Smart waste haulers know that the public's perception of a company can play a major role in its success. Taking this to heart, many businesses have created eye-catching artwork to decorate their trucks and containers, as well as build their company's reputation.
This year, which is the 21st year of the Design Contest, Waste Age received dozens of entries in all of its categories. Choosing the cream of the crop was difficult, but the judges based their decisions on whether the designs depicted clean, positive images yet did not distract from the company's overall business message.
Obviously, not many people get excited about the design and look of garbage trucks and containers. But with these artistic designs, customers are sure to take notice.
Best Overall Design Palo Verde Valley Disposal Service Blythe, Calif. Apparently, being the best is in the details - or perhaps the decals, as is the case with a truck Phoenix-based Arizona Refuse recently delivered to Palo Verde Valley Disposal Service. Starting with a plain white Volvo cab and Impac IP-33 body that just had primer, Arizona Refuse Sales found an opportunity to help one of its customers, Gordon Beers, make his vision come to fruition.
"When Gordon Beers first approached me about purchasing this unit, he told me he wanted to change the color scheme," says Steve Campbell, vice president. "He really wanted it to be different from the average trash truck. He thought trucks were the best form of advertising his company had."
Campbell referred him to Phoenix-based Southwest Commercial Graphics, where Beers and Campbell were told that using decals posed "no limits." Using computer-generated graphics instead of the standard painted stripes would allow the design to be as simple or complex as desired.
Being a boat racing enthusiast, Beers quickly thought of the designs he had seen on racing boats, and his ideas started flowing. The pair flipped through a few magazines, and by coordinating the efforts of Phoenix-based Fleet Painting and Southwest, Arizona Refuse soon brought the side loader to life.
So far, public response, in the form of calls and comments to drivers, has been just as spectacular as the design, Beers says. And the decals have held up great, even in the heat and through daily pressure washings.
"When we started, little did I know it would get this graphic," Campbell says. "Basically, we got jiggy with it."
Best Recycling Vehicle Turtle Island Recycling Toronto, Ontario, Canada When Ted Manziaris and Louis Anagnostakos of Turtle Island Recycling Co. decided to make their trucks reflect their corporate image, they took it literally. Not only do all of their 40 service trucks reflect the company's desire for a clean image, they reflect headlights, too.
"It glows in the dark," says Ted Manziaris. Depicting the tree and moon, which is part of the company's logo, the Freightliner/Universal vehicle collects recyclables during the day and stands out while it collects household garbage at night.
Obviously, Manziaris and Anagnostakos are pleased that their employees as well as the general public love their design. In fact, "we get phone calls and comments on the trucks constantly," Manziaris says. "Our guys really like the trucks and take exceptional care of them - we clean them daily. In fact, some of our drivers have their names on the doors."
Manziaris was the brainchild behind the logo, which was painted by North American Graphics, Ontario. He wanted a design that hearkened back to the days when American Indians referred to North America as Turtle Island - a logo that clearly displayed the value of a clean environment.
Best Rear Loader Hart & Son Glenolden, Pa. Family owned and operated businesses usually have a least one black sheep. Hart & Son Hauling Co. has four devils - cartoon Tasmanian devils that is.
To increase recognition for his commercial collection business, which began in 1960, manager Ron Hart was advised to paint an eye-catching truck. "The choice never was a question - the Tasmanian Devil was my kid's No. 1 choice," he says.
Painted by Rob "The Rabbit" Daldry of Custom Air Brush, the 1998 Ford Louisville/McNeilus 20-yard rear loader features a baby Tasmanian devil on the hood, a female Tasmanian on the passenger door and a male Tasmanian devil on the driver's side. "As our family business has grown, so have the number of Tasmanian Devils," Hart says.
Catching both children's and their parents' eyes, today, Hart & Son has attracted 250 customers, with business growing steadily. One other truck is painted with the same favorite cartoon images. And keeping with that theme, Hart says his next truck purchase also will be decorated with a devil - Taz, of course. "We plan to continue to keep it all in the family," he says. "Me, my dad and brother-in-law, and more Tasmanian Devils."
Best Transfer Trailer G.T.R. Inc. Hyattsville, Md. Hauling trash, landscaping material, tires and recycling materials never looked so good. In fact, G.T.R. Inc.'s transfer trailer is proof that you don't have to look like the load you haul.
"I wanted something that was first class to reflect our service - something that reflected the quality operation that we have here," says Willie Goode, a driver with GTR. "I told Chuck Taylor of Chuck Airbrushing.
Bellsville Md., what I wanted the lettering to say, and he came up with the design of the bull hauling a block. It really gets attention when I'm driving down the road. Kids and adults both like it."
