Intelligent Energy

A European garbage truck comes to America

A European garbage truck comes to America

Posting in Cities

Waste Management is piloting a Rotopress garbage truck designed to easily maneuver city streets, haul more trash, and run on natural gas.

The loud, bulky, smelly and inefficient garbage trucks ubiquitous in the U.S, are being replaced in a few cities by a waste collection trailer that's been used for decades across Europe. Waste Management Inc., the largest recycler in North America, is piloting Rotopress -- a lighter, more efficient and easier-to-maneuver waste hauler that hauls about four tons more trash than the garbage trucks most Americans are used to. According to the folks at Waste Management, these will be the first Rotopress waste haulers in North America.

The pilot program will first rollout in Houston, followed by San Diego, Sacramento, Calif., Milwaukee and Camden, NJ.  Rotopress, made by German-based Faun, has been used in Europe for some eight decades. Waste Management's Rotopress waste haulers will run on natural gas. The waste hauler is lighter, which allows it to carry up to 14 tons of trash. It's a tractor-trailer (think of a small semi truck), a design that allows it to negotiate tight city street and cul-de-sac-laden residential neighborhoods.

The garbage trucks most Americans are familiar with are compaction-plate vehicles, which presses additional liquid out of the waste. The Rotopress doesn't press the waste, but binds it by permanently mixing it with the dry material. In other words, less mess ending up on your street.

The pilot program is all part of Waste Management's grand plan to increase fuel efficiency across its fleet of 1,400 heavy-duty trucks, decrease emissions 15 percent 2020. For every truck Waste Management converts to natural gas -- which the Rotopress will run on -- diesel fuel ise is reduced by an average of 8,000 gallons and GHG emissions are cut by 22 metric tons annually, the company said.

I've included the company's official video below so readers can see how the Rotopress works. Warning, it's a promotional video that's rather heavy handed and salesy.

Photo: Waste Management

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Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure