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Credit: Heil Environmental

In automated refuse collection systems, an operator who never needs to exit the vehicle can run the truck.
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    Weighing the costs
Key refuse terms

Automated arm—A lift on a refuse collection vehicle that grabs a container, lifts the container to the vehicle hopper, dumps the contents, and then places the container back on the ground. The arm is controlled by an operator from within the vehicle cab.

Automated refuse collection—A system of refuse collection that uses special wheeled carts and refuse collection vehicles equipped with automated arms. The system is designed for maximum productivity, with the vehicle operator never leaving the cab.

Dual collection—The simultaneous collection of two materials, usually either two different recyclable commodities or commingled recyclables and refuse, using a single split-body vehicle. Dual collection systems can be manual, semi-automated, or automated.

Manual refuse collection—The oldest form of refuse collection, in which laborers collect cans, bags, and other refuse by hand and tossed it into a refuse collection vehicle, usually a rear loader. Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT)—A fee system for refuse collection under which customers are charged based on how much waste they generate. Charges are often determined by cart size, number of carts, or number of bags generated.

Semi-automated refuse collection—A system of refuse collection that uses special wheeled carts and refuse collection vehicles of various types equipped with cart tippers. Laborers wheel the carts to the tippers, which then use hydraulics to lift and dump the carts into the vehicle hopper.

Total cost of ownership—The total cost of a piece of equipment over its useful life, including purchase price, maintenance and repair costs, impacts on productivity, and resale value.