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Derbyshire company celebrates 50 years of working with councils, businesses and Britain in Bloom

A family run company in Derbyshire that manufactures and supplies self-watering planters and litter bins is celebrating 50 years in business during 2019.

Alfreton based company Amberol works with councils, schools, colleges and universities, businesses and Britain in Bloom groups across the UK, Europe and beyond. The company’s planters and litter bins can be found in some of Britain’s busiest public places, including London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Leeds. As a supplier, they also play an important part in the annual RHS Britain in Bloom competition.

The family run company was set up in Derbyshire in 1969 by Jack Williamson and Phil Atkinson. Phil’s daughter Patience Atkinson-Gregory is now Amberol’s managing director while Jack’s granddaughter Kay Hall is also a director of the company. True to their roots of ethical trading and offering value for money, Amberol’s reps continue to travel all over the country offering free demonstrations so that potential customers can see exactly what they are buying.

“In the world of online retail where everything is bought at the click of a mouse, we think that it’s important to maintain personal service and for customers to see our products first-hand so they can ensure they are getting quality and durability,” Patience comments. “Budgets are tight, so people need to ensure that they are getting value for money. We are delighted that our bins and planters have played such an important part in Britain’s public places for so many years and look forward to continuing that mission.”

Patience attributes much of the company’s success to listening to what customers want and developing products collaboratively to ensure that they meet specific requirements. For example, the Olympic Dual Recycling Bin was designed with Westminster Council for the 2012 Olympics. The bins were also used by Waltham Forrest Council around the Olympic Park.

However, Amberol is probably best known by customers for their self-watering planters, most of which require watering just once a week, saving time and money on maintenance as well as ensuring optimal conditions for plant growth. 

“We work very closely with our customers and have been supplying some of them with planters and bins for many years,” explains Patience. “However, needs change; for example, we have developed a range of recycling bins to help councils meet recycling targets. We are also happy to customise products by adding logos and signage as required. Basically, we aim to give the customer what they want.”  

One of the newest products to go on the market has been the multi-stream Cafe Bin, which is specifically designed for paper cup recycling, addressing recent concerns over the difficulty of recycling cups used by food and drink outlets. The company also has other new products in development during 2019 to mark their 50th anniversary.


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