In Hamburg, electric garbage trucks may solve trash (and traffic) issues

electric garbage trucks may solve trash

The city of Hamburg currently ranks second-largest in Germany, with population of 1.8 million that’s expected to grow 20 percent by 2045. Not only is the city a cosmopolitan one, it’s also one of the country’s industrial hubs, with Europe’s third-largest port and Germany’s fifth-largest airport. When the city served as European Green Capital 2011, it reduced carbon emissions by 2 million tonnes, compared with 2007. Now Hamburg is hoping to cut carbon emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, in addition to significantly reducing both sewage and municipal waste. With the launch of electrically powered garbage trucks, the city can achieve both goals and improve air quality while transporting trash up to 27 tonnes.-Bruno De Man 


Future-forward trash collecting

Each year, Hamburg’s 300 garbage trucks release more than 30 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the air. That’s about to change as Volvo’s new electric garbage truck, the Volvo FE Electric, is introduced in Hamburg in 2019. Designed to handle heavier city distribution, the new truck will help improve air quality while reducing traffic noise and lowering congestion during peak traffic hours. Since there aren’t any loud exhaust emissions, the trucks can make their rounds early in the morning or late at night without waking residents. Not only are they quieter, the lithium-ion powered trucks are vibration-free and have a battery capacity that can be tailored to specific needs (and charged at main or quick-charge stations), reaching distances of over 200 kilometres.

Hamburg has already incorporated electrically powered buses and electric bus terminals into its mobility model and plans to up the number of electric cars in the municipal fleets by 50 percent by 2020. In addition to developing recharging infrastructure for e-vehicles, the city has also initiated recycling programs at its port, as well as in citizens’ homes. Hamburg has helped reduce illegal dumping at sea by passing a regulation allowing ships to dispose of six cubic metres of waste—instead of just one—at no additional fee, eliminating 20,000 cubic metres of waste dumped into the North Sea each year. The city has also increased the number of recycling bins around town by over 50 percent, reducing waste by 55,000 tonnes.

By initiating recycling programs, encouraging proper waste disposal, and looking to green energy solutions for waste vehicles, Hamburg is continuing to lead the pack with sustainable urban development that will surely help the city reach its carbon neutral goals while becoming a cleaner one for citizens to live in.