightly easier as communication technology has continued to shrink the world.  There are still factors to consider, British workers are given regular downtime to return home and, as in many other oil hot-spots around the world, worker security is an ever-present issue.

The work at Petrotrin has always been important in its own right but additionally, it has proven Willacy’s capability to offer long-term strategic partnership in far-flung places.  Similar work in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and other Middle-Eastern countries has arisen as a result.

Back at home, CSG & Willacy are currently developing their offering, spreading their talents across other sectors in the UK.  You can be sure it won’t take long for them to transfer that knowledge and capability to another willing client thousands of miles away from their Sandycroft base, a service that, like the steelpan, can be traced back to its Trinidadian roots.

CSG: Cheryl West – Assessing What Matters

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on July 20th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/cheryl-west-assessing-what-matters/

This time last year, Cheryl West was, like most working mums, occupied with dividing her attentions between her work, family and friends.  With three school-age children and a demanding job as CSG’s Technical Waste Assessor, at our Cadishead depot, she knew all about the difficulties of maintaining a suitable work-life balance – but something was to change her perspective so significantly, it led her to do things she never thought possible.

Seven years previously, she’d struck up a friendship with Angela Sharples, another of the mums at her daughter’s school and the two soon became best friends.  Unfortunately, Angela was diagnosed with cancer but after treatment, seemed to have successfully fought it off.  In September 2016, she found out that it had spread to her liver. In November, Angela died.

Jolted by such a sharp reminder of mortality, the effect on Cheryl was immediate.  “Angela had been a runner, was adventurous and visited places like New York and Las Vegas. I felt I had to do something like that so I bought a bike that week.  I had no idea what I was going to do but I needed to do something.”

Initially, the plan was to participate with her friend, Carolyn, in the London to Brighton ride (54 miles, done in one day) but when Carolyn suggested they opted instead for London to Paris (280 miles, done over four days), Cheryl agreed.  “I didn’t really give the distance much thought – I just thought they were both a long way”.

By Christmas, their place on the ride was booked and from January, Cheryl started her training with Saturday rides.  “I hadn’t ridden a bike for about ten years and had never ridden a road bike before.  The first time out, I did about a hundred yards and just thought ‘No’.  I had no idea about where to ride so I rode around a circuit in a housing estate again and again and did about four miles.  I wasn’t particularly confident.”

Despite her perseverance, Cheryl knew she was doing things the hard way and joined Breeze, a ladies-only cycling group for beginners.  “I was soon doing eight-mile rides, the group was helping me and my confidence was much higher.”

As the weeks wore on, Cheryl had raised her level to participating in 16-mile rides, was introduced to the Bury Clarion Cycling Club and invited on a 30-mile ride.  By March, she’d participated in a ladies’ night ride around Bury in support of Bury Hospice – a distance of 60 miles – and booked herself on a training weekend, which involved 90 miles of riding.  Clearly, the cycling bug had struck.

In early June, she completed the ‘Tour de Manc’, around 64 miles: “That was hard – the first 20 miles were flat, then came the hills…”, before the time came to take on the London to Paris ride, broken into four days between June 22nd and 25th: London to Dover (followed by a ferry crossing to Calais), Calais to Abbeville, Abbeville to Beauvais and Beauvais to Paris. “I didn’t know what to expect in France.  There were hills but they didn’t seem the same – they seemed easier than at home.  There was some great scenery, some pretty villages, especially Beauvais, and it was amazing to ride along the Seine.  Wherever we went, there was lots of support.”

And then, of course, came Paris.  Like the Tour de France, the ride was to hold its closing stages along the famous Champs-Élysées, a route which involves some particularly unfriendly cobbled areas.  Unlike, ‘le Tour’, Cheryl’s finish involved negotiating the traffic – and the whims of Parisian drivers – around the Arc de Triomphe.  If you’ve ever driven around that part of Paris, you may find that fact alone as impressive as the achievement of cycling almost 300 miles in four days!

Having completed her mission, Cheryl is well on the way to raising £2,500 for Bolton Hospice, in memory of Angela – with CSG pleased to contribute £500 towards her target.  Seemingly, she’s undergone a lifestyle transformation to achieve her goal and honour her friend.  Does this mean she’ll be back to do it all again next year?

“No.  The thing I learnt most from Angela is to do different things, find new experiences. When I spoke to older riders, it struck me how many stories they had to tell, how varied their experiences were.  Carolyn and I only have this experience so we decided that if we do something different every year, in a few years’ time, we’ll have that level of experience. We may do another ride – we’ve looked at one in Italy but I’m not sure about all the hills! One thing we are going to do next year is kayaking in the fjords of Norway.  I’ll still have my beach holidays but I’ve decided that we need to do different things as well.”

Before all that, Cheryl will be back in the saddle to do a 100-mile ride around the North West of England in September, another challenge that requires a level of training – with an unforeseen bonus: “My middle daughter, who’s a good swimmer, has become interested in cycling.  If she wants to start riding, I’ll certainly be glad of another training partner!”

It’s no exaggeration to use the phrase ‘life-changing’ to describe Cheryl’s experiences of the past year.  Through tragedy, she’s gained a new perspective, raised thousands for charity and given inspiration from a friend’s memory.  “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” sang John Lennon in ‘Beautiful Boy’, his ode to his son, Sean.  In her efforts to commemorate Angela’s example, Cheryl has broken the cycle of work and home and, through her efforts, reminded us that we all need to make time to live.  C’est la vie…

CSG: The Hart Of Waste

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on July 12th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/the-hart-of-waste/

The great and the good of CSG gathered in a Hampshire hotel recently to celebrate another landmark occasion in the company’s long and illustrious history.

The cause for celebration was the launch of CSG’s second book, ‘The Hart of Waste’, an updated history of the company founded by Edgar ‘Bunny’ Hart in 1934. As with the previous book on CSG, ‘Waste Matters’, published in 2002, the new book was written by Nigel Watson, an accomplished writer and corporate historian.

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The guests gathered at the Solent Hotel, close to CSG’s Fareham head office at the end of the day.  The fact that our AGM had been held that afternoon meant that many important stakeholders could be present.  One such luminary was CSG’s former Managing Director, Ken Pee, who’d flown in from his home in Cyprus for the occasion.

After a convivial drinks reception, we were invited into the function room and entered a room dressed with CSG branding, a projector and screen and, of course, a table groaning under the weight of numerous copies of the new book.  Many guests filtered into the theatre seating area while others chose to stand towards the back of the room while they waited for proceedings to start.

First to speak was Heather Hart, CSG’s Chair and Bunny’s daughter, who welcomed the assembled throng and explained how it was that this second book came to be commissioned – a conversation over a glass of wine, on holiday with her sister, Hilary.

In historical terms, it may seem that fifteen years is a barely significant interlude but such is the pace of change in all areas of life, a mere decade and a half seems like half a lifetime away, particularly in some aspects of life. For example, a quick Google search uncovers an article in which 2002 was predicted to be “the year of Broadband Britain” – which means most people were still accessing the internet by dial-up modems. In fact, Google itself was only four years old, back then and as likely to be the search engine of choice for most people as Yahoo, Excite or Alta Vista – remember them? Facebook didn’t even exist (Mark Zuckerburg enrolled at Harvard in 2002 on his way to creating thefacebook, as it was once known) so social networking and social media were little more than concepts. It really was a very different world.

In the world of waste, the pace of change has been just as bewildering. A veritable slew of legislation in the last fifteen years has led to innumerable disposal practices that were commonplace in 2002 becoming outlawed – each requiring a more professional, more regulated technique of treatment. It may be ‘only fifteen years’ but in truth, it’s easily enough to warrant an entire re-telling of the official story of CSG.

Having given some insight into the creation of the book and with all the right people thanked for their participation and assistance, Heather passed the microphone to Neil Richards, CSG’s ebullient Managing Director. Neil paid particular tribute to the unique way that CSG is run, a reliance on self-sufficiency and a faith in old-fashioned values that encourages a sense of belonging and shared purpose amongst all who join the business.

Neil referred to the very distinct culture at CSG, a careful mix of the familiarity of family businesses with the professionalism of large corporations. It’s certainly no accident that the new book carefully inter-weaves pages of every element of the current CSG team all the way along the company’s timeline of events throughout its 170-odd pages and it perfectly reflects Neil’s words.

The evening was rounded off by a sneak preview of CSG’s new company video (more on that, later this year) before the books on display were given to each of those present. Many even took the opportunity to ask Heather to sign their copy – which she was delighted to do.

As the conversations carried on around the room and into the night, there was a clear sense that the launch of a book charting a company’s history was, far from being merely a documentary of the past, more a starting point to the next chapter in the remarkable story of success that all started with one man’s dream.

CSG: Putting a Good Spin on Wastewater

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on July 3rd 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/putting-a-good-spin-on-wastewater/

Centrifugal force is one of the more entertaining laws of physics. Many of us have swung a bucket of water around our heads (hopefully, without spilling any) in an attempt to impress small children – indeed you may even remember it being demonstrated to you when you were young. Later on, you may have been amazed to watch the ‘wall of death’ motorcycle stunt in which a rider emerges unscathed after riding a motorbike around the vertical wall of a circular pit.

