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Talking Trash: Discussing the Trends that Matter to the Nation’s Refuse Collection Fleet Managers with Don Ross, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at New Way Trucks

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Question: What kind of innovation is happening in the solid waste collection space currently?  

Answer: There are numerous trends and innovations underway! As a refuse collection vehicle manufacturer, the industry trends we are most focused on include alternative fuels like 100 percent battery-electric and compressed natural gas (CNG), improved automation and safety, and organics programs – all with a focus on customization. At New Way, we believe that all solid waste is local. This is visible in the equipment variations our customers request. To meet that need we manufacture the widest product lineup of any refuse equipment manufacturer. With over 40 models of eleven different product lines of mobile refuse collection equipment, there’s no refuse collection need that New Way Trucks cannot meet.

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New Way’s product lineup features six rear-load, three side-load, and two front-load (standard and West Coast lightweight) models.

Q: You mentioned that 100 percent battery-electric is an industry trend. Are there currently any New Way electric vehicles in use?   

A: Yes. In fact, New Way has completed six battery-electric collection vehicles in the last two years, and several more are on the way. Last year, New Way Trucks partnered with electric vehicle chassis manufacturer Build Your Dreams USA (BYD) to release the first 100 percent battery-electric rear end loader to the Seattle market for our valued customer, Recology.  

More recently, we completed the first fully automated residential side-load vehicle for our longtime customer - San Francisco Bay Area-based GreenWaste - on the second generation BYD chassis. BYD is referring to this unit as the “most advanced refuse collection vehicle in the world.” New Way is excited and honored to be at the forefront of the battery-electric movement as an alternative to traditionally fueled refuse collection vehicles.

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The New Way Sidewinder XTR™/BYD 100% battery-electric automated side-loader (ASL) completes a stop in Palo Alto, California   

Q: Do you see municipalities committing to battery-electric fleets as well, or is interest being driven primarily by private haulers?  

A: Both, actually. Our private haulers have been the first to explore 100 percent battery-electric collection vehicles, but several of our municipal customers have also expressed interest. New Way’s first six battery-electric units have been for private haulers in the Western United States, which has driven interest from many municipal customers across the country. New Way’s next three 100 percent battery-electric units will begin operating for a municipality on the East Coast in the first half of next year. Based on the performance of the current generation units, we see battery-electric as an alternative really taking off in 2021 and beyond.  

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Three New Way 100% battery-electric rear-loaders ready to be delivered to Recology (left, right) and GreenWaste (center)

Q: How would a hauler or municipality kick off a 100 percent battery-electric refuse truck project with New Way?

A: To learn more about how New Way refuse bodies can bolster your fleet – no matter the fuel source – or to contact your New Way authorized distributor, visit the Distributor Locator page on newwaytrucks.com.

While other equipment manufacturers are ditching their distributor networks in favor of direct-to-consumer and online sales channels, we’re bucking that trend by continually investing in our equipment distributors. The New Way Authorized Distributor Network is one of the industry’s most robust and well-respected, and our network serves North America from over ninety locations coast to coast.

New Way and our distributors share the common goal of building, distributing, and supporting the highest quality, most reliable equipment in the solid waste industry. New Way distributors are product experts, serve as a local resource for our end-users, and are the go-to authority for service and OEM parts. It’s no secret that we could not have become the largest privately held manufacturer of refuse equipment in North America without our distributor-partners, and New Way’s growth continues as a result of our distributor network’s hard work.

Q: How has this past year impacted the safety of the industry’s refuse collection vehicle operators?

A: The pandemic and its direct impact on higher residential waste volumes certainly brings automated refuse collection to the forefront of fleet managers’ minds.
 
It’s no secret that garbage men and women put themselves in harm’s way each day to play a vital role in keeping us safe from infection and disease. In order to ensure the safety of our customers’ vehicle operators, New Way is proud to offer front-end load (FEL) and ASL alternatives to the traditional rear-end load collection vehicles that we also manufacture.  
 

