Cover story: Trash Control Ltd

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


Cover story: Trash Control Ltd Cover story: Trash Control Ltd
Cover story: Trash Control Ltd Cover story: Trash Control Ltd
Cover story: Trash Control Ltd Cover story: Trash Control Ltd
Cover story: Trash Control Ltd Cover story: Trash Control Ltd
Cover story: Trash Control Ltd Cover story: Trash Control Ltd

Working from its Bancroft Crescent depot in West Auckland, Trash Control Ltd is owned and operated by the Freeth family

Chris says that Sharon and he started out in business in a property adjacent to the current depot in 1989, although, he adds that he really grew up in the trash and recycling business, as his father owned and operated a number of ex-Auckland City Council compactor rubbish trucks in a company called Freeth Disposals Ltd.

He recalls how his father always made the best use of his innovative mind and innate ability to construct plant and equipment on a shoestring budget.

This ability, he says, allowed his dad to construct rubbish trucks from what were essentially discarded bits of waste themselves.

He says that nothing ever went to waste, even to the point where older trucks in the fleet had their cabs cut off and the tray was turned into a trailer to go behind newer trucks as they were introduced into the fleet.

The spirit of good old Kiwi ingenuity apparently didn't stop there, as Chris recounts how his father didn't want to spend money on expensive hydraulic fluid for his truck's compacting and tipping mechanism, so he poured water into the hydraulic tank and added a small amount of soluble cutting oil to the mix.

The soluble oil he reckoned served the twofold purpose of stopping the steel from rusting and any fluid leaked onto the ground (a common occurrence of the day) was simply washed away with the next rainfall.

Changing times

Chris cringes when he looks back on the not-so-good old days and thinks how health and safety matters were practically non-existent, citing that his first foray into business was made with a Datsun ute that was painted in almost as many colours as it had panels on its cab.

He told DOW of how the ute's carrying capacity simply wasn't big enough to cope with an ever-increasing business load, so he did what any young entrepreneur would do.

He simply placed higher sides on the vehicle—job done!

Trash -control -2

The makeshift sides served the purpose for a while, but it was apparent that the aging Datsun's days were numbered and that it would eventually need to be replaced with a bigger truck.

Not wanting to spend a truckload of money on a replacement vehicle, Chris came across a Daihatsu Delta that had been owned by a well-known haircare products company in Avondale; the only problem was that it had a considerable amount of cab damage to the left-hand side.

The new purchase was taken to Freeth's yard and using skills he'd picked up from working with his father over a period of many years, Chris got to work repairing the door first and proceeding to bend the A-pillar to fit the door.

All that was required after that was to give the truck a new paint job, and he was
onto the next stage of increasing the size of his business empire. It didn't take very long before the Daihatsu Delta, like the Datsun ute before it, became too small to handle the increase in volume, however, this time around it was apparent that fitting the truck with higher sides wouldn't be enough to do the trick, so more desperate measures were the order of the day.

Chris' brother had a two-axle trailer in his yard, and he could see this apparatus filling the bill rather nicely, the only trouble being that when it was put to work, Chris found that the whole rig weighed-in at close to seven tonnes, making it almost impossible to gain traction in wet conditions.

Finally, a decision was made to bite the bullet and purchase a decent-sized truck, so
a brand-new Ford Trader was purchased and fitted with a new compactor, which Chris imported from Australia, and the business blossomed from there.

A new business venture

Initially, Chris and Sharon operated their business under the umbrella of Chris' father's business, Freeth Disposals Ltd, however it became apparent in 1989 that the young couple would need to operate as a separate entity.

Naturally, a new name for the business would have to be sought and given that Chris and Sharon had recently purchased the personalised number plate TRASH, it was apparent that any new company name would need to have the word incorporated in the branding.

A look at the Companies Office register revealed that a number of the preferred
names with the word 'trash' in the title were already taken.

Trash -control

However, Chris' ingenuity once again came into play, and while servicing one of his trucks he saw the word 'control' on a component of the truck's hoist – there was the word he'd been searching for.

Another search of the Companies Office register and the name the Freeths needed was still available, thus a new company, Trash Control Ltd was born.

Fast forward to 2016 and Trash Control is a serious player in the waste removal business. It is also the parent company of Metro Mini Bins and Bins Online.
The company has a stock of close to 300 bins ranging in size from two cubic metre to 30 cube capacity and has six trucks in its fleet.

At your service

Sharon says that Bins Online offers a popular online booking service, in which customers can book a bin of any size 24/7, especially when wanting to organise a skip bin after hours. The company employs seven staff members and has six trucks in its fleet, all of which are in constant radio telephone contact with
the office.

On the day of the DOW visit, despatcher Lara was kept busy taking phone calls one minute and the next minute was on the RT relaying the message to the driver.
Lara, who works the morning/early afternoon shift, says that it's a full-on
job and working with a great bunch of people makes the job interesting and the day go quickly.

An outsider looking in quickly cottons on to the fact that Trash Control would need a lot more staff than it currently employs if it wasn't for the fact that the owners live their lives in their business.

Everyone in the company multitasks, with Chris doing the occasional stint at driving along with carrying out repairs to plant and equipment.

He says he's had a lot of practice over the years cutting rusty and damaged bottoms out of bins and welding new steel in and carrying out a large portion of the mechanical repairs required, which included the commissioning of the FH 13-540 Volvo.

Chris started the business with vehicles that could be driven on a car licence when he was too young to get an HT licence and that this methodology was followed up with son Aaron who started out on the little Isuzu NNR250 but has since progressed to driving the company flagship, the FH 13-540 Volvo.

Chris says that two smaller Volvo FM9-380 trucks were sold in order to purchase the new truck, however, with current workloads on the rise, it looks like there could be another truck in the pipeline.

Sharon is the office manager and has the company cell phone constantly at her side. She says that the success of Trash Control Ltd is the result of the efforts of a dedicated team of longstanding employees who make working in the business a pleasure.

From Aaron's point of view, aside from driving trucks, he has had plenty of time to hone his skills on the company digger, sorting wood and other recyclables from the rubbish that will eventually wind up at the transfer station.

All wood rescued from the bins goes off to be turned into wood chips, much of which is used in mulch for motorway interchanges and the like, giving added value to the work Trash Control does in helping to care for the environment.

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