For die-hard devotees, there’s even a fairground ride, the fearsome ‘Hearts & Diamonds’, where brave souls stand unharnessed in a giant circular cage, to be whizzed around such that the entire cage can be rotated to almost 90 degrees. The sight of 50 or so screaming people seemingly stuck to the walls of an oversized washing machine drum is something that tends to live long in the memory, acting as a firm inspiration either to ‘definitely’ or ‘never’ try it for yourself. Either way, most people would agree that watching it is more fun than your average physics lesson.

When it’s not thrilling funfair riders on a Saturday night, centrifugal force has a day job – and it’s one that we really couldn’t do without: separating solid matter from water. Many industries use large quantities of water to carry out a number of processes, whether it’s washing potatoes or to apply a glossy coating to some types of paper. Having completed its process, the watery substance can’t simply be flushed away. It needs to have the solids removed – which has the secondary benefit that the water is left in a re-usable state.

How do you reliably remove potato earth or kaolin paper gloss (or a multitude of other substances) once it’s been mixed with water? You’ve guessed it – a centrifuge, albeit quite a specific type, much more sophisticated than the ‘washing machine drum’ you might initially imagine.

With such a significant demand and in so many places, it’s no surprise that there’s a need for a fleet of the things, with different capabilities and all able to visit your site in order to do their thing. In recent years, CSG have developed their oil-based expertise and have become a leading exponent of cleansing and clarifying fluids in the water-based world.

CSG’s selection of mobile centrifuges are available for hire, lease or even purchase. They can take upto 98% of the solid matter out of its watery suspension, which as a minimum, leads to its more efficient disposal or, in some cases, enables the only way to dispose legally.

With throughput rates of 20,000 litres up to 60,000 litres per hour achievable with some machines, they can guzzle through some serious quantities of sludge – and very often, they need to, as some customers require entire lagoons to be cleaned. Lagoon-clearance is a significant undertaking that may even require a roving dredger or a floating pontoon to literally suck the matter from the lagoon floor and pump it to the centrifuge at the waterside to separate it from the water.

With so many different kinds of application, surely there are limits to the types of location that such sensitive machinery can be taken to. Not so, says Pete Smith, CSG’s Technical Sales expert:

“Many of our most remote locations are at drinking water treatment sites, which can only be reached down quite winding lanes. Our biggest machines are transported on 30-foot trailers so if the lanes are too narrow or if there isn’t room to turn the vehicle around, we can send smaller systems, which will fit in the back of a van.”

The equipment is designed well enough that it can be operated with minimal training, although an experienced CSG operator is an optional extra to whoever wishes to hire it. Pete is keen to point out that ‘cleaning’ water does not make it potable, suitable for drinking, merely clean enough to be regarded as re-usable or fit for discharge.

Whatever the type of customer, their application and whatever the specific type of solid matter, CSG seem to have a centrifuge and a method for the job. While techniques can change significantly if the matter is coarser (grains of sand or grit) or finer (dissolved powders), the primary principle is always the power of separation afforded by centrifugal force, perhaps also the most environmentally-friendly law of physics.

CSG: Action at ‘The Bourne Community’

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on June 21st 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/action-at-the-bourne-community/

CSG were recently pleased to present the River Bourne Community Farm in Salisbury, Wiltshire with a funding boost of £20,000.

The contribution was made via the Landfill Communities Fund, an innovative scheme, which incentivises operators of landfill sites to work closely with and provide financial assistance to environmental projects in nearby areas.

Established in 2010, the River Bourne Community Farm is 63 acres of land adjoining the River Bourne and has developed into a sustainable working farm, supported by staff and by volunteers. It is a ‘Community Interest Company’ designed specifically to operate for the benefit of the community rather than shareholders.

It provides a resource for local education, as both a venue for school visits and also as a place of learning for BTEC students. Describing itself as “a 1960s working farm”, it places particular emphasis on its sustainability and ecologically sound practices – which were central to farming at that time, before the era of agricultural intensification.

The money will be put towards the cost of the farm’s new purpose-built café. It’s expected that a warmer, more comfortable place to offer refreshments (made with good, wholesome ingredients, of course) will not only increase revenues but also improve visitors’ experience, resulting in more visits!

Currently, the farm’s café operates from a portacabin. As you would expect, the new building will have impeccable environmental credentials. It will be an insulated timber-frame cabin, designed to fit in with its surroundings, offering accessibility to all its visitors. Work started in the spring and it’s expected that the new café will be opened in the autumn.

River Bourne’s Farm Office Manger Jane Wilkinson explained further:

“We are so excited about the prospect of a purpose-built community café. Our families and other visitors are really looking forward to a bit of warmth and comfort! The cafe will play an important part in farm operations and will contribute to the future sustainability of the farm.”

CSG are proud to be associated with this wonderful project and wish the River Bourne Community Farm every success! If you’re ever in the Salisbury area, we recommend you pay them a visit!

CSG: In A Positive Place

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 19th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/in-a-positive-place/

The concept of apprenticeship seems to be a strangely controversial one. We often hear how, in “the good old days”, being an apprentice was admired as the only way to enter a trade and how it combined on-the-job learning with real-life values of respect and professional conduct – something worth preserving, you’d think.

And yet a quick Google news search on the subject throws up a myriad of pages that are anywhere between lukewarm and critical of the Government’s latest initiative, the Apprenticeship Levy, with fears of flawed planning, spiralling costs, even job losses all being cited. It all seems as if the merits of apprenticeship are in danger of being forgotten amongst all the doom-mongering, hidden-agenda crossfire.

Daniel Fairhurst is a real-world reminder of what this is all about. At 19, he’d already started to gain experience of electrical work, with seven months with a council housing company in Salford, working on refurbishments. As with many a 19 year-old, thrust into a shop-floor environment, he describes his younger self as quiet and shy. Aside from learning the ropes from older, more experienced colleagues, he quickly understood that the less technical aspects of the job were just as important: “the tenants were still living in the houses while I was working on them – which made things interesting from time to time. One time, there was a guy hiding in his mum’s loft, on the run from the Police!”

After accidentally landing a job at CSG (he’d handed in his CV to a lady at a nearby company who’d happened to pass it to her husband, working at Cadishead), Dan was enrolled on three-year apprenticeship programme, which incorporated City & Guilds and NVQ qualifications with Salford College.c

Earlier this year, Dan, now 22, completed the programme and gained his Level 2 & 3 qualifications. Three years into his career with CSG, he’s come a long way from the quiet lad who joined the company.

“I’m definitely more confident when I’m in work. Obviously, I’m more confident about the stuff I’m qualified in but I also trust my common sense a lot more and I feel more able to show the real side of my personality. Usually, when there’s an issue with any machinery on site, it’s down to us in the Electrical team to diagnose it. If it’s a purely electrical situation, we’ll deal with it. Sometimes, there might also be a mechanical aspect, which I’ll pass on to the Engineering team but I’ll let them know what I think it is and what I think they should do. We like to keep Engineering on their toes – and we know they’ll give it us back if they get a chance. There’s a lot of black humour involved but it’s a positive part of the job and it keeps you sharp. There’s a kudos to being able to say ‘I spotted this’ – and I like being right! I’m very competitive: a poor loser and an even worse winner.”

In many ways, this is a part of apprenticeship that’s just as important as gaining the formal knowledge and experience required to do the job. While it can easily be dismissed as unproductive ‘banter’, the dynamics of working closely with other people, other departments and other companies, each with their differing rules of engagement, encourage a set of soft skills that are often just as useful as those that require a qualification. Words like ‘rapport’ and ‘negotiation’ can often seem like old-fashioned notions from a time when tasks weren’t so process-driven and people were often expected to ‘wing it’ to get the job done.

Today, we’re often conditioned to view any departure from process as a failure – and in lots of cases they are – but that’s not to say that the older values are out-dated. In fact, the opposite is probably true: if it’s true that fewer people today rely on softer skills such as empathy, humour and building rapport, those who can utilise them will stand out more prominently.

Every time Dan is called to a job at Cadishead, whether it’s a £150,000 metal recycling baler or a malfunctioning kettle, he’s not just assessing the electrical considerations (although that’s obviously the most basic requirement), he’s also balancing the priority of the job to the company, compared to the rest of that day’s workload, he’s working within set operational parameters, particularly those of Health & Safety and he’s trying to meet the immediate needs of the person or people most closely affected.

In short, he has the capacity to be everyone’s friend – even though circumstances can often dictate that he has to disappoint someone. I made a point of asking how much of all of that was covered in his coursework. “There’s always a Health & Safety aspect to any of the work we do so I’d say we covered that but the rest of it is just up to me to use my common sense”

Far from merely being ‘common sense’ the world of work is now beginning to value soft skills and encourage their development. Like the very concept of apprenticeship, where values were passed down for centuries before the idea seemed to fall out of favour and then, with recent initiatives, began to experience a renaissance, even common sense itself has become recognised as not being common enough, in need of passing on, in all its various forms. The wheel has turned full circle, it seems.

In fact, for Dan, it keeps turning. With one programme completed, he’s about to embark on the next one, an Apprenticeship Levy-funded HNC in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Trafford College. It’s a sign of his growing development and importance to CSG but it’s also an opportunity for which he’s “particularly grateful”.

Away from work, Dan keeps up his competitive streak at the gym. But when time allows, he’s a keen attendee of various festivals around the country and expects one day to make his way round Europe to some of the biggest festivals in the world. He’s made a habit in recent years of spending St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, which sounds like a mission not for the faint-hearted! He’d also like to set his sights further at some stage, with Australia on his bucket list of destinations.

