CRESTVIEW — Waste Management is replacing diesel garbage trucks with vehicles running on compressed natural gas, or CNG.
"CNG vehicles reduce diesel fuel by an average of 8,000 gallons a year per vehicle, along with a reduction of 22 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per vehicle, annually," a company news release stated.
The new trucks — which cost about $350,000 each — are more fuel-efficient and quiet than their diesel counterparts, the company stated.
The company's environmental sustainability initiative requires phasing out its current trucks, 80 percent of which will switch to alternative burning fuels by 2020.
"Natural gas is so much better for the environment," said Crestview resident Lynn Yort, of Waste Management's Gulf Coast region. "We plan to have all of the (local) diesel trucks replaced with the CNG trucks by the end of this year."
More than 30 such vehicles — some of which were displayed Friday at the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce office — will collect garbage for thousands of residents in Okaloosa County, including Crestview.
Waste Management serves nearly 4,000 north Okaloosa County residents who get pick-ups twice a week: once for garbage, and once for recyclable products, Yort said.
The company's other eco-friendly business practices include recently developing a solar-powered trash compactor that can alert the operator when the canister is near full.
"It will actually send a text message to that person," Yort said.
This would keep personnel from constantly monitoring the compactor.
In addition, the company's website, wm.com, provides teacher's educational materials on how to improve environmental sustainability.
"It will actually give you an entire lesson plan," Yort said.
The company constantly seeks ways to recycle items found in its many landfills, she said.
"We are the largest recycling company in the nation," Yort said. Recycling is important and we (all) need to get better at it."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.