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This article was published 3/11/2020 (325 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The City of Winnipeg could explore how greener garbage vehicles may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On Nov. 9, council’s environment committee will vote on whether to study the feasibility of requiring future garbage and recycling collection contracts to use electric-powered trucks.
Coun. Brian Mayes, who will raise the motion, said that work could lead the city to mandate that electric vehicles replace some or all of the gas-powered trucks.
"This just seemed to be something we could do at one stroke and it’s about reducing emissions. We’re a (hydroelectric) province. We have tons of hydro, we should take advantage of that," said Mayes, chairman of the environment committee.
"I’m trying to get a sense of where the technology is, where (it will) be in a couple of years," he added.
Mayes said the report would help determine what it might cost the city to require its next round of garbage collectors use electric garbage vehicles, regardless of whether the service remains entirely contracted out or includes in-house work. He noted greener models are expected to cost more than gasoline-powered trucks but should be cheaper to fuel and maintain.
A recent Wall Street Journal article notes a Nikola Corp. electric garbage truck sells for US$500,000, while a gas-powered garbage truck tends to cost from US$200,000 to US$300,000.
The city says its trash collection system relies on about 85 vehicles.
Curt Hull, the project director of Climate Change Connection, said the city could set a good example by replacing its garbage trucks with electric models.
While Hull cautioned that change alone wouldn’t trigger a major reduction in the municipal government’s overall emissions, he said it would mark one step in the right direction.
He said there may be some financial benefits to making the switch.
"There’s so little maintenance required for (electric vehicles) and the expected lifetime of the vehicle is much (longer), too," Hull said. "You may pay a premium to purchase it, but over the longer term (that pays off)."
Mayes said he would like to see a report on the idea within six months. He said that would offer plenty of time to determine if new contract requirements should be added before the city’s two largest garbage-collection contracts expire on Jan. 31, 2025.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.