In the meantime, he’s working on his next target, which is to live “for at least a couple of years” right in the centre of Manchester – just as soon as his student mates graduate and start earning money! I put it to him that it sounds like something similar to the setting of ‘Friends’ – and if so, which character would that make him? We’d already discussed a love of food so the instant answer came as no surprise – “Joey!”

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“How you doin’?”

Dan is a perfect example of the benefits of apprenticeship – to employer and employee alike. His growing skill set, encouraged by further learning and day-to-day experience in a nurturing environment are just what CSG and, by extension, any company, should hope to gain from the principle. It’s also encouraging to think that across the country, the Apprenticeship Levy is encouraging the next wave of skilled workers, just like Dan and definitely not, as the song says, “stuck in second gear”.

CSG: Click Here For More Understanding

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 15th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/click-here-for-more-understanding/

We were pleased to welcome a new member of the team to our Cadishead office, last month. Daryl Tunningley joins us as a Marketing Executive, giving particular focus to our online activities.

Daryl, 26, hails from York and grew up around one of Britain’s most picturesque cities, although he jokes that the downside to all that historic splendour is that “you spend a lot of time dodging the tourists!”

He began his career curating website content at Persimmon, the house builder, at their Leeds office. Before long, he’d developed the role to such a degree that he became their Marketing Co-ordinator. “I just developed an aptitude for marketing, combining my writing skills with an appreciation for good design but above all, applying common sense and logical thinking to make improvements based on what the analysis was telling me.”

Marketing is a field which has attracted some strong stereotypes over the years, with many still believing it to be the domain of brash, risk-taking ‘Mad Men’ types, too often full of their own self-importance. In fact, in most companies, day-to-day marketing has undergone something of a quiet revolution over the last decade. Since the arrival of the Internet, search engines and, more particularly, social media, it’s now a department awash with very detailed performance data, measuring every click and every view of every piece of content available. Someone has to sift through this tidal wave of information and turn it all into knowledge, which in turn informs the strategy.

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A typical analytics dashboard, showing a tiny fraction of the data available to today’s marketing teams.   Photo: www.kaushik.net

You sense this is a role perfectly suited to Daryl. He speaks precisely and unhurriedly, favouring clarity over brevity, suggesting a level of thoroughness that the marketing dinosaurs of the past would find irksome. “I like the fact that my role gives me an end-to-end view of the whole business. This gives me a better chance to understand every part of the process and ensure I can support each one in the best way possible.”

Daryl’s capability for self-teaching is not restricted to his working life: he plays his Fender Jaguar electric guitar “when I can”; his musical ability another product of his auto-didacticism. He also reads widely, with particular interest in Science Fiction and History, “mostly European and any period from Medieval to Modern. I find it fascinating to see how – and why – it is that we are where we are at this point in time.”

Perhaps most surprisingly, Daryl’s embrace of the world of social media comes to an end when it’s time to go home. “I don’t engage in social media at all in a personal capacity”, he tells me, which at first seems an odd paradox but on explanation, becomes perfectly logical. “I remember hearing once that ‘chefs never cook’ and that explains how I feel about it. Social media is a powerful tool but I view it as a means to lead people to the content on our site. The analytical aspect of it all is the most interesting feature for me.”

His next big project is to co-ordinate the design and build of the new CSG website, in production later this year. Needless to say, the ability of the site to provide as much meaningful data as possible will be at the top of his wish-list.

In the meantime, he’s still in the process of increasing CSG’s reporting capability and analytics. If you happen to be the first person who’s taken the time to read as far as this, the last sentence of this blogpost, he’ll probably know all about it.

CSG: Confined Spaces, 25 Places

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 10th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/confined-spaces-25-places/

Earlier this year, 25 of our team underwent training to enable them to work safely and correctly in confined spaces.

Confined Spaces Regulations have been in force since 1997 and are designed to protect workers from the risks associated with working in areas defined as ‘substantially enclosed’, such as a lack of oxygen, amongst a host of other dangers.

The course covered the potential hazards of working in confined spaces, explored the precautionary measures that are available and looked at how those factors combined to inform risk assessment. It also included modules on gas detection and the use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and escape apparatus.

Finally, there was a chance to put the theory into practice with a practical exercise, in which the trainees had to physically enter and get out of a confined space before a selection of multiple-choice questions at the end of the day.

“The training was necessary to ensure that we reinforce a safe system of working in such a potentially hazardous area, while of course continuing to meet our obligations to our employees and the law.  With all that in mind, we considered the day to have been a tremendous success” said Sarah Taylor, Compliance Manager at CSG’s Manchester operational facility.

This was one of a number of training initiatives undertaken by CSG this year, demonstrating our commitment to continually raise our standards by investing in our fantastic team.

 

 

CSG: Going With The Flow

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on April 27th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/going-with-the-flow/

Brett Ashton is a difficult man to pin down. I called his mobile one morning to discuss this article, only to be met with the reply “Sorry, I’ll have to do this another time – I’m in a nuclear power station”.  As conversation-stoppers go, it’s a pretty good one so we rescheduled at a later date.

Of course the reason Brett can be so elusive is that he’s simply just so busy. As Engineering Supervisor for CSG, he brings an extensive knowledge of pumps and pumping – an ideal specialism as moving liquids is a mainstay of our services. He alternates his time, seemingly daily, between our Head Office in Fareham and any of a number of sites that he oversees.

Service and Maintenance team based at our Head Office in Fareham. Brett Ashton far left.

“I’m really a troubleshooter”, he explains to me, when we find a more appropriate time to speak.  “I carry out the surveys, examine the data, provide the quotes and source the parts.  I do still get my hands dirty but I’m really here to pass on my knowledge when it’s required.”

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Naval life is a great preparation for a career in engineering.  Image: Paul Bentham

Aged 32, he started his career in the Royal Navy, not uncommonly for a son of Portsmouth, and served for two years as an Engineer, mostly aboard HMS Manchester.  Thereafter, he worked in London, maintaining pumps for a variety of clients: “hotels, department stores, fast-food restaurants; mostly heating systems but all pretty similar pumping requirements”.

For the last four years, he’s applied his specialist knowledge here at CSG. He patiently explains the rudiments of pumping: “you’re either looking to get the right level of flow (in litres per minute) or the right distance, which is represented as a curve on a graph.  The complicated bit is when you need to move the curve with the current you have”.

Slowly, it dawns that ‘current’ and ‘flow’ are not interchangeable terms.  ‘Flow’ refers to the liquid motion but the ‘current’ is of the electrical variety, the means of powering the whole operation. Brett casually confirms the realisation “I’m actually a trained plumber and a qualified electrician, which is funny really because usually, they don’t get on!”

Confident and yet self-effacing, he certainly doesn’t give the impression of a person given to internal struggle but his point is well observed – anyone who’s worked on a building site will know the two trades can be capable of mixing about as harmoniously as… well, electricity and water.

It’s certainly not a job for people who don’t like exams.  Brett has had to undertake confined space training, is a qualified slinger and banksman and is UKPIA-accrediated to work on a forecourt.  He’s recently added to this roster by taking a Level 2 & 3 City & Guilds qualification to bolster his electrician’s credentials.  “It involved two years of travelling to London for weekends and a lot of A-level maths!”

Perhaps the most enviable aspect of Brett’s work is the wide variety of places it takes him to.  Aside from his regular presence at that nuclear power station he’s responsible for operations at schools, Forestry Commission sites, RAF barracks and even TV and Film Studios. As it’s a working studios, you have to check your mobile phone in at the front desk because there’s a strict ‘no photography’ policy – so there’s no chance of a selfie with any of the film stars you might come across!”

Occasional brushes with celebrity are nice enough but they pale in comparison to ensuring a job is well done.  Brett explains how smarter technology is helping him to do exactly that.  “Many of our pump stations now have a smart element to them.  This means that not only do they monitor the levels and spot a fault, they can diagnose the problem and email the client and the team here at CSG.  Now, we often don’t need to send out an engineer to look at what’s going on, which is more efficient all round and saves the client money.”

Unsurprisingly, for someone so busy, Brett remains just as active outside of work.  A black belt at karate at the age of 13, he also boxed for the Navy at Lightweight (60Kg). Running and weight-training burn off whatever excess energy remains at the end of the day.

Perhaps the most surprising part of our discussion comes when he declares he’s a big fan of rugby league, in particular the Leeds Rhinos.  Portsmouth is a long way from the sport’s M62-corridor heartland and over 250 miles from Leeds so why the affiliation?  “My Dad used to play for Leeds – when they were just called Leeds – so that’s the main reason but I’d still far rather watch a game of rugby league over union and I try to get up to Headingley to watch a game, when I can.”

What does the future hold for this rugby-league-supporting ex-serviceman of many talents?  “I’ve always preferred to see money as a means to travel rather than just owning stuff and I would like to see more of the world but with a young daughter at the moment, we can’t be too ambitious”.  It’s clear that, sooner or later, this elusive engineer is hoping to be even harder to pin down – for a few weeks of the year, at least!

CSG: Customer Service? Ask The Experts!

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on April 21st 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/customer-service-ask-the-experts/

The data is in and we’re pleased to see our customer service targets (for our domestic customers) being met and in some cases, exceeded!

Being a customer-focused organisation, we’re keen to see what we do well and where we can improve so we make a point of asking the best experts we can find – customers! A short survey after every septic tank clean gives us the opportunity to see how well we’re really doing at keeping them happy. It’s also proven to be a great way to get ideas to improve what we do.

