Seattle Public Utilities' green fleet will include 91 Waste Management trucks powered by renewable natural gas (RNG).
 - Photo courtesy of City of Seattle

Seattle Public Utilities' green fleet will include 91 Waste Management trucks powered by renewable natural gas (RNG).

Photo courtesy of City of Seattle

The City of Seattle has partnered with its refuse and recycling collection contractors to roll out a fossil-fuel-free primary collection fleet. This “green fleet” will make made up of nearly 200 contractor trucks powered by electricity, renewable natural gas, and renewable diesel, according to the city.

“Meeting our 2050 carbon-neutral goal will require creative thinking from every corner of our city. Our new green fleet at Seattle Public Utilities is another example of Seattle leading the world and taking bold action to protect our communities from the impacts of climate change,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan.

The city expects to have rolled out the full green fleet by early 2020. The fleet includes two first-in-the-nation 100% electric Class 8 rear load trucks, plus four mid-size trucks for smaller routes and container delivery, and 12 small hybrid or full electric-support trucks or cars. Most of the roughly 200-vehicle green fleet started servicing Seattle Public Utilities customer routes in spring 2019. The remaining vehicles, including one of two all-electric route trucks, will be put into service in summer and fall 2019. The second all-electric route truck will be put into service in 2020. 

The green fleet includes 91 Waste Management trucks powered by renewable natural gas (RNG) — gas from garbage. RNG begins as a biogas when trash decays in landfills. Waste Management cleans the gas and loads it into the national pipeline system. RNG is not a fossil fuel, and it generates dramatically lower emissions — 70% lower than traditional diesel and 65% lower than compressed natural gas (CNG). The Environmental Protection Agency classifies RNG as a renewable fuel.

The fleet also includes 80 Recology trucks that are powered by renewable diesel, produced from a range of renewable feedstocks, such as vegetable waste, soybean oil, and animal tallow. Benefits include increased energy security, since the fuel can be produced using a variety of widely-available feedstocks, and lower emissions — approximately 30% lower when compared to CNG and 65% lower compared to traditional diesel. Both renewable natural gas and renewable diesel trucks produce near-zero or ultra-low emissions, according to the city, further reducing impacts from Seattle’s fleets.

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