Are garbage trucks a major source of litter?

The in basket: Among the questions the Road Warrior gets about roadside litter are those who suspect that garbage trucks are a major source of it.
Connie DeCicco was the latest, asking a month ago, “Why is it that when I am behind a garbage truck (Brem-Air) on the highway, I see buckets of garbage flying out. I actually had to change lanes one day because my car seemed to be in a direct line of the loose garbage.


The in basket: Among the questions the Road Warrior gets about roadside litter are those who suspect that garbage trucks are a major source of it.
Connie DeCicco was the latest, asking a month ago, “Why is it that when I am behind a garbage truck (Brem-Air) on the highway, I see buckets of garbage flying out. I actually had to change lanes one day because my car seemed to be in a direct line of the loose garbage.
“Volunteers, and no doubt some paid employees, will soon be out along the freeway cleaning up again. If I threw one piece of garbage out the fine is a hefty $250. Does the fine not apply to a garbage truck?
Her comments echo those of Tom Marcucci
of Allyn, whose March 2004 e-mail has gone unanswered until now. He noticed a lot of trash, “cardboard, paper, garbage bags… in the medium on the section of Highway 3 running between Bremerton and Silverdale,” he said. “They seem in great part much larger than you might think would be thrown out of a car.
“So I have two questions. Are the Brem-Air trucks losing part of their loads as they drive this route….. and second, whoever is putting it there, who is responsible for picking it up and when will they start?”
The out basket: Terry Bickel, local manager for Waste Management, which now owns Brem-Air, concedes that a lot of the roadside litter comes from the company’s trucks.
They haul 200,000 tons of trash a year here, he said. “We do everything possible (to keep it from escaping),” he said, “but you will lose a little bit now and then. When it’s windy and you’re going down the road at 60 miles per hour, some will get away.
“Plastic bags are our worst enemy” in that regard, he added
The company is susceptible to the same laws as everyone else and they do occasionally get littering tickets, he said.
They are about to spend $1.5 million on new recycling trucks when one-container recycling begins here later this year, he said, which will help. The existing recycling trucks lose more than the trash trucks or construction boxes.
The trash that gets away is cleaned up by a combination of adopt-a-highway volunteers, youth corps employees, jail trustys and others. Some are paid.

4 thoughts on “Are garbage trucks a major source of litter?

  1. “Plastic bags are our worst enemy”.
    Does he have an alternative? Or would Brem-Air prefer we return to the old days, and just put household garbage in cans, to be thrown into the truck loose?
    My guess is that he would rapidly find a new “worst enemy”.

  2. This is pretty ridiculous. Not only are the trucks a huge source of litter, but a major road hazard. I understand that trash collection is very important and needs to be done, but something needs to be done about those trucks as well. Is there anywhere concerned citizens can go to perhaps push Brem-Air into acquiring new vehicles that are better at preventing this issue?

  3. I have never seen garbage fly off a garbage truck.

    I HAVE seen pieces of lumber, furniture, shavings, gravel fly off onto the road.

    I hope we have heavy fines for anyone caught transporting any cargo with none or inadequate tie downs….or covers.

    Maybe we can stop the violators before someone is hurt.

  4. THIS HAS TO SOP!!!!! Trash companies are the main source of littering!!!! Wether its bad service where cans sit and animals get into them or a windy day that blows trash ALL OVERor just trucks in general on the highway!!!

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