In February, we saw that 96.3% of our domestic customers surveyed marked us with a 7 or above (out of 10) to the question “How likely would you be to recommend CSG to others?”, a fantastic achievement, we’re sure you’ll agree. In March that same measure actually went up to 96.8%!

It was the same story for higher scores, with February’s level of 10-out-of-10s (68.8%) being eclipsed by the level in March (77.4%). It all points to greater satisfaction – which is the key here because nobody is likely to recommend a service with which they are anything less than satisfied!

We believe that recommendation is the highest accolade we can aim to achieve from our customers so to see such a huge proportion of those we surveyed stating they’re highly likely to recommend us is a wonderful endorsement of our services.

Of course, having set such a high benchmark, the challenge now is to ensure such standards are at least maintained and, if possible, improved further. We can also drill into the data for each of our depots to see how and if the story changes from one to the other.

Waste management is an industry not particularly known for embracing such ‘soft’ ideas as customer service and feedback and we feel especially keen to ensure that CSG remains committed to listening to all our customers and doing all we can to continue to improve our image and appeal to everyone we serve.

CSG: CSG Fleet Grows Again

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on April 19th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/475-2/

CSG acquired two more tankers in March, bringing the total number of tankers in our fleet to 46 across all our brands. Four more will be added this year to bring the total to 50 and will bring to a conclusion the £6million roll-out plan of new vehicles we’ve enacted over the last three years.

The tankers are a mix of Scania and DAF chassis cabs but all feature tanks made by Whale, a specialist manufacturer in Solihull. As you’d expect, we have sizeable service packages with Scania, DAF and Whale to ensure all aspects of the vehicles are taken care of.

It all means we’ve never had more vehicles on the road, ensuring that we have more capability than ever before to respond quickly whenever you need us! It’s a far cry from the fleet of one, the 800-gallon Dennis tanker, bought by our founder Edgar ‘Bunny’ Hart when he created the company 83 years ago.

We certainly work our vehicles hard and, over time – the tanks they incorporate are still going strong even when the chassis cabs have accumulated too many miles for us to continue to use. When this happens, we remount the tanks onto new chassis cabs.

As we mark the end of this phase of planning and determine the success of our current capability, we will embark on the next phase of planning to ensure that we continue to provide the capability and service you can expect of CSG – and remain at your disposal!

CSG: Looking Good For Comic Relief!

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on March 31st 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/looking-good-for-comic-relief/

The team at our site in Cadishead, Manchester were invited to brighten up the office on Red Nose Day 2017 and once again, they didn’t disappoint – the office was certainly brighter!!

The twist this time was to ‘dress from the decade you were born in’ – so there was a wide mix of styles on show, from Flower Power-inspired 60s outfits to 90s shell suits. Whatever the decade, each outfit was equally garish and they all required the same level of commitment to helping good causes to pull off.

Regular readers of this blog will know that such events are a common feature of life at CSG and among the many ways we have demonstrated our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.

As ever, we’d like to thank all those who participated for their efforts and their donations – and we invite you to donate to Comic Relief to help them with their ongoing efforts.

Thank you.

CSG: Exhibiting Our Knowledge

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on March 29th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/exhibiting-our-knowledge/

CSG were out and about recently, when we exhibited at Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK. We were one of around 800 exhibitors promoting goods and services to thousands of visitors from dozens of industries from 21st to 23rd March.

The event took place in a purpose-built 18,000 sq m venue at Farnborough, Hampshire – also the home of the world-famous Farnborough International Airshow – and only 40 miles from our Head Office in Fareham.

“We found it was a great opportunity for us to make contact with so many companies from all over the South, to inform them of our services, explain how we’re here to help them tackle their growing waste obligations and suggest ways for them to increase the amount of recycling and recovery options we can provide” said Louise Holgate, Marketing Manager, once the show had finished.

A large number of the CSG team were on hand across the three days to offer their combined expertise to a wide variety of companies, some of whom are fully aware of their waste responsibilities and others who are new to the many issues involved with processing waste effectively and legally. Whatever the circumstances, we were happy to offer our help and advice.

After three days of standing and talking (which never sounds like it’s a particularly difficult task until you come to do it), we packed up the stand and got back into our normal routine. We came away with sore feet, hoarse voices and a long list of people to contact to see in the coming weeks, to put our words into more meaningful actions and, of course, add another satisfied CSG customer to those we already have!

CSG: To Boldly Clean Where No Man Has Cleaned Before

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on March 15th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/to-boldly-clean-where-no-man-has-cleaned-before/ 

On an unremarkable industrial estate just past Queensferry in North Wales, less than a mile from the English border, lies an operation that can claim to be at the very frontier of industrial cleaning.

w1
Photo: CSG

Willacy Oil was established in 1989 by George Willacy to clean the parts of the oil industry that other cleansing companies couldn’t reach. If you’re familiar with that part of the world, you’ll know it’s dominated by the huge Stanlow refinery, the second-largest in the UK. It’s not surprising that as specialist a service as this should have flourished in such an important petrochemical area.

Over the years, Willacy’s excellence in cleaning tanks and lagoons of waste oil and sludge meant that their reputation grew far and wide. As a result, they found their services were required around the world. How these tasks are performed, often in restricted areas, hazardous to humans, requires a level of technology that’s the envy of many an overgrown schoolboy and was enough to persuade CSG to add Willacy Oil Services to our growing roster of businesses back in early 2015.

The tour of the facility starts in one of the workshops. Various machine parts await installation or servicing. The surroundings are clean and organised, slightly more ‘lived in’ than the clinical minimalism of a Formula 1 garage, but certainly a world away from the greasy, blackened den that many people might expect to see.

My guide is Mike Evans, affable and knowledgeable in equal measure. He patiently explains the intricate details of the processes and parameters of a screw pump that’s currently being installed onto one of the machines in the second, larger workshop. In theory, safely removing large quantities of toxic sludge is a simple enough process – it’s only incredibly difficult in practice.

In a far corner sits a tracked machine, partly dismantled, looking like a more agricultural version of ‘Johnny 5’ of ‘Short Circuit’, the 80s family film. In reality, the machines used for these ‘special ops’ cleaning missions are more akin to the army’s remote-controlled devices for de-fusing bombs as they perform the very manual task of sludge-clearing without the need for a human to be there. When you consider the fact that many of the jobs they’re required to do will be in areas that offer poor access, poor lighting and ventilation and may involve harmful substances, it’s clear that there are serious safety reasons for all this technology and it’s far more necessary than merely an excuse to indulge a wish to use remote-controlled toys.

In addition, tank-cleaning can be an eye-wateringly expensive overhead for the client to absorb, especially when you consider the impact that downtime can have on profits. For this reason, it’s a task that may only be done every ten to fifteen years for any given tank. With such high stakes, the job has to be done perfectly and as quickly as possible, however unfavourable the conditions may be.

Willacy’s machines are not just made here at Sandycroft, they’re constantly being maintained, serviced, modified and re-fit in an effort to continually increase their capabilities. Through a strict adherence to the Continual Improvement Process, it may be said that Willacy’s machines have actually evolved over time to become better adapted to work more efficiently in their various environments. Not for the first time, it strikes me how similar all of this is to the hit TV show ‘Robot Wars’.

As we continued around the yard, we encountered an array of similar-looking, subtly different machines, each suited to its own particular task. Open-air lagoon cleaners can be taller and are liable to be utterly submerged while closed tank cleaners must maximise their access capability by being reducing height as much as possible. Pumping capabilities differ, as do the snow-plough-like sludge-pushing attachments.

Of course, where oil is concerned, getting the troublesome sludge out of the tank is only half the exercise. Next, it has to be re-processed, which means pumping it to another, rather anonymous-looking, machine. To most people, it’s a blue box; to anyone who knows anything about the process, it’s very obviously a centrifuge.

A centrifuge is necessary to spin the waste matter around and split any residual oil from all the clogging sediment. Again, it’s easy to be misled by all the chunky machinery – it may all look rather unsophisticated to the untrained eye but in practice, it’s vital to know what type of oil is being reclaimed because each variant will have very specific settings in the centrifuge to physically coax it away from the unhelpful foreign solids. Depending upon the oil type, the centrifuge is set to a specific number of revolutions per minute (rpm) – just like you’d choose a particular setting for a spin cycle to suit absorbent woollens or more water-resistant polyesters.

Having been successfully separated, the reclaimed oil is sent to be re-refined (yes, that is the correct term) while the sediment cake is correctly disposed of. The client now has a clean tank, which can be thrust back into action and a quantity of valuable oil back in a usable state.

There are wider opportunities to utilise many of these techniques beyond the oil industry, with water-based cleansing being the most obvious application. Originally referred to simply as ‘non-oil’, this may be the sector that affords Willacy the greatest opportunities for growth.

It’s easy to see why the oil market alone has served Willacy so well over the years but it’s also interesting to learn that they’re constantly embracing technology to ensure their services are as sought-after as ever in other markets. Mike shows me their latest innovation – a water-based variation of Sonar-mapping device which can show, to within a centimetre, how deep the sludge is, and how evenly spread, within a tank.

