Cleaner-running garbage trucks can now be spotted rolling in and out of the Lorain County landfill just north of the Oberlin city limits.
You might have a hard time hearing them, though.
“They’re just about impossible to hear,” said David Vossmer, general manager at Republic Services, during an unveiling Thursday.
A few moments later, one of 25 new trucks that use compressed natural gas purred to life with a low rumble, which Vossmer said residents might appreciate during a 4 a.m. trash pickup. Oberlin residents won’t notice any difference, since the city has its own refuse and recycling truck fleet.
The Republic trucks are replacing older diesel-powered garbage trucks throughout Lorain, Cuyahoga, and Medina counties.
They’re housed at a new facility on Butternut Ridge Road in Carlisle Township, which includes a compressed natural gas refueling station and depot. It’s the newest of the company’s 38 CNG stations nationwide, which power nearly 2,500 CNG vehicles — about 16 percent of the fleet.
Each truck bears Republic’s new logo: “Protecting our Blue Planet” and “This truck runs on natural gas for a cleaner world.”
Vossmer said he knows customers care about the environment. “We wanted to make sure we would be taking care of our environment, both now and in the future.”
CNG technology contributes to better air quality and a huge fuel savings, said area president Brent Goodsell. It makes the new trucks 90 percent quieter than older diesel models, and along with automation, greatly increases Republic Services’ efficiency.
The new fuel depot has been two and a half years in the making.
Brian Houston is senior business development manager at Clean Energy, which partnered with Cambridge Construction to build the Butternut Ridge site. He said that since April, Republic Services trucks have been refueling with biomethane reclaimed from garbage.
That means the garbage trucks run on fuel made from trash — talk about reducing, reusing, and recycling.
The way we handle waste has changed a lot over the past couple of generations, said Carlisle Township trustee James Wright.
He remembers when residents would dump their garbage in a ravine and leave it, with no plans to ever clean up the mess. And everyone had a burn barrel in the backyard.
“Today that seems so neanderthal,” he said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.