CATS: City’s trash trucks improving air quality, efficiency

Number 15 in the Clean Air Technologies Series.

Trash collection in one California city, is more than picking up; it’s cleaning up – as in cleaning up the air, that is.

Manteca, located in the northern part of the San Joaquin Valley, has 25 garbage trucks to meet the trash pick-up needs of its more than 67,000 residents. With the addition of hybrid trash collection trucks, pick-up efficiency and area air will both improve.

According to Dennis Wyatt in the Manteca Bulletin newspaper, two new hybrid additions to the city’s garbage truck fleet went into service on Dec. 17, 2012. The trucks are equipped with what is referred to as a “Parker RunWise Advanced Series Hybrid Drive. They are the first of their kind in California and may also be the first to go into service west of the Rockies,” Wyatt confided.

“While they are substantially quieter, that’s not what caught the attention of Manteca Public Works personnel who have made a career out of finding innovative ways to reduce day-to-day operating costs. The RunWise system – used on Miami garbage trucks – has delivered fuel savings ranging between 40 and 50 percent over a conventional diesel garbage truck.”

And that’s the real beauty of these 51,000-pound brutes. They are going to save Manteca money.

But this doesn’t exactly explain how garbage collection efficiency will improve.

Wyatt in “Cleanest garbage trucks in the West: Cutting edge hybrids slash fuel costs, pollution, and noise,” spelled that out as well.

“The RunWise system also has another advantage based on the Miami experience. Because they run smoother, truck operators are more efficient. They have been able to increase the number of stops on a route by 10 to 15 percent,” wrote Wyatt.

Carbon emissions, meanwhile, will be reduced by 55 tons per truck per year.

And, truck noise apparently is comparable to that generated by a typical electric golf cart.

That might seem strange to some, but I don’t think it’s something that will take some getting used to. In fact, just the opposite – I believe the trucks will be a welcome addition in more ways than one, I might add.

Finally, Wyatt in the article mentioned that the city’s complete fleet of garbage trucks comprised of both rear and side loaders “will eventually be converted to cleaner technology.”

By any measure, that definitely seems like money well spent.

– Alan Kandel