If you have to carry garbage through town, why not jazz up your container or truck a little bit? That was the momentum pushing this year's Design Contest winners to decorate their trucks and containers, while sending out important environmental messages.
This year, Waste Age received several entries, all with eye-catching designs. But the following waste operations took the cake in using a powerful medium to bring a message to their customers.
Waste Age congratulates the winners of its 24th Annual Design Contest.
Best Overall Design
City of Glendale, Ariz.
Glendale's rear loaders have had the same design since fall 2000, and for good reason. The city's idea of doubling the A in Glendale and the Z in Arizona were designed by Arizona Refuse Sales and Southwest Commercial Graphics (now United Digital).
"The design appears on only two trucks, but others in the city's 38-truck fleet [feature] less-than-elaborate designs," says Joan Hicken, recycling coordinator. With 19 routes per day, the fleet's 25 automated side loaders and two rear loaders work their way through the city to pick up residential and commercial waste from 50,000 single-family residents and about 1,925 commercial accounts.
The trucks are manufactured by Isuzu, Cerritos, Calif., and the bodies are from Wayne Engineering, Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Glendale participates in community events to promote its design and educate the community. "The trucks usually are met with favorable approval," Hicken says. "They bring a smile to my face because they're both sharp and effective."
Latella Rubbish Removal
Joe Latella Jr., vice president of Orange, Conn.-based Latella Rubbish Removal, was bombarded with customers' comments about his award-winning roll-off the first day he took it on the road in August 2000. "I got stopped 30 or 40 times with people complimenting us on how 'cool' it looked and asking who designed it," he says.
With a truck from Willoughby, Ohio-based Sterling Trucks and a Trenton, N.J.-based American Roll-Off body, it's easy to see why. The hot pink, hand-painted roll-off with flames and the Latella logo was designed by the company and implemented by Paintworks' Ed Sobochinsky.
The roll-off serves 3,000 New Haven and Fairfield County accounts for commercial collection, but Latella hopes the design will help to expand the business.
Best Rear Loader
Waste Management of Michigan
Newer isn't always better. Just ask Waste Management's Detroit operation, which has restored a 1960s garbage truck to look brand new.
The restored rear loader, a 1962 War-renville, Ill.-based International truck with an unidentifiable body manufacturer, was found in a junkyard in the early 1990s. A new engine and transmission were added, and the truck was painted to display the company's logo and colors.
Now, the restored vehicle only is used "for show" because most of the inner workings have been taken out to accommodate onlookers at parades and special events. "There's even a bench seat in the back for kids to ride in," says Randy Blauw, operations manager for Waste Management in Battle Creek, Mich.
Blauw says he's honored by the response he's received from customers, especially older adults who say they remember when a truck like that used to service their homes.
Best Side Loader
City of East Lansing, Mich.
The city of East Lansing's side loader gets recognized not so much for its style but more for its message: product information that says "Clean, Sturdy, Easy" or "Do it the easy way," with the city's phone number."We get calls from people who say they've read the side of the truck and want to order our carts," says Dave Smith, the city's environmental specialist.
The carts are part of a voluntary city residential curbside collection program. And the city's two side loaders, with their easy-to-read, clean design, have helped to add approximately 2,500 customers in less than one year. The city currently services 6,000 households.
East Lansing hired a local firm to decorate the outside of its Tulsa, Okla.-based Crane Carrier truck and Quebec-based Labrie body.
Best Front Loader
Appropriate for its service area in Hudson, Fla., Seaside Sanitation's front loader has a sleek design of a shark ripping through the vehicle. "About the time we were coming up with the idea, there was a big shark alert right off of Anclote Island, a few miles away," says Tony Assalti, operations manager. "It was pretty big news around here."
But bringing sharks to garbage trucks is just one of the many designs Assalti and his associate, Frank Ritchie of nearby Keystone Signs, have developed for each of the company's 28 vehicles. For example, Seaside Sanitation, a division of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Republic Services, used a T-Rex design around the time that the movie Jurassic Park was released.
The company's 22,000 residential, 2,000 commercial and 500 industrial adult customers in Pasco and Hernando counties have been equally enthused by the designs. "We like to think of [our trucks] as rolling billboards coming through the neighborhood."
The pictured front loader uses an Allentown, Pa.-based Mack truck and a Fort Payne, Ala.-based Heil body.
Best Recycling Truck
City of North Miami Beach, Fla.
Nearly all of the city of North Miami Beach's trucks have designs on them, but to make its recycling truck stand out from the pack, the city reused some of the winning drawings from its recycling poster contest held last year.
"We did it to allow children to participate in the process and to give a positive environmental message," says Lynnelle Mays, city public information officer.
The recycling truck design actually has two benefits. "On the one side, you can tell that kids participated [in creating the design] and [we can] showcase these youths who helped to get the message out," Mays says. "On the other side, customers see the trucks on residential roads, which makes for a friendlier presence in the community"
With a Detroit-based Chevrolet truck and a Heil body and container, the vehicle hauls recyclables from the city's recycling and drop-off centers, which are used by 42,000 residents each day.
City of Altamonte Springs, Fla.
With sweepers from Missoula, Mont.-based Johnston Industrial, the city of Altamonte Springs, Fla., is able to convey a sharp message to its residents on all three of its vehicles.
"We had different ideas about illegal sweeping of materials into storm sewers and the environmental impacts, so we decided to go with everything [in our designs]," says Frank Frost, deputy director of public works and utilities.
Using clip art from software programs, department employees chose the designs they wanted to use and sent them to local designer Simple Eye to implement. "We wanted to let people know that litter from the sewers flows directly into our waterways," Frost says.
While most of the response to Altamonte's designs come from kids who "really liked the fish with the sunglasses," Frost says he knows the vehicles' messages are being conveyed. Several residents already have called the city asking for educational sessions on stormwater management, he says.
Southeast Paper Recycling
With help from a local Girl Scout troop, Marietta, Ga.-based Southeast Paper (SP) Recycling was able to spice up its bare newspaper recycling container from local manufacturer Mayo.
The Girl Scouts received the donated container, which is located at nearby elementary school Davis Academy, and ran with the design, says Bonnie Lantz, SP's division manager. "We got a call from Hope Winograd, a troop mom, who thought it would be a good idea to get the kids involved [in promoting recycling]," Lantz says. The scouts painted the container white, and one of the troop's cadets, a seventh grader, sketched the design with her mother and added it to the container. After that, the troop painted between the lines to finish the product.
The project also has helped the school become part of the Keep Sandy Springs/North Fulton Beautiful program, which also helped to coordinate the project.
Danielle Jackson is Waste Age's assistant editor.