Crusher born from ski accident

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Breaking your neck doesn't often bring silver linings, but for former headhunter, John Nickell-Lean, a skiing accident led him to start a new bottle crushing business.

Mr Nickell-Lean, who used to work for Whitehead Mann, came up with the idea for the machine while in hospital in Canada. "I was lying in bed, paralysed, wondering what I would do if I couldn't walk again, when I heard a lorry collecting bins of bottles making the most awful noise. It made me think why on earth are bottles moved around – containing mainly fresh air – and thought why shouldn't they be compacted? "

Having recovered after surgeons remade his neck with titanium, Mr Nickell-lean raised £1m to invest in the business, called Reduit, and the first shipment of bottle-crushers have just arrived in Yorkshire from China.

The managing director, Robert Hall, said he hopes to sell the Minima machines – now crushing plastic bottles and cans – to offices, hotels and other public places. Models for the home are now being developed.