Miami-Dade County

Garbage goes green in Miami-Dade County; facility opens in Medley

Cutting the ribbon on the the new Waste Management of Miami-Dade County facility in Medley are, from left: Medley Council members Edgar Ayala, and Griselia Digiacomo, Medley Mayor Roberto Martell, WM Florida Area Vice President Tim Hawkins, WM Government Relations Director Alex Gonzalez, Medley Councilwoman Susana Guasch and Medley Vice Mayor Jack Morrow.
Cutting the ribbon on the the new Waste Management of Miami-Dade County facility in Medley are, from left: Medley Council members Edgar Ayala, and Griselia Digiacomo, Medley Mayor Roberto Martell, WM Florida Area Vice President Tim Hawkins, WM Government Relations Director Alex Gonzalez, Medley Councilwoman Susana Guasch and Medley Vice Mayor Jack Morrow. emichot@miamiherald.com

Your garbage has gone green.

On Tuesday, Waste Management in South Florida opened the doors of its new facility in Medley.

The $10 million site features a cutting-edge compressed natural gas “CNG” fueling station with about 30 environmentally-friendly garbage and recycling trucks. The 37,000-square-foot facility sits on 16 acres of land at Northwest 93rd Street and 88th Avenue.

“For each diesel truck that is replaced by a CNG-powered vehicle, Waste Management reduces its consumption of diesel fuel by 8,000 gallons per year which cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 22 metric tons,” spokeswoman Savannah Whaley said.

“Vehicles powered by CNG emit nearly zero particulate emissions, cut smog-producing nitrogen oxide emissions by 50 percent compared with the cleanest diesel trucks, are far quieter in residential neighborhoods than diesel trucks and reduce overall fuel expenses.”

Apart from “the benefits of cleaner fuel, cleaner community and cleaner air,” Tim Hawkins, Waste Management’s area vice president, said the trucks also have other major perks — they’re less noisy.

“It sounds more like a passenger automobile than it does a heavy truck. They’re not going to hear us coming,” Hawkins said. “The average community member is going to see a benefit from compressed natural gas by less smog as a result of our trucks, and a lot less noise. We’re not going to be disruptive to anybody. Yes, it’s still a garbage truck and we’re still delivering service, but they’re not going to hear the approach of a noisy vehicle.”

The Waste Management facility in Medley utilizes CNG trucks to service Coral Gables, Florida International University, Homestead, Miami Beach, North Miami Beach, and South Miami.

Hialeah Gardens and Virginia Gardens are in plans to be serviced, too.

Over the years, the company has slowly converted its fleets of vehicles into CNG trucks. So far, 5,000 of its vehicles are running on natural gas across the country; 350 of them in Florida.

Hawkins said the upgrades in equipment won’t be hurting residents’ wallets.

“We do not expect to pass along the cost of our reinvestment in this community,” Hawkins said, adding that the cost of the CNG equipment is 30 percent more than a diesel vehicle.

The former facility was located in downtown Miami for more than two decades. They moved to its new home in late November.

Now, the new-and-improved complex is home to 350 employees, who service 175 waste and recycling collection routes throughout the county.

Roberto Garcia, the route manager for Brickell, downtown and North Miami Beach, said driving one of the CNG trucks “is a joy; it means more than you know.”

“I feel like a doctor for the community,” Garcia said. “If we don’t pick up the trash or the garbage, disease will spread. It’s like being a doctor for all humanity or society. Plus, those trucks go for more than $275,000. It’s probably going to be the most expensive car I’ll ever drive.”

Monique O. Madan: 305-376-2108, @MoniqueOMadan

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