'Trash gas' powers garbage trucks

July 8, 2011 at 7:34 PM
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LOS ANGELES, July 8 (UPI) -- A growing number of trash trucks are being powered by fuel recovered from the very garbage they haul to landfills, U.S. industry experts said.

Waste Management Inc., which operates the largest trucking fleet in the waste industry, is fueling more and more of its trucks with so-called trash gas, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

In Los Angeles, every one of the company's trucks is powered with liquefied natural gas from the methane generated through decomposition of organic waste in its Altamont, Calif., landfill.

Next week, Waste Management's fleet will get its 1,000th truck fueled with natural gas captured and converted in this way.

"It's a big deal to hit this milestone because we've been at this for years," said Kent Stoddard, Waste Management's vice president of public affairs. "I think we're probably the first company that tried to run a garbage truck on compressed natural gas, and we went through 10 years of ups and downs, of encouraging successes and setbacks, but we crashed through all of that."

Trucks that run on LNG "trash gas" emit 80 percent to 90 percent fewer carbon emissions than diesel-powered trucks, the California Air Resources Board said.

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