“The original sonar device [known as SPOT – Sludge Profiler for Oil Tanks] was developed around 1996 so it’s been around for 20 years – and has been tweaked and improved during this period”, Mike explains. “Our latest innovation is a re-development of the original SPOT technology – which was designed for oil within enclosed crude oil tanks – to apply it to water environments. The sonar tool and software can now be used to map the levels of sludge at the bottom of lagoons, interceptor bays, or any other open stretches of water where there may be forms of sludge or waste settled. This will help us diversify and use our skills and knowledge developed and gained within the oil industry and adapt that into water and other industries.”

The more the client knows about the scale of their sludge problem, the better able they are to manage their assets. The need to monitor sludge levels isn’t new but the technology allows a far safer and more accurate means of testing than the old-fashioned ‘person with a stick’ method.

Another sign of Willacy’s eye on the future comes in the form of their new website, currently still in development but due to be launched in the next month or so. You can be sure there’ll be an announcement as soon as the site goes live!

Whatever the future holds, you can be sure that with CSG’s dynamism and Willacy’s focus on excellence, the innovations that originated in this unassuming Deeside facility will continue to impress clients around the world for many years to come.

 

CSG: 45 Years on – CSG to the Rescue!

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on March 2nd 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/45-years-on-csg-to-the-rescue/ 

1972 was a hugely significant year for the waste industry. It was a year when operators were forced to act far more responsibly in their disposal of hazardous waste. It took an incident that made national headlines to bring about these changes, an incident that CSG helped bring to a safe resolution.

On February 24th 1972, thirty-six drums containing sodium cyanide ash were discovered at a disused brickworks, near a children’s play area in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. ‘KILLER DRUMS DUMPED ON PLAYGROUND’ screamed the headline on the front cover of the Daily Mirror the next day – and for good reason.

Sodium cyanide is described as one of the most rapidly acting of all poisons, with an oral dosage of only 200mg (equivalent to a headache tablet) liable to be fatal. The consequences of this volume of such a dangerous substance being exposed to the surrounding environment were dire.

Thankfully, a local resident notified the police and the authorities contacted Sweetways, a subsidiary of CSG, to remove and process the hazardous cargo. Nigel Watson takes up the story in his 2002 book on CSG, ‘Waste Matters’:

“Sweetways driver, Bill Bailey, was given a police escort for his journey to the site, such was the urgency given to the incident. The drums were rolled into a demountable container, stored safely overnight at the Evesham depot and sent for treatment and safe disposal…in Botley the next day. The whole episode was conducted under the attentive gaze of the BBC, ITV and the national press.”

Waste Line 1972
The Spring 1972 issue of ‘Waste Line’, CSG’s newsletter.  Photo: CSG Archive

A mere twenty-four hours after the cyanide was found, the matter was raised in Parliament, as recorded by Hansard:

“The Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Peter Walker): Preliminary investigations suggest that between 3 p.m. on 23rd February and 9 a.m. on 24th February, 36 drums containing sodium cyanide ash were dumped on a site forming part of a disused brick clay workings near Bermuda village, Nuneaton. The drums were found by a local resident and the police were informed. The drums were guarded while police investigations were commenced and arrangements made by the local authority with a firm of waste disposal contractors for the dumped material to be removed to a treatment plant near Southampton.

The waste was loaded on to a covered vehicle by 9 p.m. on 24th February and the vehicle was kept overnight in the firm’s Evesham depot. The vehicle was expected to arrive at Southampton by about 10.30 a.m. today. There it will be examined and the appropriate action taken to treat the substances contained in the barrels.”

One MP reacted to the inclusion of ‘Southampton’ (used as a signifier for CSG’s Botley depot) and was moved to ask if this referred to the port, concerned that the waste would be dumped at sea. The Environment Secretary’s reply, designed to allay that fear, was little short of a ringing endorsement of CSG from the Her Majesty’s Government:

“The reason the material has been sent to Southampton is that there is the best place to treat this kind of matter.”

As the debate continued, Sir Bernard Braine, the newly-knighted member for South East Essex, who would later become Father of the House raised a point that would sow the seeds of change across an entire industry:

“Is my right hon. Friend aware that responsible elements in the waste disposal industry—and they constitute the majority—would welcome the earliest possible introduction of legislation with real teeth in order to ensure that practices of this kind are stopped for all time?”

And so, in the light of an incident that could very easily have become a terrible tragedy, the issue of responsible treatment of hazardous waste was given a high priority by Parliament, resulting, weeks later, in the Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act (1972).

As Sir Bernard Braine had astutely recognised, the legislation served to level the playing field between responsible operators in the waste industry and those who chose to cut corners without regard to the consequences. This in turn had the effect of legitimising the industry by removing it of the unscrupulous element that had damaged its reputation. Further regulation also meant that waste would become a growth industry, something which has continued to this day.

It was little more than fate that saw CSG thrust, briefly, into the national gaze to help effectively dispose of the dumped cyanide at Nuneaton in February 1972. In the years that followed, the benefits CSG experienced in an industry that suddenly required professionalism and respectability more were nothing to do with good fortune and everything to do with being determined to act responsibly and correctly at all times. It’s a lesson that’s as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.

CSG: Is Your Septic Tank 2020-Ready?

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on February 28th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/is-your-septic-tank-2020-ready/

If you have a property with a septic tank, there are some upcoming changes to the law that may affect you – and time is running out for you to comply with them.

By 1st January 2020, septic tanks will now longer be allowed to discharge directly to a surface water such as a river or a stream. Septic tanks that currently discharge via a drainage field into the ground are not expected to be affected.

If your septic tank is currently discharging directly into a surface water, doing nothing means you will find yourself in breach of the regulations from 2020. To stay on the right side of your legal requirement, you could choose any of the following alternatives (which may or may not be available to you):

  • Connect your existing septic tank to a mains sewer
  • Install a drainage field and divert your existing septic tank to discharge to ground
  • Replace your septic tank with a small sewage treatment plant

In each case, there are issues to consider and certain conditions to satisfy.

Connection to a mains sewer

Most people only opt to use a septic tank or similar because there isn’t a nearby mains sewer to connect to so it’s unlikely this will be a viable option to many. If you’re not familiar with the full history of the property, this could be an area to examine. Your local water company will be able to confirm whether or not connection to a mains sewer is a workable solution for you. For new developments, you may be compelled to use public sewers, if they’re close enough.

Install a drainage field

This is potentially the easiest way to get around the legislation, it’s an option if you have access to enough suitable land to provide the soakaway. You must also use a system that meets the BS 6297:2007 standard.

DSC_0178
If you have access to enough suitable land, you can install a drainage field to disperse your septic tank liquids.  Photo: Paul Bentham

Replace your septic tank with a treatment system

This is probably the most likely outcome for all owners of the soon-to-be-outlawed systems, which discharge to a surface water. Your new system will need to be specified correctly with the right capacity for the levels of usage you have and must meet the BS EN 12566 standard. Once installed, the new treatment system must be regularly emptied and maintained.

You may think that, once one of the above alternatives is in place, your obligations are met but if you go on to sell the property before 2020, you must disclose to the new owner/operator a written description of the way sewage from the property is removed – with details of the new drainage system or treatment plant – together with any manuals and maintenance records.

As always, there are a number of further restrictions and exemptions that may apply. If this rule change applies to your property, we’re happy to help you decide what to do next and, of course, The Environment Agency are always on hand to help.

CSG: A Greater Focus on Health & Safety

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on February 23rd 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/a-greater-focus-on-health-safety/ 

CSG recently welcomed Kevin Mooney to our ranks, in the role of Health & Safety Manager. It’s an appointment that highlights the paramount importance of the health and safety of our staff, our trading partners and everyone else with whom we come into contact.

Kevin joins us from Pentalver Transport, part of the Maersk empire and has 26 years’ experience to bring to bear, including 14 years as Manager. In a role where everything has to be done right, all the time, across a wide variety of sites and jobs, how does he begin to shoulder such a responsibility?

“I have a competence in safety management that comes from real-life experience, which gives me the confidence to make the decisions I need to make to do my job. Years ago, when I was a truck driver, I saw loads fall and learned from those situations.

“The variety of the role isn’t a problem because my job isn’t necessarily about knowing every situation but knowing where to find out everything I need to know. That means a lot of research and planning.”

It’s not difficult in any organisation to find people who’ll bemoan ‘Health & Safety’ for restricting mundane activities like lifting a box of paper or carrying too many cups of tea but that’s because its also easy to overlook why the need to ensure worker safety exists – and that means looking at a time when the concept was almost unheard of.

 

forth-bridge-2012
Photo: Paul Bentham

 

In the eight years between 1882 and 1890, when the Forth Bridge was being built, at least 57 people died and an undocumented number were left with disabilities. In a world without any formal Health & Safety obligations, the construction companies who build the 360-foot tall structure had one rule to prevent accidents in such a hazardous environment: any man seen with his hands in his pockets would be fired immediately. There were no harnesses, no safety nets and, aside from the provision of waterproof clothes and boots, the only other concession to safety was a small fleet of rowing boats beneath the bridge – who saved eight fallen workers from drowning. In all, there were over 26,000 entries in the log book of accidents and sicknesses.

Such frightening statistics show how far we’ve come as a society and remind us that the occasional frustration today is merely a sign that today’s employers simply can’t tolerate anything that threatens the welfare of anyone, be they employees, contractors or anyone else towards whom companies have a duty of care.

