Heiberg Garbage & Recycling

Heiberg Garbage & Recycling (HGR) is not only picking up refuse and recyclables in the Portland area, it’s now cleaning up the metropolitan air shed and helping with noise reduction. HGR currently operates 11 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled garbage trucks and it’s own private CNG fueling station in Milwaukie, Oregon.

This is a big step in the right direction for a locally family owned and operated company. Although there is a large initial capital investment to make this change, HGR feels our customers and environment are worth it.

“Our trucks drive by, idle, stop and start in front of every customer’s house every week, year around. The CNG trucks are much quieter than normal diesel trucks, plus clean air matters to our customers as much as it does to us and they will see us reducing those diesel soot and particulate emissions every week. And, the global warming gas reductions, although invisible, show up too. This is the right thing to do and it costs less in the long run. That savings is also passed onto our customers in the rates.”

Co-owner Bruce Heiberg

How Are We "Going Green"?

Since 1990, Portland’s population has grown by 38%.  With more people calling our City home, we’ve seen jobs increase by 34%.  In that same timeframe, Portland has reduced per person emissions in Multnomah County by 38%.  While celebrating that win, we need to be aware that in the last 8 years, local carbon emissions have hit a plateau at 15% less than our 1990 emission levels.  This is both a success story and a warning. (1)

Contributing 42% of Multnomah County’s carbon emissions, the transportation sector is the largest contributor of carbon emissions in Multnomah County.(1)  HGR has continually taken steps to do our part in reducing that figure. This isn’t a new trend for HGR. In 2013, we purchased and installed our first CNG fueling station on our lot.  In order to expand our CNG fleet, we purchased and installed a larger CNG fueling station in 2016.

In 2019, operating our 11 CNG trucks displaced approximately 71,500 Diesel Gallon Equivalents (DGEs).  To get a better picture of how much that is, imagine a swimming pool 40 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 10 feet deep.  The diesel fuel we replaced with CNG could fill that pool.

In 2019, we also made the conversion from compressed natural gas (CNG) to renewable natural gas (RNG) for these trucks.  It’s important to know that CNG is still considered a fossil fuel due to it being made over millions of years by heat and pressure on organic materials.  RNG is produced through anaerobic digestion from organic materials, such as landfill waste, dairy farms/livestock, etc. (2)

1) Multnomah County 2017 Carbon Emissions and.  September 18, 2019.

2) U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center Natural Gas Basics.

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The Lower Fuel Cost, Cleaner Combustion And Lower Emissions Benefits Are Already Being Experienced By HGR And It’s Customers. Some of those benefits

  • HGR was one of the first collection companies in Oregon to operate a CNG truck. Early adoption and promotion of a cleaner fuel fleet will help accelerate and support alternative fuel adoption by other interested fleets and private parties.

  • The site of HGR’s fueling station, and planned expansion of fueling capacity, is ideally situated in a light-industrial area where roadway infrastructure provides good access and where numerous heavy and medium duty fleets operate daily. Many of those may soon choose to use this site for fueling or see a viable model for converting their fleets to use CNG or other alternative fuels.

  • CNG trucks in the fleet are proving quite reliable and all indications are that these cleaner burning engines are reducing our maintenance costs and will have longer engine life.

  • Customers are particularly interested in seeing local diesel particulate and hydrocarbon emissions reduction in their neighborhoods. HGR is a model of how that can be economically accomplished while providing the same great service. And, customers will see and appreciate it every day their collection service is provided.

  • As the HGR fleet grows, the cumulative petroleum diesel displacement over the next five years of some 450,000 gallons will improve domestic fuel security, reduce fleet operating cost and substantially reduce CO2, particulate and other hydrocarbon emissions.

  • Annual natural gas rates provide a more stable fuel price than the volatility experienced in petroleum pricing that will benefit franchise agreements, reduce long-term costs for consumers and improve business cost forecasting. Even with petroleum diesel down to $3 a gallon, CNG still costs less when accounting for all the costs of fueling and maintenance.

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Links To More Information On Compressed Natural Gas As A Transportation Fuel

Case Studies And Research On Economics And Benefits of CNG

Effects of Natural Gas Vehicles and Fuel Prices on Key Transportation Economic Metrics, July 2014, a report to Washington Department of Transportation by Kevin Heaslip Ph.D., PE, Ryan Bosworth Ph.D., Ryan Barnes, Ali Soltani Sobh, Michael Thomas Ph.D., and Zigi Song Ph.D. – Utah Transportation Center, Utah State University

Natural Gas-powered refuse truck use flourishes in U.S., August 2013, American Recycler News

Republic adds 20 CNG Refuse Trucks in Missouri, December 2014, Green Fleets Magazine

Case Study – Compressed Natural Gas Refuse Trucks, February 2014, U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

Exhausted by Diesel: How America’s Dependence on Diesel Engines Threatens Our Health, June 1998, by Gina M. Solomon, Todd R. Campbell, Tim Carmichael, Gail Ruderman-Feuer and Janet S. Hathaway for Natural Resources Defense Council

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