The English city of Manchester now operates the UK’s largest fleet of all-electric refuse trucks. It took garbage collectors Biffa only a few months to replace the fleet, although the council funding certainly helped.
Biffa and Manchester City council approved the order in June 2020, following an 18-month trial with the electric refuse trucks made by Electra. The company based in Blackburn now delivered 27 garbage trucks already rolling-out to collect waste across Manchester quietly and with zero-emissions.
Alongside the trucks, charging infrastructure has arrived, delivered by Engie. Their UK branch has installed 30 charge points, with 29 delivering 22 kW and a slightly faster one at 44 kW. Biffa points out they can complete a full shift in one charge.
The company had signed a deal with Engie already in 2020 to install EV chargers at all its UK sites. This supports Biffa’s ‘Resourceful, Responsible’ sustainability strategy, which also includes smaller electric vehicles, i.e. a fleet of more than 600 Nissan e-NV vans.
In Manchester, the City Council invested £10 million (about €11Mn), becoming one of the first local authorities to decarbonise garbage collection. The Council’s “zero-carbon action plan” aims to halve its direct emissions by 2025 as part of a wider drive to make Manchester carbon-free by 2038.
The launch also marks a “major step forward in Biffa’s ambition to be at the forefront of sustainable waste vehicle technology and will help reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the city,” the company claims. The operator has pledged to cease buying fossil-fuelled vehicles by 2030. Biffa says they already reduced their CO2 emissions by 65% since 2002 and targets a further 50% reduction by 2030.
According to the company, phasing out diesel-powered collection vehicles and replacing them with new electric vehicles was one part of reaching this target, along with more efficient collection routes, reducing the amount of waste to landfill and increased investment in recycling.