“As a person, I’m not risk-averse” Kevin adds, which may be surprising to anyone unwilling to look beyond the stereotype. “I’ve raced motorcycles and broken many bones while doing it. These days, I spend most of my weekends restoring my MG BGT, so I’m practical and I know how to get my hands dirty. Doing my job, you’re always well aware that it’s not enough to simply write the rules; I also need to ensure I maintain a culture of acceptance. If everyone buys in to a safety culture, that alone makes everything safer.”

At CSG, we’ve always taken our responsibilities seriously. With such a variety of hazardous environments to manage, and with ever-tighter regulations, it became necessary to further strengthen our already capable function. Aside from Kevin’s role, we’ve also added two new compliance officers and we’re working towards gaining Occupational Health & Safety Management 18001 status across all of our sites.

CSG: Creature Comfort

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on February 17th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/creature-comfort/ 

‘It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good’, as the old saying goes but in the world of recycling, such a sentiment is little short of a mindset. Any form of consumption or manufacture that produces a by-product or other waste is simply an opportunity to provide a benefit elsewhere. If it can’t do that, then it truly is an ‘ill wind’.

So it is the case with JeeGee bedding, made by J&G Environmental, a member of the CSG family of companies. For eight years, it has successfully turned waste cardboard into an effective bedding for stabled animals, mainly horses. Highly absorbent and producing very little dust, as any horse owner will tell you, makes it an ideal bedding substance for any equine.

In recent months, J&G Environmental has agreed a contract with a manufacturer of egg trays to make an even softer, almost dust-free variant of JeeGee bedding from their rejected, unused egg trays. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of shredded egg trays to make up a 20kg bale of JeeGee bedding but they’re made in such vast quantities that even a tiny proportion of rejected trays soon requires that they’re put to some use. To the manufacturer, even their rejected goods can still have a value and to J&G, it’s an exclusive source of materials that are perfectly suited to the purpose.

Of course, horses are well used to sleeping in the recycled waste goods from human civilisation. For as long as recorded time can tell, straw, that well-known by-product of harvested grain, has provided warmth, comfort and sewage absorption to domesticated horses all over the world. Being a biodegradable product itself, it then goes on to fulfil a third role after its use on a stable floor as a base for plant fertiliser. It’s a ‘circle of life’ thing, you might say. The only downside to this centuries-old arrangement is that straw can be quite dusty and for some horses, this can be a problem.

In more recent times, many horse owners have preferred another by-product, wood shavings and sawdust, to do this job. Generally more absorbent than straw and usually producing less dust, shavings offer a more effective option, even if they tend to command a higher price.

Compared to these more traditional alternatives, JeeGee bedding continues the evolution, being described as even more absorbent and almost dust-free. One customer even remarked that her pony, who suffers from laminitis (a condition in which an inability to tolerate carbohydrates and sugars can result in severe foot soreness), found the softer surface much more comfortable to stand on. Another advantage over straw and shavings is that it’s much less likely to stick to your clothes when you spread it around the stable. When you have to do this several times a week, such a minor thing can become a real annoyance!

Bagged at J&G’s site in Blandford, Dorset, JeeGee bedding is sold locally in the area via JeeGee’s Facebook page. As the previous level of cardboard recycling did not require the products to be sold any further afield, there hasn’t been any wider distribution than that. With the success of the egg tray product, it’s likely that that may have to change. J&G will be happy to provide a quote to deliver any quantity of either bedding to any address – obviously the further away from Dorset, the more expensive it’s likely to be.

To coin a new saying, ‘you can’t make top quality horse bedding without breaking up a few egg trays’…

 

Nigel and Kimble.jpg
Photo: Paul Bentham

 

CSG: Kind Hearts this Valentine’s Day

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on February 14th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/kind-hearts-this-valentines-day/ 

Whatever happened to Valentine’s Day? Do you remember the special thrill of an unknown admirer professing their anonymous, unrequited affection? Remember how such a simple gesture meant so much more than any flowers or cuddly toy?

This year, CSG decided to make Valentine’s Day mean something more than just cheesy rhymes and sparkly helium balloons by turning it into a fundraising day – with the proceeds going, appropriately, to the British Heart Foundation.

The team at CSG’s Sales Office in Cadishead, near Manchester took part in a ‘wear something red’ dress-down day and were encouraged to channel their inner Mary Berry and bake something suitably themed for a cake sale.

Together, the activities managed to raise £73.22 to donate to a cause that fights one of Britain’s biggest threats to life.

As you know, CSG are no strangers to charitable initiatives and regularly support a variety of causes in a number of ways. Days such as this raise money but also add a sense of fun to the workplace.

To contribute to the British Heart Foundation, go to https://www.bhf.org.uk

CSG: How a Septic Tank Really Works

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on February 9th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/how-a-septic-tank-really-works/

You may not have given much thought to the way your septic tank works – which is fine as long as it is working – but knowing just a little can help you ensure that it remains in good order for many years to come.

Okay, here’s the really basic information, which most people already know:

  • Human waste contains harmful bacteria and can be a means of spreading viruses. Throughout human history – and in developing countries today – the source of some of the greatest threats to life has come from diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, which are transmitted via human waste.
  • Most houses or buildings with waste facilities like toilets discharge their waste directly into the main system of sewerage drains allowing the immediate removal of sewage to a place where it can be treated.
  • A relatively small proportion of properties are not sited closely enough to the network of drains and so have to discharge their waste in other ways. The most common alternative is to use a septic tank.
  • The septic tank’s main purpose is to receive substances such as human waste and hold them such that most of the resultant matter can be allowed to soak away into the surrounding area in a state which is less hazardous to the local environment.

So far, so good but this tends to be where, for most people, the knowledge ends. As we do with so many areas of technology, it’s tempting to see it as a ‘magic box’ that just does what it’s designed to do. How then does it actually work?

The process requires little more than time and what we may call ‘natural processes’ in a sealed environment, which ensures that there is no contamination of the wrong matter.

Essentially, the waste will sort into three states. It just needs to be given enough time to allow it to happen, unhindered. The three states are:

  • As they are denser, gravity dictates that they will settle at the bottom, where they will continue to decompose, which means break down further until they leave a dense sludge.
  • As the solids become denser, the liquid matter separates from it. The more solid separation that occurs, the more safely it can be returned to the surrounding area.
  • The crust is made up mostly of floating fats, oils and grease (and food). This matter collects at the surface of the liquid and should not be discharged with the liquid.

The design of the tank is such that, having enabled the separation of the liquor from the sludge, it allows the liquid matter just beneath the surface (the ‘cleanest’ bit, without the scum) to percolate back into the soil around the tank, the ‘soakaway’ area. Here the cleansing process continues, as the soil itself naturally removes coliform bacteria, viruses and nutrients from the effluent or liquid waste.

For this reason, it’s necessary to see a septic tank as merely the first stage in a process and not the whole solution to the problem of waste processing. Equally, the availability of a suitable soakaway area is just as important as the tank itself.

As the whole process relies on natural decomposition and the power of the soil as a way to treat harmful substances, problems can occur if the waste it treats contains too many chemicals, biological agents or bleaches and with our temperate climate the anaerobic digestion rate is so slow that a septic tank functions much more as a sedimentation tank.

What happens to the three states of matter over time?

With an appropriate level of soakaway area, the liquids will continue to percolate into the soil and harmlessly back into the ecosystem. The chief threat to this may be after periods of extreme wet weather. If ground is already soaked with rainwater, it may lose the capacity to accept effluent, which may bring it to the surface or congest the system, leading to a ‘back-up’ of waste. This problem should never occur as long as the correct soakaway parameters were considered when the septic tank was first installed. Even so, it’s advisable to have a healthy suspicion about this threat whenever there is a sustained period of extremely wet weather.

The scum will remain trapped in the tank as the barrier pipe allows the dispersal of the liquid while stopping the scum or crust entering the soak-away.

Eventually, the level of sludge will build up and begin to compromise the ability of the septic tank to do its job. For optimum efficiency, we advise you to have your septic tank de-sludged regularly in accordance with variables such as how many people live in your household – as this may require you to have it serviced more frequently.

You might have wondered, at the beginning of this blogpost, why on earth you’d ever need to know the inner workings of something that many people may feel is an area best left unexplored but there are many reasons why it’s a good idea that you give some thought to the humble septic tank that spends its life anonymously doing the worst of jobs, hidden away underground.

A little knowledge on the part of every septic tank owner should ensure that it continues to work perfectly – but as many unfortunate people may attest, it’s only when a septic tank stops doing its job as well as it should that it becomes truly appreciated!

CSG: The Erimus Star – Where Oil and Water Mix

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on January 18th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/the-erimus-star-where-oil-and-water-mix/

One of CSG’s more unusual oil disposal services can be found in Middlesbrough, on the river Tees, performing a valuable task at any time of day or night.

The Erimus Star started life as a Dutch barge, converted from her previous life carrying fuel to barges on the Rhine to collecting waste oil discharge from vessels while they’re in port. Once relocated to Teesside, she was renamed in honour of her adopted home: Erimus, Latin for “we shall be” is the motto featured on Middlesbrough’s official coat of arms.

At the helm is the disarmingly cheery Ray Brown, one of the skippers of the Erimus Star for the last eight years. Originally a lorry driver, he answered the call when the position became available, a role he now combines with his HGV duties.

