Rear load garbage trucks, also sometimes called rear loader garbage trucks or rear end loaders, are a very common type of truck used to collect waste and recycling from communities around the world. However, if you don’t work in waste management or around these trucks every day, you may have some lingering fears or doubts about how safe, effective, or environmentally friendly they are.
This blog post will explore common myths about rear load garbage trucks and explain why you don’t need to be afraid or doubtful about this standard waste collection vehicle. We’ll look at safety, how these trucks actually work, their environmental impact, modern features, why they are used so widely, and answer some common frequently asked questions.
By the end, your fears and doubts will be eliminated, and you’ll have a much better understanding of the humble but important rear load garbage truck!
How Do Rear Load Garbage Trucks Work?
Before addressing specific concerns, let’s start by looking at what defines a rear load garbage truck and how waste collection works using this type of vehicle:
- A rear load garbage truck has the hopper and loading mechanism at the rear of the truck rather than the front or side. This leaves more room for storage of waste.
- hydraulics and forks are used to empty wheeled carts and bins into the rear hopper
- Once dumped in, waste goes into the truck body storage area, which is often compressed to fit more in
- When full, the truck travels to a waste management facility to empty out
|Waste Entry Point
|Rear Load Garbage Truck
|Hopper/mechanism at rear
|Rear of truck
So in summary, rear loading allows more storage capacity while keeping the loading mechanism neatly tucked away at the back rather than protruding on the side or front. Next we’ll look at some common myths about these trucks.
Myth 1: Rear Load Trucks Are Not As Safe As Other Types
Some people doubt whether having the loading mechanism at the back rather than front or side makes rear loading trucks less safe operationally. However, rear loaders are perfectly safe if used properly for a few reasons:
- Loading from the rear has the benefit of increased visibility and oversight for the operators
- Modern rear loaders have advanced sensors and cameras to detect people/obstacles
- The forks used close slowly and have safety switches to prevent accidents
- Workers have procedures and training for operating safely around these trucks
So while no waste truck is completely without risk if improperly used, rear load garbage trucks have plenty of modern safety mechanisms to allow operations that are just as safe as any other type.
Another myth is that rear loading trucks are dirty or use outdated technology. However, modern rear loaders have:
- Low emissions engines meeting current environmental standards
- Hybrid/electric options becoming increasingly common
- Enclosed storage areas to prevent leakage of waste fluids
- Advanced filters/exhaust treatment
So modern rear loading waste trucks are meeting green standards and have features to prevent pollution issues. Of course there’s still room for improvement with more alternative fuel options, but they match or exceed environmental expectations.
Myth 3: Rear Loading Is Lower Capacity for Collection
A common doubt is whether rear loading wastes space compared to other designs. After all, the loading area does take up space that could be used for storage. However, additional space for waste is prioritized with:
- Careful design of body dimensions and shapes
- Compaction systems to crush waste allowing higher volumes
- Larger capacity wheeled carts compatible with the lift/dump process
So while room for the hopper does take up space, engineers account for that by maximizing storage in other areas. As such, capacity is not sacrificed.
Now that we’ve addressed some common myths and fears, let’s look at some great modern features and capabilities that demonstrate why rear load garbage trucks are here to stay as the industry standard:
- Automation – New rear loaders minimize the need for manual input with features like self-loading cart recognition, automated theoretical fill-estimation, and self-compaction initiation. This improves consistency and safety.
- Tracking & Monitoring – From cameras to weight sensors to GPS tracking, today’s rear loaders allow more oversight of metrics like fullness, location & speed for improved operations & planning.
- Alternative Power – As touched on earlier, hybrid and electric options are becoming a bigger portion of new rear loader purchases to meet sustainability goals.
- Ergonomics – New rear loader designs prioritize better sight lines, control positions, cart/bin compatibility and simple maintenance procedures to benefit workers.
So modern rear loading garbage trucks are getting safer, smarter and greener as technology progresses thanks to continued industry adoption. Next we’ll look at why these trucks are so dominant.
Why Are Rear Loaders The Industry Standard?
If you’re still wondering why the majority of waste trucks in your neighborhood are rear loading style rather than front, side or overhead loading, here are the key reasons:
- Simplicity & Reliability – Having the hopper and compaction systems all based at the rear rather than split on either end or side keeps the mechanics simpler compared to other designs. This lends well to reliability.
- Standardization – Having one basic design as standard means parts, maintenance processes and operator skills easily transfer between fleets everywhere. This simplifies logistics and operations.
- Efficiency – The rear load process meets needs for capacity while still allowing respectable speeds and fuel efficiency during neighborhood collection routes.
- Cost Effectiveness – Simple and proven rear loader designs allow cost effective production at scale while meeting safety and sustainability needs.
In summary, don’t fix what isn’t broken. The industry continues relying on rear loaders because this balanced design works very effectively. Incremental technological enhancements over decades on the basic framed have maintained rear loading as the gold standard for waste collection vehicles.
In conclusion, rear loading garbage trucks are here to stay as the industry leader for residential and commercial waste collection needs. Doubts about their safety, effectiveness or environmental friendliness are largely myths thanks to modern features and continuous improvements on a proven design.
Some key takeaways around rear loading garbage trucks:
- Loading from the rear provides good visibility with sensor assists for safety
- Capacity meets needs through compaction systems without sacrificing efficiency
- Low emissions systems and alternative fuels meet sustainability targets
- Automation and ergonomic advances improve the experience for workers
- Reliability, standardization and cost effectiveness keep rear loaders dominant
So if you previously had some fears or reservations around dealing with rear loading garbage trucks – hopefully addressing those myths and highlighting advances in the industry eliminates those concerns! What are your thoughts on rear load garbage trucks? Feel free to share any opinions or ask additional questions below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much waste can a typical rear loading truck hold?
A: The capacity can vary based on size and features, but a common large rear loader can hold 12+ tons of residential solid waste thanks to compaction systems condensing materials.
Q: What is the cost of a new rear loading garbage truck?
A: Depending on size, features, chassis and other customizations, a new rear loading waste collection truck ranges from approximately $150k up to $250k typically.
Q: How long do rear loading waste trucks last?
A: With proper maintenance and scheduled part replacements, a rear loading garbage truck has a service lifespan averaging 7-12 years before needing replacement. Some have been known to last 15+ years however with rebuilds.
Q: What kinds of waste do rear loading trucks collect?
A: These trucks are ideal for residential and commercial municipal solid waste – so mixed trash and dry recycling primarily. Some fleets utilize them for limited organics collection as well. Specifics vary by region and recycling programs in place.
Q: Are there still workers who manually load from the rear?
A: In developing regions this may still occur, but it introduces unnecessary risk and inefficiency. Modern rear loaders are designed for automated self-loading from carts and bins to eliminate manual waste handling.