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This New Way Mammoth™ FEL took a break under a rainbow en route to its current destination: Steamboat Springs, Colorado 

The main safety benefit of automated refuse collection vehicles is that the vehicle’s operator stays inside the climate-controlled cab of the truck, which, among many other benefits prolongs the careers of an aging workforce while also mitigating the risks posed when riding on or working behind a rear-loader. In today’s climate, automated collection vehicles have another notable benefit: automation reduces contact with the waste stream to nearly zero. Couple that with a single vehicle operator as well as the speed at which ASLs collect solid waste and you’re helping to control the spread of disease and illness while providing an essential service.

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A New Way Sidewinder XTR™ completes a stop this past fall in Jefferson, Iowa  

People may not be aware that garbage collection in the United States began over 130 years ago to prevent the spread of disease and illness. Alongside the 467,000 men and women that work in the solid waste industry in the U.S., the iron-willed people at New Way Trucks are proud to serve a vital role in an industry that provides peace of mind in uncertain times and positively touches all of our lives. 

Q: Until the necessary infrastructure is in place for 100 percent battery-electric vehicles to become more widely utilized, is CNG your most viable environmentally friendly option?   

A: Yes. Currently, more than 25 percent of all New Way refuse collection vehicles are built to be fueled with CNG. Cleaner emissions, long-term fuel cost savings with a domestic fuel source, and quiet operation are just a few reasons why so many haulers and municipalities are committing to CNG-powered refuse collection fleets. CNG systems are available on most New Way models, and we continue to work with fuel system providers to optimize designs.   
 
New Way Trucks is proud to have aided in developing the most advanced mobile refuse collection vehicles in the world and to have played a major role in affecting positive, sustainable change. 

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These New Way King Cobras are outfitted with CNG fueling systems. The trucks are part of a larger order that lays the cornerstone of Sacramento, California’s waste collection program. 

Q: Besides CNG & battery-electric, what other advancements are taking place in powering the nation’s garbage truck fleets?  

A: CNG and battery-electric are the hot buzzwords, but new clean-diesel technology is often overlooked. Engine manufacturers have focused on reducing emissions for more than a decade and they now claim that current tailpipe emissions are cleaner than the air entering the engine! At New Way, we are chassis agnostic and work with various chassis providers that our customers select. Our engineers develop integration strategies with each chassis manufacturer to ensure that the two major components - the vehicle chassis and its New Way refuse body - operate optimally as a complete refuse collection vehicle.  
 
An example of chassis-body integration is our work with Autocar Truck. The Power of One® New Way/Autocar Truck system represents a seamless integration between chassis and body and is designed to improve manufacturing lead times, reduce rework and warranty claims, and improve performance. 

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An engineering rendering highlights key elements of the New Way/Autocar Trucks Power of One® refuse vehicle.  

Q: What other innovations or trends should we know about?  

A: Organic waste collection and processing continues to expand because of the beneficial reuse qualities of the materials being collected and the subsequent reduction in waste disposal. The New Way ROTO PAC® auger-driven ASL is specifically designed to collect and process organic waste but has also proven itself collecting garbage.  

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The New Way ROTO PAC’s auger replaces a conventional packing panel and hydraulic cylinders.

The auger generates higher compaction per cubic yard than your standard pack panel design, liberates materials from bags, and has the highest legal payload of any side loader available today. We see organics management as the future and New Way is working on the next generation of ROTO PAC® now, designed for commercial collection of organics and food waste.

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A 27 yd ³ fully automated ROTO PAC® side-loader

Be on the lookout for even more innovation from New Way with as we approach the first anniversary of our new manufacturing facility opening in Booneville, Mississippi. The facility began operations in January of this year. Since then, both the RL and ASL production lines are up and running, we’ve exceeded our initial hiring goals by adding over 130 new team members, and our Booneville facility has won both local and statewide awards for our positive impact on the surrounding community!

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New Way Trucks is the cornerstone brand of the McLaughlin Family Companies, a diversified portfolio of businesses that include refuse equipment, animal control and mobile veterinary equipment, high-performance vehicle manufacturing, new and used automotive vehicle sales, and automotive parts and car care products distribution and sales. To learn more, visit newwaytrucks.com and mcfamco.com.  

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