Sisters born on Chesterfield council estate celebrate their success as company turns 21 and makes almost £1m in a year

Two sisters who grew up on a Chesterfield council estate have marked the 21st anniversary of their business with their best-ever turnover.

Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 3:29 pm

Denise and Elaine James run Total Waste Control, based in Clay Cross.

The firm reached its 21st birthday in 2022 on the back of a record year in which, despite the pandemic, they achieved a turnover of almost £1m.

The sisters established the company in 2001, which provides efficient and cost-effective waste disposal services to customers both locally and nationwide, tailored to their specific requirements.

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Denise and Elaine James have seen their business go from strength to strength.

Elaine said: “It’s amazing to be celebrating our 21st business anniversary this year. Lockdown curtailed our celebrations somewhat, but we managed to weather it well, and things are starting to get back to normal.

“It’s allowed us to take stock of where we are, reflect on the journey we’ve been on and the things we’ve achieved over the past 21 years.”

Denise added: “We hope that we all pull through this current pandemic crisis, stronger and more robust than ever to see us through the coming years, but we can’t be complacent. Our team will continue to keep in touch with all our customers, old and new”.

The sisters came from humble beginnings, growing up on a council estate in Chesterfield and working for local employers, including Robinsons and NatWest, before forming Total Waste Control in 2001.

As female business leaders in a traditionally male-dominated field, they helped to fly the flag for women in the industry by featuring in a fly-on-the-wall TV documentary, Bin There, Dump That, which gave the public an insight into different aspects of the waste industry.

They have also become famous for their own Calendar Girls-inspired charity calendars, featuring Denise, Elaine and their team in a variety of tongue-in-cheek poses, to help raise awareness and cash for several local charities. Over the years, proceeds from calendar sales and other fundraising activities have benefitted many good causes, including Ashgate Hospice, Rainbows Children’s Hospice, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, the Prostate Cancer Charity, the Alzheimer’s Society, the Child Foundation and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

They continue to raise cash for charity whenever possible and have a close association with their local football team, Chesterfield FC.

Elaine said: “The secret to success in business is loving what you do, being happy in your work and having fun. It’s been great working alongside my sister for the past 21 years. We are like chalk and cheese, but we complement each other so well and cover each other’s weaknesses with our own strengths, so it’s a formula that works well.”

Denise added: “The past 21 years have been enjoyable, demanding and varied, travelling the length and breadth of the UK viewing jobs. To be able to do it alongside Elaine has been amazing.

“Best of all, we have a tight-knit team and many of our customers are now close friends, so it doesn’t feel like coming to work. We love what we do and the people we work with, and that’s what’s helped us keep going.”