Electrifiction of waste collection vehicles could reduce CO2 emissions

The electrification of waste collection vehicles could bring significant benefits to the environment and air pollution, according to a new report.

Almost every waste collection round in the UK relies on refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) that are mostly powered by diesel-fuelled combustion engines.

In a new report, ‘Ditching the Diesel – Cost-benefit Analysis of Electric Refuse Collection Vehicles,’ the environmental consultancy group Eunomia highlight the benefits of switching to electric-powered refuse collection vehicles.

According to the report, the fact that more than 200 UK local authorities have declared a climate emergency, and with changes already being made to the existing waste strategies, now is the perfect time for authorities to consider a switch to eRCV’s.

Diesel RCVs in the UK produce approximately 330 kilotonnes of CO2 each year, according to the authors, switching to electric trucks could reduce these emissions by 290 kilotonnes of CO2 each year.

The switch could also bring improvements to air quality, the stop-start nature of collection rounds means that the vehicles produce significant air pollution when the vehicles are idling, therefore switching to eRVS’s will eliminate the biggest source of localised air pollution.

The researcher’s highlight that waste collection has several structural features making it suitable for electrification, with the stop-start nature already putting a strain on the engines and wasting a lot of diesel fuel.

The cost-benefit analysis of the report highlights that although capital costs associated with switching to eRCVs is greater than acquiring new diesel vehicles, savings will be made over time.

Tanguy Tomes, author of the report said: ‘With RCVs visiting almost every street in Britain on a weekly basis, they are a significant part of our current carbon-intense society.

‘Local authorities are looking for ways that they can reduce their contribution to the climate crisis, and eliminating the huge amount of carbon released on a daily basis by diesel RCVs is a local, and now financially viable step.

‘We hope that our research will help local authorities to build a solid business case for the urgent change that is required: with a reduction in greenhouse gases, harmful air emissions and noise, and with financial savings becoming more likely, the case for eRCVs is becoming compelling.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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