SWC Credit: Alternative Fueled Solid Waste Collection Vehicles
(1-2 Points, Reciprocal)
This credit aims to reduce emissions from the solid waste collection sector by transitioning to the use of alternative vehicle fuels. In order to achieve this, municipalities and companies can completely electrify their fleet of collection vehicles or use alternative fuels like landfill methane, natural gas, digester methane, biofuels, or diesel fuel hybrids. The waste management industry contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, so a switch to alternative fuels can lessen the industry’s impact on the environment.
The waste management sector represents about 4% of total U.S. anthropogenic global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and collection vehicles make up a growing share of the sector’s GHG emission contributions. Upgrading collection vehicles to alternative fueled vehicles can greatly reduce the waste management sector’s significant contribution to GHG emissions.
To meet the standard requirements, municipalities and industries need to demonstrate the use of renewable or low-emission fuels for their solid waste collection vehicles. Their fleet list must have 30% or 50% or more collection vehicles that use renewable energy. They need to present a fleet list with records of the vehicle models, manufacturer, fuel source, and gas efficiency measured in miles per gallon (mpg). They also must record the projected fuel consumption rate and emissions output of each vehicle to demonstrate that the rates are lower than the fuel consumption rate and emissions output of the original vehicles.
Case Study & Benefits
A study by The Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association shows that by monitoring heavy duty diesel vehicles (HDDV) by a global positioning system (GPS), the emissions associated with said vehicles can be accurately estimated. By being able to accurately estimate emissions and fuel efficiency via GPS allows waste managers to and waste management researchers to estimate the socioeconomic toll places on external parties. Estimated emissions in this study concluded that fuel efficiency and emissions associated with MSW trucks are significantly lower than the rate that’s published.
Intent and Requirements
This credit aims to reduce atmospheric emissions associated with collection and transportation of solid waste and promote renewable and low-carbon intensity alternatives to non-renewable transportation fuels.
Local Government & Industry Requirements
Demonstrate, on a percentage basis, the use of renewable or low-emission fuels in the solid waste collection vehicles. The percentage of alternative fuel use can be determined on the basis of either the fraction of the vehicle fleet or the fraction of annual miles traveled.
Tier 1: (1 point)
Percentage of Alternative Fueled21 collection vehicles:
- 30 percent or more of the collection vehicle fleet use utilizes Renewable fuels; in collection vehicles
- 30 percent of total collection vehicle fuel consumption is Renewable fuel;
- 30 percent of total collection fleet miles traveled is by Renewable-fueled vehicles.
- 60 percent or more of the collection vehicle fleet utilizes Alternative/Low-Carbon fuels;
- 60 percent of total collection vehicle fuel consumption is Alternative/Low- Carbon fuel;
- 60 percent of total collection fleet miles traveled is by Alternative/Low- Carbon vehicles.
Tier 2: (+1 point)
Percentage of Alternative Fueled collection vehicles:
- 50 percent or more of the collection vehicle fleet utilizes Renewable fuels;
- 50 percent of total collection vehicle fuel consumption is Renewable fuel;
- 50 percent of total collection fleet miles traveled is by Renewable-fueled vehicles.
- 95 percent or more of the collection vehicle fleet utilizes Alternative/Low-Carbon Intensity fuels or 95 percent of total fleet vehicle miles traveled for collection is Alternative/Low-Carbon Intensity fuels.
Why We Care
As of this year (2021), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the waste management sector represents about 4% of total U.S. anthropogenic global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Collection vehicle emissions take up a growing share of the municipal solid waste management emissions. The average fuel efficiency of one MSW collection truck was estimated to generate 42 metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year. This is comparable to the greenhouse gas emissions of a large sport utility vehicle driving six times the distance in the same year. Usage of alternative fuel sources including renewable and low-carbon intensity alternatives can help reduce global greenhouse emissions. As there are opportunities to reduce GHG in the transportation step, SWC credit 3 seeks to help municipalities track and demonstrate reduction in atmospheric emissions through upgrading the vehicle fleet to alternative fueled solid waste collection vehicles.
How to Meet the Requirements
- Electric collection vehicles
- Utilize landfill methane
- Utilize natural gas
- Utilize Digester methane
- Diesel Hybrid collection vehicles
- Liquid fuels derived from solid waste
The methodology demonstrated in a study by The Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association shows that by monitoring heavy duty diesel vehicles (HDDV) by a global positioning system (GPS), the emissions associated with said vehicles can be accurately estimated. The study goes on to assert that the ability to estimate the emissions of solid waste collection vehicles via GPS enables waste managers and governing bodies to take responsibility for the socioeconomic cost taken on by external parties. The study also indicates that MSW collection trucks may be considerably less fuel efficient in the field than published values.
To estimate the driving and emission output of vehicle fleets, standard global positioning system (GPS) data was tracked and fuel usage from each vehicle was recorded. The fuel consumption rate specific to each vehicle was established based on the distance driven. The driven distance was calculated considering date, time, speed, times the engine was turned on or off, and mileage recorded by the GPS data. The GPS data also conveniently plotted the truck route using the minute-by minute position records to illustrate the general activities performed by the crew each day. The fuel consumption rate while driving is the quotient between the total distance driven and the amount of fuel not consumed while idling. Once established, the fuel consumption rates are then combined with average GHG and CAP emission rates. Emissions were estimated by multiplying the rate of fuel consumption during driving and idling by published emissions factors. Therefore, the emission outputs are estimated as the product of measured fuel consumption rates and published average emission rates (Agar, Baetz, Wilson; Fuel Consumption, Emissions Estimation, and Emissions Cost Estimates Using Global Positioning Data).
Alternative fuels (Already defined in credit)
Anthropogenic – Of human origin or resulting from human activity.
EPA Definition: Emissions is the term used to describe the gases and particles which are put into the air or emitted by various sources.
Diesel Hybrid Collection Vehicles
Collection vehicles that use more than one means of propulsion, in this case a vehicle that combines a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor.
Sample SWEEP Definition: methane produced as a result of anaerobic digestion
EPA Definition: a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic material in landfills
Low Carbon Intensity Fuels / Low Emission Fuels (Already defined in credit)
EIA Definition: Natural gas is a fossil energy source that formed deep beneath the earth’s surface. Natural gas contains many different compounds. The largest component of natural gas is methane, a compound with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4). Natural gas also contains smaller amounts of natural gas liquids (NGL, which are also hydrocarbon gas liquids), and non hydrocarbon gases, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor. We use natural gas as a fuel and to make materials and chemicals.
Renewable Fuels (already defined in credit)