As the majority of Seattle’s climate emissions come from transportation, City leaders are exploring every opportunity to reduce transportation emissions. When the 10-year contract for waste haulers came up for renewal in 2018, Seattle’s waste and water utility—Seattle Public Utilities—saw an excellent opportunity to use their leverage to implement a major change in waste hauling services.

Seattle’s new waste fleet includes 200 new clean emissions vehicles powered by electricity, renewable natural gas, and renewable diesel. This includes two full size 100% electricity recycling trucks.

What is the project? How does it work?

Seattle is one of the first cities in the nation to mandate that contracted waste haulers transition to a renewable fuels fleet. This is helping drive market share for alternative fuel heavy duty vehicles in the region.

Heavy duty vehicles have typically been powered by diesel fuel. By transitioning to a waste hauling fleet that is fossil fuel free, Seattle is actively reducing the impacts of their own operations. With significant advancements in electric vehicles and alternative fuel technologies, the challenges of cost or logistics are no longer barriers to transitioning to a heavy-duty fleet that does not run on fossil fuels.  Seattle Public Utilities recognised they had a once-a-decade opportunity to improve service delivery, reduce climate and air pollution impacts, and drive market share for trucks that run on clean technology.  Both the renewable natural gas and renewable diesel trucks have state-of-the-art engines and controls that produce near-zero or ultra-low emissions. Rounding out the fleet are electric trucks powered by Seattle’s carbon neutral electricity. This includes 2 full-size recycle route trucks, 4 mid-size trucks for smaller routes and container delivery, and 8 small electric-support trucks or cars.

Next steps

The aim of this project is to continue to keep future solid waste rates low while still providing excellent customers service. It is expected to result in savings of around $5 million annually.

  • Environmental
  • Health
Key Impact
200 new clean energy vehicles have been added to Seattle’s fleet of waste vehicles, helping to advance the city towards Seattle’s goal of reducing transport emissions by 82% by 2030.
April 2019
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