Skip to content

Breaking News

News |
Eco-Cycle set to introduce nation’s first electric commercial compost truck to its fleet

Eco-Cycle Executive Director Suzanne Jones takes a ride in an electric Mack truck on Thursday as Eco-Cycle announced its first electric-powered compost collection truck at the University Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. (Deborah Swearingen / Staff Writer)
Eco-Cycle Executive Director Suzanne Jones takes a ride in an electric Mack truck on Thursday as Eco-Cycle announced its first electric-powered compost collection truck at the University Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. (Deborah Swearingen / Staff Writer)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

When the new Eco-Cycle electric compost truck hits the streets, people shouldn’t expect to hear it.

Unlike the traditional garbage or recycling truck, the new electric version is silent and void of the familiar diesel smell.

Eco-Cycle, the Boulder-based nonprofit recycler, hosted an unveiling Thursday morning at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s Anthes Building to celebrate the new Mack truck that’s expected to begin running routes in June. There were a slew of speakers, including Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett, Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado Department of Transportation Director Shoshana Lew.

Along with being a new addition for Eco-Cycle, it marks another first for the nonprofit. The truck is the nation’s first commercial-scale electric-powered collection truck for compostable materials.

For officials with Eco-Cycle and the city, the truck represents the merging of two climate-related goals: zero waste and zero emissions.

“Reducing methane emissions from landfills by collecting organic discards and turning them into compost represents a huge opportunity to fight climate change,” Eco-Cycle Executive Director Suzanne Jones said. “And even better is we’ll be mirroring that with zero emissions.”

Considering Eco-Cycle is the provider of Boulder’s compost collection services, the city stands to benefit from the new truck.

A truck similar to this electric compost collecting truck is expected to begin running routes for Boulder-based nonprofit recycler Eco-Cycle in June. (Deborah Swearingen/Staff Writer)

“Moving people and things is our planet’s fastest growing energy based source of greenhouse gas emissions,” Brockett said. “So every single conversion like this helps in Boulder’s and the broader progress towards our aggressive clean energy and climate goals.”

Boulder City Council in 2021 adopted more aggressive climate targets, including a new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030 against a 2018 baseline. At 22%, the city has a long way to go in its effort to meet that goal.

“Electrification of commercial fleets in our city aligns deeply with the city of Boulder’s mission, vision and climate goals,” Brockett said.

During Thursday’s event, there was a truck for people to view and get inside. It was driven on a test ride through parking lot to demonstrate its noise level. Though similar, it’s not the exact one that will soon be part of Eco-Cycle’s fleet.

For example, the truck at Thursday’s event was meant for residential use, while the one currently in production for Eco-Cycle will be for commercial use, intended to clear dumpsters instead of individual bins.

And instead of white, it will be in the recycler’s traditional green color.

The new truck’s computerized technology is ideal for record gathering and determining exactly how much energy the vehicle is using, and in turn, how much it’s reducing in emissions, according to Eco-Cycle’s Director of Zero Waste Operations Justin Stockdale.

It’s something Eco-Cycle, Mack and others will all be interested in tracking to see just how well the truck is working, Stockdale noted.

For Kent Thompson, vice president of the southwest region of Mack Trucks, a truck for an organization such as Eco-Cycle is the best candidate for electrification, given that it’s “a closed-loop operation.”

“The vehicle returns to its garage every day for charging,” Thompson said.

The truck cost Eco-Cycle about $800,000. In Stockdale’s view, the value extends beyond the environmental benefit. There are potential savings in maintenance and operations with an electric vehicle as well, he noted.

Eco-Cycle currently has 13 trucks in its fleet and the new electric truck will fully replace a non-electric vehicle as the organization works toward continued electrification of its fleet. The new vehicle is likely to operate five to six days a week and is expected to travel 15,000 miles a year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2,500 tons over the vehicle’s lifetime.

“It’s going to be the workhorse of the fleet,” Stockdale said.