Cleaner and greener waste collection

When it comes to waste management, many local authorities are looking for cleaner and more efficient ways to collect waste. Efficiency covers many aspects, including fuel consumption and emissions as well as how many bins can be emptied on one route. When it comes to fuel and emissions efficiency many local authorities have now made the switch to electric vehicles (EVs)

One of the most obvious advantages of using EVs for bin collections is that they are cleaner and greener - they don’t have any tailpipe emissions and therefore don’t emit harmful pollutants like NOx and PM, which local and national authorities are trying to cut down on to improve air quality and reduce the impact of climate change. This is particularly important in densely populated areas with frequent collections, especially when collections are often in the morning during rush hour and when children are on the way to school.
However, it is important to note that the electricity used to power these may still come from fossil fuels and is therefore not green or renewable. Try to ensure that you can power your EVs from clean sources. An easy way to do this is to install solar panels on the roof of the depot, or at the waste management facility – these end up paying for themselves in the long run. The trucks can then be charged overnight, ready to go again the next morning.

Operating costs
As a general rule, EVs tend to have lower operating costs compared to their diesel or petrol-powered counter parts. Especially at the moment, with petrol prices so high, electric vehicles are cheaper to power. Depending on the model you get, EVs can be highly energy efficient, meaning you get a better energy conversion rate compared to traditional combustion engines – again helping you with the energy costs. Another generalisation is that EVs tend to need less maintenance due to having fewer parts.

Benefits for residents
One benefit that many local residents will surely be grateful for is that EVs are much quieter than traditional petrol or diesel models. The benefit of this is even greater when you consider that waste collection lorries are often out earlier in the morning and go down quiet residential streets.
Residents are also likely to be grateful for the reduced emissions and this will enhance the public image of the waste collection service and the local authority. Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and reducing the negative impact of traditional bin lorries will be welcomed by locals.

Regulatory compliance
The UK has net zero targets to achieve and local authorities must play a part in this. Using electric vehicles can make a massive difference here, by taking large polluting vehicles off the road. Cities like London have also implemented low emission zones and congestion charges and the local authority should be leading the way and setting an example in removing polluting vehicles from the roads.

The adoption of EVs for collections is just one step in the innovation of waste management. This can then lead to the development of more efficient collection routes, better fleet management systems and improved waste sorting and processing techniques.
It’s important to note that the benefits of using electric vehicles for bin collections may vary depending on several factors, especially when used regionally. Variations include the specific EV models used, the area they are used in and the operational practices of the waste management company. Nonetheless, transitioning to electric vehicles can play a crucial role in making waste management more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Some local authorities have been using EVs for a while now, while others have just recently started. Eastleigh Borough Council has recently introduced Hampshire’s first fleet of fully electric bin lorries. The change is part of an effort to combat air pollution and reduce carbon emissions. The new electric trucks are expected to collect between 15 and 20 tonnes of waste from around 1,100 bins every day. The lorries are able to complete their daily rounds on a single overnight charge which costs an estimated £10-12. This is compared to over £100 that was being spent every day on a diesel vehicle.
Cabinet lead for environment Cllr Rupert Kyrle said: “We’re really excited as this is the first of three electric refuse vehicles to start operating in Hampshire. As a Council, our refuse collection fleet is one of our biggest sources of emissions so to start to switch from diesel refuse collection vehicles to electric is a great way to reduce our emissions. Traditional bin lorries have a low mileage but a high fuel consumption and operate every day in all our towns and villages – so this all-electric lorry is an exciting development as it’s significantly cheaper to operate and is much more environmentally friendly.”
He added: “This work is all part of the council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, which sets out how the council will reduce carbon emissions within its own operations and help local residents, businesses and organisations to reduce their carbon footprint too. From investing in electric refuse collection vehicles, working to improve the energy efficiency within council buildings, and increasing tree planting within the borough, we are progressing a number of major projects to help reduce carbon emissions within our own work and across the borough over the coming months and years.”
Peterborough City Council has just added Usain Volt and Electric Boogaloo to their fleet. The two new additions are Peterborough’s first ever electric refuse collection vehicles. The two 26-tonne Renault Trucks E-Tech are estimated to cut carbon emissions by more than 60 tonnes a year compared to the previous diesel vehicles.
The council has a goal of net zero by 2030, and replacing vehicles with low-carbon alternatives is one way of helping to achieve this aim.
The vehicles are expected to cover 120km a day and empty 1,300 bins and are charged overnight.
Councillor Nigel Simons, cabinet member for infrastructure, environment and climate change, said: “We are fully committed to reducing carbon emissions in everything that we do as a council and these new electric vehicles will play a key role in this. Residents may notice the new vehicles by how quiet they are. It’s fantastic to have them in our fleet and we look forward to monitoring their progress over the coming months.”

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