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A step in a greener direction: Des Moines to add all-electric garbage truck to fleet

In a first-of-its-kind move for the state, an all-electric garbage truck will be coming to Des Moines within the next year or two.

DES MOINES, Iowa — On Monday, the Des Moines City Council approved the purchase of a new electric garbage truck, the first of its kind in Iowa. It could be out on the streets as soon as this year.

"Garbage trucks in the city of Des Moines are only 4% of the city's total fleet, but they use 50% of all the diesel fuel in our fleet," said Jeremy Caron, sustainability program manager for the city of Des Moines. 

That's a hefty difference, especially considering 88% of the electricity in Iowa is renewably generated, according to Jonathan Gano, director of public works in Des Moines. 

Now, your garbage trucks could be a part of that 88%, instead of the 12% minority. 

Gano said the city has had its eyes on going green for years, but have had to wait it out.

"Electronic vehicles have exploded on the passenger vehicle side on the consumer market, the heavy-duty vehicles [have been] a little slower to respond in that marketplace," Gano said. 

Now the wait is over. The city hopes to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"This electric vehicle project just fits into that as part of the strategy to reduce emissions across our community," Caron said. 

There's also an even more ambitious goal: AdaptDSM, a program established by the city in response to climate change, is aiming for Des Moines to have 24/7 carbon-free electricity citywide by 2035. There are several different projects in the work to make this vision a reality. 

"We're working to develop a larger charging network throughout the city," Caron said. "Right now we're focusing on building out charging infrastructure in our parking garages. But we're also looking at opportunities to get charging infrastructure out into the neighborhood."

Gano hopes to see the truck in service within the next year or two. 

If you want to get involved with the city's goal of going 100% carbon free, you can take the city's survey online at dsm.city/adapt. 

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