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Natural gas fuels $330K trash truck

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Sustainable Waste Solutions of Souderton has spent $330,000 for a trash truck that runs on environmentally friendly natural gas.
Sustainable Waste Solutions of Souderton has spent $330,000 for a trash truck that runs on environmentally friendly natural gas.

A Souderton company has invested $330,000 in an environmentally friendly garbage truck that runs on natural gas.

Sustainable Waste Solutions, a landfill-free waste and recycling company that does a good portion of its business in the Lehigh Valley, recently unveiled its Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuse truck.

“We are one of the first companies in Pennsylvania to use a natural gas truck. The air quality is better and it’s cleaner burning than diesel and runs about 90 percent less decibel than gas trucks so it’s much quieter,” said Randy Hendricks, who co-owns Sustainable Waste with his business partner Scott Woodrow. “Due to being a landfill-free operation, our customers were asking us to convert to a natural gas truck…we attempt to focus on customers who want to stay green.”

Hendricks related that he started his search for a natural gas truck by inquiring with Mack Trucks in Macungie. There was a long wait for CNG vehicles with the Lehigh Valley company so he and his business partner found a company in Texas to design and manufacture the truck.

“Running a CNG truck cuts the cost by less than half that of our trucks that run on diesel right now. One mile of travel costs $1 with diesel while natural gas is about 50 cents a mile,” said Hendricks. Hendricks, whose company is based on the premise of staying “green” while finding environmentally-safe ways to use garbage, said that the CNG truck is fueled at a station outside of Philadelphia. Currently, there are about 30 filling stations in Pennsylvania to fuel CNG vehicles. These stations are mostly private and used to fuel buses and a small number of trucks.

According to the Natural Gas Vehicles for America website, www.ngvc.org, one refuse truck, converted to natural gas, is equivalent to taking about 325 cars off the road in terms of pollution reduction. Hendricks established Sustainable Waste in 2008 to compete with companies that bury their trash rather than haul it out to be recycled. His company takes the trash to various sites to be converted into electricity, to be used for composting or for electronics recycling. About 25 percent of Hendricks’ business is done in the Lehigh Valley. His customers include Lehigh University, Cedar Crest College, and Muhlenberg College as well as Kraft, Dun & Bradstreet, Samuel Adams Brewery and Olympus. Hendricks said he plans to convert his entire fleet of trucks.

“The demand for CNG trucks is only expected to grow…a typical gas truck gets four to five miles per gallon so it makes sense from an economic standpoint to switch to all natural gas,” the business owner reported.

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