“I hadn’t done much sailing before I started – just a trip on the Norfolk Broads one holiday – but there were so many courses I had to complete in order to qualify to do the job, my level of experience didn’t really matter. I had to do a Power Boating course, a Radio Operator course, a Sea Survival course, a Day Skipper course and a Night Skipper course. Obviously, nothing compares to actually doing the job and of course knowledge of the river is really important, which is something you can only pick up over time. Now I can say I’m an experienced sailor but to be quite honest, I try to avoid boats when I’m on holiday these days!”

It may seem odd that his 56 year-old craft is the best way to retrieve the waste oil discharged by the various boats in dock at Middlesbrough but there’s a perfectly sensible reason for it.

“There’s a lot of Petrochemical plants here and, for safety reasons, motor vehicles are restricted from large parts of those sites. As we can’t use a lorry to tank the oil, it makes sense to do it by boat.”

One area where you can’t expect Ray to offer an easy explanation is if you ask him to describe an ‘average day’ – there isn’t one!

“Everything can be different from one day to the next: the weather, the number of times we’re called out, the size of the boat we’re discharging from and even the amount of notice we get to do it – although that’s usually when someone’s forgotten about discharging their oil until the last minute!” – there’s a distinctly mischievous tone to his voice as he adds the final sentence!

As the world of shipping largely operates around the tides, servicing its requirements is likely to be a 24/7 commitment. “I wasn’t needed this last New Year’s Eve but the year before, I was out on the water at 11pm and two years before that, I was working at 2am on New Year’s Day!”

With such demands, it’s easy to see why Ray has such an easy-going demeanour – it’s impossible to imagine anyone doing his job for so long without his good humour and positivity. “It’s a great job in summer, in the fresh air and good weather but when the wind blows up the river from the North Sea, you’d be surprised how high the waves can be – upto a metre and a half in 40 mile per hour winds. Thankfully, I don’t get seasick but after a full day bobbing up and down, it can be difficult to shake the feeling of constant motion, even hours after getting back on dry land.”

One of his most recent call-outs was to one of the largest vessels to regularly visit Middlesbrough, the MV Sertão, a 60,000-ton, 228m drill ship. “It’s a bit more challenging than usual trying to connect up when their deck is 30m above ours but the hardest task is keeping the lines tight enough for us to stay in place while loosening them enough during the eight hours that it takes to discharge 50,000 litres of waste oil, to stop the extra weight dragging us off-balance.”

Ray’s a fascinating guy who does a job that most people couldn’t imagine, let alone do. Together with his colleagues at CSG Recyc-Oil, he’s responsible for processing over eight million litres of oily waste every year. If you’re ever in Middlesbrough, look out for the Erimus Star operating on the Tees, in the shadow of the famous Transporter Bridge. Whatever the weather, you can be sure ‘we shall be’ there!

CSG turns 83!

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on January 13th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/csg-turns-83/

On 12th January, we celebrated our 83rd birthday – the anniversary of the date when our founder Edgar ‘Bunny’ Hart started trading as the Hampshire Cleansing Service.

As a company, that makes us eight days older than Fujifilm, who were ‘only’ formed on January 20th that year, in Japan.

Needless to say, in all that time, a lot has changed in the world – including our approach to waste management – and we’ve grown steadily over the years to become one of the country’s most respected waste companies.

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Then: The vehicle that started it all: the 800-gallon Dennis tanker that Bunny bought in December 1933

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Now: One of our fleet of over a hundred tankers in its CSG livery

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Then: 1934 Admin. A page from the Hampshire Cleansing Service account book.

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Now: 2017 Admin. Some of our many office-based staff, aided by a huge infrastructure of data and computing power.

It’s a fitting testament to the vision of Bunny Hart and his family who still run CSG today that a company started all those years ago has not only survived but is primed and ready for the challenges of the next 83 years!

Other events that happened in January 1934:

  • Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman died of pneumonia (6th)
  • The Flash Gordon comic strip was first published in the United States (7th)
  • Actor Richard Briers (The Good Life) was born in Surrey (14th)
  • Illustrator Raymond Briggs (The Snowman) was born in Surrey (18th)
  • Actor Tom Baker (Doctor Who) was born in Liverpool (20th)
  • Actor Bill Bixby (The Incredible Hulk) was born in California (22nd)
  • Samuel Goldwyn purchased the film rights to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for $40,000 (26th)
  • Salvador Dali married his muse Gala in Paris (30th)

The Annual CSG Tea Party

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on January 9th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/the-annual-csg-tea-party/

Earlier in 2016, the annual CSG tea party for retired employees took place, our chance to recognise many of the people who have served the company so well over many years.

The tea party is one of a number of services the CSG can offer retired employees as a result of the Margaret Hart Trust, set up in the 1970s by Margaret Hart, the wife of CSG’s founder Bunny Hart.

Their daughter (and current Chair) Heather Hart explained:

“The Trust holds shares in the company so that the dividends can be used to help current and retired employees any way deemed appropriate. My sister Hilary chairs the whole thing and Fred Pothecary and Diane Lane do all the administration – they do great work!”

Here you can see the attendees of this year’s tea party admiring a new vehicle in the car park.

A generation after it was first conceived, Margaret Hart’s far-sighted idea continues to provide help and inclusion to the people that did more than most to make CSG what it is today!

CSG: Merry Christmas from all at CSG

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on December 22nd 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/merry-christmas-from-all-at-csg/

As the year begins to come to a close, it’s time to offer all our customers and friends the compliments of the season.

As you can appreciate, we’ll be operating slightly differently over the festive period but rest assured, we’re still on hand to help for part of the Christmas and New Year holiday. If you need to contact us, our Christmas opening hours can be found here.

Everyone at CSG is looking forward to working with you again in 2017 and continuing to offer you the great service you’ve experienced in 2016.

Until then, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a healthy, happy, cleaner and safer New Year!

CSG: All in Another Good Cause

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on December 16th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/all-in-another-good-cause/

Fresh from their recent Children in Need contributions, CSG’s Sales team went one further, today by supporting Save The Children’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’. Together, they raised £160.00 – just by wearing their favourite festive knitwear to work. What a great effort!

It’s one of a number of ways that CSG are happy to lend support to a wide range of charitable causes. Like many other workplaces, we’re keen to embrace fundraising activities for Comic Relief, Sport Relief, Children in Need, MacMillan Cancer Support and many others on their special fundraising days throughout the year. This is all in addition to our own ethos of Corporate Social Responsibility, which has seen us involved with a number of causes that perhaps don’t hit the headlines as much.

In 2017 we will be looking forward to getting involved in more charitable efforts and doing as much as we can to help the less fortunate.

CSG: Welcome Aboard, Louis!

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on December 13th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/welcome-to-csg-louis/

In October, we were pleased to welcome Louis Spencer to our Sales team at CSG Lanstar at Cadishead, Manchester. A recent Biochemistry graduate of Manchester University, Louis brings a level of technical expertise to our sales function.

Louis’ main responsibilities are outbound sales calls and handling queries from existing customers, combining his knowledge of the chemical processes with the finer points of salesmanship.

“I probably only use my degree knowledge a few times a week but the skills I learned at university have proved most helpful, especially the ability to think analytically”, he explains. He’s engagingly modest about his sales skills but anyone who’s ever worked in outbound sales will know that it’s not something you could ever describe as easy. “Outbound is more challenging’” he agrees “but I find it rewarding when I’m able to help find a solution to a customer’s problem”.

A native of Newbury, Berkshire, Louis chose to stay in Manchester after completing his studies: “I come from a small village in the middle of nowhere so I like the fact there’s lots to do in and around Manchester”. Amongst the ‘lots to do’, he spends lots of spare time sailing, having competed regularly for the University of Manchester Sailing Team.

So, two months in, what are his impressions of working at CSG? “I feel I’ve found my feet now. I like the friendly environment in the office – it’s a good atmosphere. I’d like to continue to improve at what I do and be able to match my more experienced colleagues. I just wish the traffic wasn’t as bad on the way to work every morning!”

If you have a waste collection requirement and you think Louis and his colleagues can help, they’re waiting to hear from you. Give them a call on 0800 116 600.

CSG: Small Waste Oil Burners – Are You Legal?

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on November 30th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/317/

If have a Small Waste Oil Burner (SWOB), aware you aware of the changes to the law permitting their use?

Since 1st April 2016, DEFRA (The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) changed their classification of SWOBs, ruling that they now fall under the Industrial Emissions Directive.

This means that SWOBs are now regarded as small waste incineration plants and, as such, are subject to the same level of regulation. As the costs of complying with this regulation are higher than the level that most users would expect to absorb, it means that for most small businesses, waste oils will need to be sent for recycling via a competent, accredited partner – like Oil Monster!

As this is a legal requirement, companies that do not comply with these revised regulations will be committing an offence, which could lead to action led by the Environment Agency (in England) or Natural Resources Wales. The unregulated use of SWOBs was already banned in Scotland, Northern Ireland and all other EU member states. Non-waste fuels such as gas or fuel oil can still be used.

If you’re still burning waste oil in your oil burner, make sure you stay on the right side of the law. We’ll happily collect your waste oil quickly, sorting out all the legal paperwork – and, if you have a bulk volume, you may even find we’ll pay you for it!

CSG: Autumn ‘Leaves’ its Problem!

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on November 22nd 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/autumn-leaves-its-problem/

Autumn has certainly arrived and as a result, it’s a good time to think about interceptor cleaning for all businesses required to have one on their forecourt. After a mild start to season, in which the leaves tended to stay on the trees, the recent downturn in the weather has led to a massive amount of leaf-fall in a short space of time – which might not be good news for your interceptor.

