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Cambridge City Council

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Zero emissions waste collections

News release from 20/03/2020

People in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire will soon see an electric bin lorry collecting recycling, after the shared waste service between the area's two councils purchased one.

The fully electric Dennis Eagle ‘eCollect’ has been bought for use by the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service – a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council. The council service will be one of the first nationally to have one of the green vehicles which have zero emissions and contribute to better air quality when out on the road.

Both councils are committed to helping tackle the climate emergency that we face and are looking at ways to reduce their own carbon emissions. The current diesel vehicles that collect recycling and waste across Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire are among the largest emitters of CO2 at both councils. The Shared Waste service has around 55 collection vehicles and plans to replace them all with electric or hydrogen lorries as the existing trucks come to the end of their working lives. Currently, the Shared Waste Service uses around 50,000 litres of diesel a month at a cost of approximately £55,000.

The new vehicle costs around £400,000. While this is more than a traditional diesel bin collection lorry, Councillors expect the whole-life cost to be at the very least the same – if not less – than a diesel vehicle, when you take into account reduced servicing, fuel and general running costs.

The Dennis Eagle ‘eCollect’ has 5 specially designed battery packs generating 300kWh of power and a 200kW electric motor. Fully loaded it will weigh around 26 tonnes. It typically takes around 7 to 8 hours to recharge and can easily complete a full day of collection rounds and return with charge remaining in the battery. The truck is also substantially quieter than existing bin collection vehicles.

There are solar panels installed on top of the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service’s Depot at Waterbeach, which are already being used to charge two fully electric vans used by members of the team.

Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, Cllr Rosy Moore, added: “Our Shared Waste Service eventually aims to replace all bin lorries with zero emission options - by 2028 at the latest. As well as reducing our carbon emissions, electric vehicles also contribute to cleaner air and given our focus on air quality, this is another reason we’ve made this purchase. It’s an exciting new technology but inside the lorry itself it is quite like what we already have. So, we know our crews will quickly become familiar with it. As well as electric vehicles, we’re also investigating the possibility of testing vehicles that are powered by hydrogen in future too. We’re committed to doing what we can to cut our own carbon emissions and decarbonising our waste fleet will be a big step towards this.”

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, Cllr Bill Handley, said: “This is another example of how we are doing everything we can to be green to our core and tackle the climate emergency. This is the right thing to do from an environmental and financial point of view because, when you add everything up over several years, we expect the cost of the new electric lorry to be at least the same if not cheaper than a diesel one. The next step is to make sure we are powering this new vehicle with clean, renewable energy and we’re looking at whether it is possible to install a solar farm near our waste depot to be completely self-sufficient when it comes to charging our vehicles. I’m looking forward to seeing this brilliant piece of technology out and about.”

Dennis Eagle’s Sales and Marketing Director Richard Taylor said: “We’re delighted that Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service has ordered our new all-electric vehicle.

“We’re very proud of the eCollect. It’s the only fully integrated electric refuse collection vehicle produced by an original equipment manufacturer and we’re confident it will make a big impact on waste management in the UK. And Greater Cambridge will be one of the very first to show just what it can achieve.”

Find out more about your local recycling services at www.cambridge.gov.uk/recycling or www.scambs.gov.uk/recycling.