Waste Management unveiled its newest compressed natural gas-powered disposal trucks on Wednesday that will service Calcasieu and Cameron parishes and residential and commercial customers in Vinton, Westlake and Iowa, La., in hopes of providing cleaner air and quieter streets.
"Waste Management is pleased to introduce our newest CNG fleet to Southwest Louisiana," said Beverly Gilchrist, district manager of WM Lake Charles. "We are excited to celebrate this transition to a clean and green, CNG-powered fleet here in Lake Charles and the surrounding areas. This is Waste Management's third fleet conversion in Louisiana, and it brings us another step closer to reaching Waste Management's overall sustainability goals."
The conversion comes on the heels of the larger shift to natural gas production and purification in the Lake Area.
"Calcasieu Parish is experiencing unprecedented economic growth, which is in large part due to natural gas," said Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President Kevin White. "Waste Management continues to provide high-quality services to the Police Jury in many areas, including our solid waste stations and convenience centers."
The new CNG fleet in Southwest Louisiana is part of WM's corporate goal of having 80 percent of its vehicles converted to alternative fuels by 2020. With the conversions in Southwest Louisiana, Waste Management has switched more than 7,600 service vehicles to alternative fuels, now the largest alternative fuel waste services fleet on the continent.
Each vehicle switched to CNG lowers diesel fuel consumption by at least 8,000 gallons a year. In addition, each vehicle conversion reduces greenhouse emissions by 22 metric tons, Gilchrist said.
"What does that mean to Southwest Louisiana?," asked Rene Faucheux of Waste Management Government Affairs Gulf Coast. "When the Lake Charles fleet is fully converted, we will convert about 50 service vehicles from diesel to CNG. That will mean a reduction of about 400,000 gallons of diesel burned per year, and an elimination of an estimated 1,100 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually."
Not only has Waste Management sought to introduce cleaner vehicles and also CNG filling stations for themselves and the public, but it has also produced its own renewable fuel. According to their website, WM produces almost 30 percent of the natural gas that fuels their vehicles, from their four landfills, in the form of biogas.
"We'd like to thank Waste Management for its forward-thinking, progressive thinking, when it comes to our environment," said Nathan Keller, safety coordinator for the city of Lake Charles. "We're talking quieter vehicles, safe for our kids for the near future. This is important. We're talking for the growth of Calcasieu Parish, for the city of Lake Charles. We are so pleased that Waste Management chose our location."