While the Environment Agency recommends that interceptor cleaning should be undertaken every six months to reduce the probability of blockages, this is clearly a time of year when the potential for blockage is particularly high.

CSG are always on hand to offer an interceptor cleaning service – helping you to avoid contamination or pollution to your business premises or the surrounding area. We can provide a regular annual or bi-annual service, which includes a system of preventative measures for your commercial activity and its location.

We offer experience in all aspects relating to interceptors: emptying, cleaning, jetting, drainage and gully channel clearing as well as maintaining the interceptor’s alarm system, filters and closure systems – ensuring that you are operational all year round

Interceptors are designed to capture water, waste products and oil, but must be cleaned and maintained to ensure their continual optimum performance. Interceptors (sometimes referred to as ‘oil separators’) are found in many locations where there is a risk of oil contamination – including car parks, fuel stations, heavy goods vehicle locations, roadways and other industrial sites.

CSG – The Movie

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on November 18th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/csg-the-movie/

It’s an exciting time for CSG’s Marketing team – not only are we about to publish a much-anticipated revision to our very own hardback corporate history Waste Matters but we’ve decided to add the ‘film’ to the ‘book’ and create our own corporate video too!

In reality, the two projects are almost opposite undertakings. We’ve always felt it important to talk about our heritage – we’ve even gone as far as to make it one of our core values – and a book is a great way to reinforce the sense of continuity and permanence for which we’re so well known. Equally, we have to admit that our strong history, however impressive, isn’t an automatic passport to winning and retaining customers in future.

In order to remain just as relevant, we’ve decided to channel another of our core values: innovation. Not only will the video allow our customers and prospective customers alike to see the inner workings at CSG, it’ll help them appreciate, as we do, that it’s our people who solve their problems and provide the progress they require from us.

It’s fair to say that the waste industry is still very often be seen as the ‘Cinderella’ of the economy – due to its very nature, many decision-makers simply want someone to help them get rid of the substances they’d rather weren’t there. Of course, that’s what we do best but in an era where legislation and procedure has grown massively, it’s fair to say that the knowledge and experience we provide are now as important to our customers as any legal or financial advice they may seek.

Professional-grade advice from the people who “empty the bins”? It might have seemed unthinkable only a couple of decades ago but that’s the reality of today’s waste industry – and that’s what our video will communicate.

CSG: Confessions of a Septic Tank Novice

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on November 11th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/confessions-of-a-septic-tank-novice/

We’re often called to help when someone has had a problem with their septic tank. Our advice to know a little about your system and follow a few simple steps and you should never have to call anyone out to deal with a problem.

Here’s an example from one of our customers. Paul and his wife converted a barn into their home in 2005. With so much to be done, management of their new septic tank seemed like a low priority but sooner or later, it made sense to give more thought to it:

“A few years ago, my wife and I acquired a barn and set about converting it into a home for our young family. While I knew I’d be putting in a lot of hours on the project myself, dealing with all the joiners, the electricians, the plumbers and so on, one thing I barely gave any thought to was the sewage system. We are somewhat ‘off-grid’ so we knew we’d need our own septic tank. When the subject came up, we spoke to our builder, got a spec and bought one (a Klargester BioDisc, I believe). It was installed and it worked. ‘Great’, we thought, ‘job done’ – but we since came to understand that that’s not all there is to it.

You see, unlike the construction, electrics and internal plumbing, which are mostly visible and being consciously used every day, the sewage system is invisible and the, er, use it is put to is generally far removed from our conscious experience of it. That means that, as the years go on, it’s easy to spot any issues or give thought to making improvements to the ‘main’ build but you can be rather ill-prepared in the event of a problem with the sewage system.

Like any form of risk, when you actually start thinking about what can go wrong, bearing in mind the substances involved, you can quickly imagine a nightmare scenario – but that’s not helpful either. What then is the right level of concern to have – and how do you go from naive ignorance, by-pass pointless paranoia and arrive at a sensible level of understanding?

Predictably, common sense is a good start. There are plenty of helpful guides around on the internet to help you understand how septic tanks work and the more you read, the more comfortable you’ll become. Yes you can understand your septic tank’s design a little better but it actually helps most to appreciate that they even have a design – which is to say that they’re not worked by magic and that there are certain things they’re not really designed to do. I’ll avoid being too graphic but a good rule of thumb I’ve read is that “if it hasn’t come out of you, or wasn’t directly involved in the process, it probably shouldn’t go down there”. Sorry ladies, while it kind of sounds like sanitary items are included in that definition, nothing I’ve read has confirmed it – in fact, almost all advice is that they shouldn’t be.

Does that manage to sum up the basics without descending into unseemly technicality?

From there, the other ‘best practice’ aspects are a little more obvious:

  • Sludge will build up and should therefore be removed (every six months, ideally)
  • Bacteria is actually your friend and too much antibacterial matter down the sink will compromise your tank’s effectiveness
  • Liquids should be effectively dissipated over a large area but give some thought of the effects of extremely heavy rain if it ever manages to flood your drainage area. It’s not a nice thought to contemplate the possibility but it’s far better to do that (and have a plan) than to have to deal with the reality

Above all, the knowledge that help is at hand is a great way to remove the majority of the concern. We don’t just foolishly live in fear of ever getting tooth-ache; we appreciate we can’t ever completely remove the risk so we do what regular maintenance we can and engage a dentist to help us. The point is, once we’ve found a professional who can help, most of the concern can, like the waste itself, simply dilute itself away to nothing.”

Have you done a self-build and installed a septic tank just when you’re busy dealing with the rest of the project? If so, have you fully considered the maintenance of your system? As long as you’re not at the point of dealing with a problem, there’s never a bad time to start and remember – we’re here to help!

CSG: iTea and Biscuits

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on November 8th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/itea-and-biscuits/

As you’ll know if you’re reading this blog, waste matters but at CSG, we also know that so do a few other things, such as being a good neighbour – which has led to yet another example of our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.

We were delighted to be involved with an initiative local to our Cadishead site, in which local residents were given the opportunity to get to grips with IT and its many uses. It’s a wonderful idea and it has an equally wonderful name – iTea and Biscuits.

Designed for all ages and abilities, it aims to give people the skills and the confidence to go online, use catch-up TV sites, operate smart devices, exchange email, shop online and much, much more. It’s easy to think of such things as universally available but for a number of people without the most basic IT knowledge to ‘unlock’ the internet, the world can start to become a startlingly unfriendly place. Thankfully, this weekly course, run by the Hamilton Davies Trust is there to change all that and improve the lives of all who attend.

We supplied 3 members of the Cadishead team (Louise Holgate, Peter Chiodo and Sam Bate) to offer their own IT knowledge and experience to the residents on the course – some as old as 90 – which was a task they found to be extremely fulfilling.

It’s a perfect example of how, simply by providing information and a little moral support, we can offer significant benefits to our neighbours in the communities in which we operate.

CSG: Waste Matters More

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on November 2nd 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/waste-matters-more/

In 2002, CSG did something rather amazing and we’re about to do it again! Fourteen years ago, we commissioned Nigel Watson, a respected corporate historian, to write a definitive ‘History of Cleansing Service Group’. In 2016, we’re about to launch the updated version!

The original book was (and still is) an impressive piece of work. As you’d expect, it chronicled the entire lifespan of the company to date in great detail over the 69 years from 1933 to 2002. For context, it also examined the development of the waste industry from its very beginnings and delved into the history of the Hart family, two generations either side of the company’s founder Edgar ‘Bunny’ Hart.

Perhaps of most obvious interest to anyone connected with the waste industry, Waste Matters remains a useful way to communicate our history to our customers in a way that most companies would these days hesitate to choose. Most companies can manage a page on their website entitled ‘Our History’ but how many a proud enough of their heritage to commit it to a physical hardback book that would grace any coffee table?

It’s for this reason that we’ve chosen to update Waste Matters. Fourteen years may not seem all that much over the now 83 years of CSG’s existence but in a fast-moving, environmentally-conscious world where the sustainable treatment of waste has become ever more necessary, even 2002 now seems like a different world. You could say that this revision of not a case merely of ‘More Waste Matters’ but ‘Waste Matters More’.

The new version of the book is currently being compiled and is expected to be in print next year. Look out for an announcement in due course – and, if you’re already a CSG customer, let us know if you’d like a copy!

CSG Attend High Tide Foundation Ball

Posted on http://www.csg.co.uk/blog on October 17th 2016

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/csg-attend-high-tide-foundation-ball/

In September, CSG were proud to attend the prestigious High Tide Foundation Fundraising Ball in the opulent surroundings of Wynyard Hall near Middlesbrough.

Created to improve learning and employment opportunities for the young people of Teesside, the High Tide Foundation hold this annual event as an opportunity to both celebrate the successes of the previous year and to raise money for their various activities in the year ahead.

CSG were pleased to sponsor a table for £1,000 and were represented on the night by Carl Christie, Joanne Bulmer and Craig Dufferwiel. Needless to say, they thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

With a number of significant customers in the area, it’s important that we lend our support to initiatives like this that matter to the places where we work. Of course it’s great for us to make the most of the networking opportunities that such events provide but it’s also important to be part of something that gives opportunities to the next generation of the workforce in that region.

“We’re already looking forward to next year’s Fundraising Ball!” said Carl – and, looking at the pictures of the evening, who can blame him?