Portland’s first electric garbage truck will hit eastside streets soon

By Monica Samayoa (OPB)
Nov. 2, 2023 1 p.m. Updated: Nov. 6, 2023 8:45 p.m.

COR Disposal and Recycling is the first waste handling company in the city to electrify its vehicles.

There will soon be a new kind of electric vehicle going around east Portland: an all-electric garbage truck.

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COR Disposal and Recycling, along with Portland General Electric, unveiled Oregon’s first electric garbage truck on Thursday. The zero-emissions truck, which was mostly funded through PGE’s Drive Change Fund, can hold a charge for two days’ worth of residential garbage pickups, which is about 10 hours a day. The company’s current garbage trucks, which use diesel fuel, need about 40 gallons for the same amount of work.

City of Roses Disposal & Recycling and Portland General Electric unveiled Oregon’s first electric garbage truck on Thursday Nov. 2, 2023.

City of Roses Disposal & Recycling and Portland General Electric's new electric garbage truck.

Monica Samayoa / OPB

Alando Simpson is COR’s CEO, which formerly operated as City of Roses Disposal and Recycling. He said the truck is a major milestone for the industry.

“They’re around all hours of the day and all hours of the night,” he said. “They go through all different parts of our community, whether residential areas, commercial areas, industrial areas.”

PGE’s Drive Change Fund, which focuses on electrifying the transportation sector, receives money through the state’s Clean Fuels Program.

Simpson said the company hopes electric trucks can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in local neighborhoods.

“We’re doing our due diligence to make sure that we’re not contaminating the environment any more, especially since most of our work takes place in East Portland and in a lot of those communities where there are climate challenges,” he said. “They aren’t getting the resources and investment to decarbonize for the future.”

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According to the Department of Environmental Quality, the transportation sector accounts for nearly 40% of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions, the largest single source in Oregon. While personal electric vehicle ownership has risen significantly in recent years, heavier industry vehicles like garbage trucks and buses also contribute to emissions across the state. Portland General Electric distributes state funds through its Drive Change Fund to help electrify those vehicles.

The fund has awarded millions of dollars to local businesses, municipalities and nonprofits to accelerate transportation electrification in Oregon, according to PGE. So far, there have been efforts to electrify school buses, heavy duty trucks, public transportation, fire trucks, street sweepers and tractors.

City of Roses Disposal & Recycling and Portland General Electric unveiled Oregon’s first electric garbage truck on Thursday Nov. 2, 2023. PGE also installed a DC Fast Charging station in the company's property.

Portland General Electric has installed a DC Fast Charging station on its property.

Monica Samayoa / OPB

Simpson said COR’s partnership with PGE was essential in getting the electric truck, which cost about $675,000. He said a diesel truck costs about $350,000. PGE also installed a charging station for COR.

Elyssia Lawrence, PGE’s senior manager of transportation electrification, said one of the company’s goals through the fund is to show that electrifying industrial vehicles can benefit residential customers.

“What’s exciting to see is this carbon reduction in neighborhoods, especially residential neighborhoods,” she said. “Also the noise reduction, right, whenever you’ve got a change from combustion or diesel over to electric, the noise level reduces significantly.”

Lawrence said another benefit of having more electric vehicles on the road is the creation of green energy jobs, like electricians and software developers, who will help maintain and troubleshoot when there are issues.

Simpson said his father started their waste disposal company 30 years ago with one truck. Today, the company has 25 and he’s hoping to add more.

He said his goal would be to electrify his whole fleet of garbage trucks.

“It’s a very important milestone in the evolution of the company as we started with a first and now we’re doing a first again,” he said “The exciting piece now is stepping into this space of innovation, especially when we’re in a time where people are wanting something different, people want something new.”

Simpson said being the first to get an electric garbage truck in the state and piloting a program can be stressful, but he hopes he can collect as much information as possible to help get more electric garbage trucks on the road.

The garbage truck is expected to be deployed in East Portland in the coming weeks.

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