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Natural Gas Trucks: A Clean Take on the Business of Trash

Moving trash can be dirty business. But, thanks to efforts from Waste Management, the process of keeping waste to a minimum has been getting cleaner.

A company with 45,000 employees serving more than 20 million customers, Waste Management provides collection, transfer, recycling and disposal services and has taken significant steps to ensure cleaner operations through the use of natural gas.

In an economy where every dollar has to be maximized, Waste Management now powers its fleet with a fuel that is cleaner, abundant and more affordable – natural gas.

Waste Management deploys the nation’s largest heavy-duty trucks fleet powered by natural gas. In North America alone, it has more than 2,000 trucks moving trash in cities today. Waste Management is also focused on converting its fleet of 18,000 vehicles to run on natural gas.

“This conversion makes good business sense for our company and our shareholders because of the significant maintenance and diesel fuel costs savings,” said Waste Management’s President and Chief Executive Officer, David Steiner. “It’s much cleaner for the environment, and our [compressed natural gas] trucks are much quieter than diesel powered ones.”

Waste Management’s commitment to using natural gas to power its fleet goes beyond just their trucks on the street. To further increase their use of clean natural gas, Waste Management has built a plant that converts landfill gas – the gas which occurs once waste breaks down in a landfill– to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power 300 of Waste Management’s trucks that service customers in Oakland, San Diego, and in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

LNG is a fuel well-suited for high-horsepower and heavy-duty engines. Waste Management’s Steiner speaks proudly of the facility, saying, “Indeed, I’m very pleased that we have created an environmental closed loop for the City of Oakland, where some of their waste is disposed at our landfill and the resulting landfill gas powers the WM trucks that collect their waste and bring it to our recycling centers and other post-collection facilities.”

The benefits of Waste Management’s natural gas use are not exclusive to the company itself. It also has made clean, affordable natural gas available to customers through investments in public infrastructure projects across the nation. This investment is critical to the greater use of vehicles powered by natural gas for everyday drivers. Waste Management operates 15 publically accessible natural gas fueling stations across North America and, in 2013, the company plans to expand the number of these stations, providing other drivers with an opportunity to access the benefits of natural gas fueled vehicles.

This company leads by example, developing a fleet of trucks that take advantage of our abundant natural gas supplies. In doing so, Waste Management invested in a business solution that keeps fuel costs down while still meeting the needs of their customers in an environmentally conscious way. This leadership illustrates that with natural gas, we do not have to choose between the economic benefits of natural gas and preserving our environment. We can achieve both of these goals.

Making the business of trash cleaner? That is worth thinking about.


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