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
Compare costs for your municipality

You can compare your current collection costs with projected costs for automated collection. The table at right shows how automated collection stacks up for a sample community of 75,000 households.

Comparing the hard costs (equipment, maintenance, and labor) of its manual collection system and a proposed automated system, the community could save $63,750 per month by going automated, for a total savings of more than $3.8 million over the first five years of automated collection.

Many communities amortize the initial costs of automation over five years. If the sample community did so, the monthly collection cost per home would drop even further in the next five years. As a result, the community would save more than $1.5 million each year, for a total savings of about $11.6 million over a 10-year period, in hard costs alone.

Refuse equipment sales representatives are trained in helping communities make these evaluations for their individual situations based on all of the items outlined in the article (geography, number of households, vehicle productivity, etc.). In this example, number of containers is one per household, number of drivers is one per vehicle (not including back-ups), number of trucks is based on the difference in productivity (number of homes that can be collected per day) between an average rear loader and a standard Heil automated refuse collection vehicle, and costs and wages are averages.

Source: Heil Environmental