"Big Will's Toy" is not only beautiful on the outside. Inside, the Peterbilt tractor/J&J trailer is a virtual home away from home with more comforts than you would expect. A refrigerator, TV/videocassette recorder and Sony Playstation make this heavy hauler feel welcoming. A closet, table, chrome and woodgrained interior, and leather seats further enhance the inside.
"Everywhere I take this truck, it has won awards," Goode says. "Everyone stares at it as I drive down the road." To date, G.T.R. Inc. serves eight commercial customers with 10 trucks, tractors and trailers - all of which are painted.
"But none of the others look as good as my 'Toy,'" Goode boasts.
Best Roll Off River Valley Disposal Columbia, Pa. With its truck, "Crusher," River Valley Disposal is proving that everything old can look new again - at least with the right design.
"A lot of folks think it's a brand new truck," says company owner Bob Kline of his 1990 International/Multi-lift mini-roll off. "It's not. We are surprised ourselves that it looks so good."
Kline hired Seiberts Sand Blasting to paint the truck red and gray, and Cassel Sign Shop to paint the lettering. He says he knew what he wanted the truck to say, and that he wanted something that would catch customers' attention.
"River Valley is the actual valley we work in," Kline says. "I wanted them to put something on the truck that catches the eye. But I actually left it up to Dale Cassel as to what would look best."
River Valley being a new company, Kline says he needed all the advertising he could get. And it appears that the impromptu message is working. Starting the company two years ago as a part-time job, Kline says now he serves more than 200 commercial and residential customers with a fleet of 3 mini-roll offs.
"It's starting to turn into a full-time job," Kline says. In fact, River Valley Disposal is progressing so well Kline has plans to purchase another large roll-off truck, which will be painted, too.
Best Front Loader Big Bear Disposal Big Bear Lake, Calif. Big Bear Disposal is proving every day that it's easy being green. Painted by All American Truck and Auto Body, Fontana, Calif., the company's front loader has a green look that "reflects the color of the forest," says Steve Galante, operational manager. "My general manager and I brain- stormed to come up with the design."
One of 13 trash trucks used to service Big Bear's 1,600 customers, Galante says the 1984 Volvo/Able body front loader garners attention - even in inclement weather. "When it's snowing, people see it coming," he says.
It appears that the company has achieved its goal. "We wanted to have our own individual look," Galante says. "We wanted it to really stand out."
Further proof is that in the past four years, Big Bear's customer base has grown by 20 percent - enough to validate adding four trucks plus the extra paint to Big Bear's fleet.
Best Side Loader City of Longmont Longmont, Calif. Racing around his city collecting garbage gave Richard Lee, solid waste operations supervisor, a great idea: to paint his trucks with a racing theme. Because the company was in the process of changing to an automated system and needed new trucks, the timing was right to change the look of Longmont's vehicles.
Rather than develop an idea by himself, Lee brainstormed with his staff to come up with the perfect design. "When we ordered the trucks, we came up with a racing theme everyone had input on it," he says. "The racing stripes look sharp, our drivers have their names on the doors and everyone is proud of the trucks."
Even the community has given the racing-striped trucks the "green flag." "People who have seen them say they look great," Lee says. "I think they like them as much as we do. And our drivers really want to take care of the trucks and keep them clean."
To date, Longmont serves 23,000 residential customers. The purchase of the new trucks and switch to an automated system is part of the city's attempt to increase service in the future. With new system, one driver can pick up trash from 800 homes a day compared to two people servicing 600 homes a day, Lee says. Pictured is Longmont's Volvo/Heil side loader.
Perhaps the racing theme wasn't such a stretch after all - it's helping the city come in first place with its customers.
Best Container City of Las Cruces Las Cruces, N.M. A garbage container may not be a masterpiece, but some see great opportunity in making cans their canvas. In the city of Las Cruces, trash containers are frequent targets for graffiti, which the city believes is an eye-sore.
To combat this ongoing problem, the city's Keep Las Cruces Beautiful program commissioned two students to use the containers as their canvas - but in this case, to display their artistic talent.
"We were hoping that by painting the containers, kids wouldn't paint graffiti on them," says Carol Mecca, coordinator for the Keep Las Cruces Beautiful program. "Most Dumpsters don't have much artistic flare. Soon, properties were calling us asking to have a dumpsite on their premises."
One look at the containers, which are manufactured by Industrial Manufacturers Inc. (IMAN), and you'll see why Waste Age's judges believe these former "caterpillars" deserved to be recognized.
The butterfly bin was painted by Michael Najera, age 19.
Gardiner Rhoderick, 20, a New Mexico State University student majoring in graphic arts, painted the recycling bin with assistance from Sam Yamini, 18.
And more than 20 painted containers are placed throughout Las Cruces, with another 25 to be painted and placed this fall.
[To find out more about Las Cruces' containers see "Las Cruces: Beauty in a Can (of Paint)," Waste Age June 1999, page 34.]