According to the most recent data, on-road vehicles are the single largest source of carbon emissions in Washington State. While new models of vehicles have reduced emissions and people are driving less, it’s still an area where businesses have put a lot of focus.
For three generations, family-owned Basin Disposal of Pasco has been providing garbage hauling and recycling services in the Tri-cities. They are deeply committed to their community and Washington, which is why they decided to make an investment in converting their fleet of diesel garbage trucks to compressed natural gas. Starting with the conversion of four trucks in 2014, the company plans to convert an additional five trucks in 2015. This is an acceleration of their normal diesel truck replacement schedule and an indication of their commitment to the environmental and economic benefits of converting their fleet to natural gas. They aren’t alone.
Studies have shown that converting a diesel-powered garbage truck to natural gas can reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by 20% to 30%. This kind of GHG reduction has increased the conversion rate substantially over the years. In 1998, there were 240 natural gas-powered garbage trucks in the U.S., a number that had increases to 2,221 by 2010. In Seattle, Clean Scapes and Waste Management have contributed to this trend, having shifted 40 and 106 trucks, respectively, to compressed natural gas. Natural gas is now used as transportation fuel throughout Washington, either by public entities like Pierce Transit or private companies hauling garbage or delivering food.
It’s all part of the reason Washington has been a leader in the low-carbon economy, and it’s why we don’t have to look too far for answers on how to make even more progress.