In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, Santa Barbara waste management company Marborg Industries has taken a large leap into the world of compressed natural gas. Friday, July 18, company head Mario Borgatello handed gave the public a glimpse into the new direction his trash and recycling collection business was taking, by adding a pick-up truck fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG).
Santa Barbara wouldn’t be the first to embark on such a program; cities in such as Sacramento have already been powering their city vehicles with CNG and have requirements for near neutral emission vehicles in their trash collection fleets. Although CNG-powered vehicles cost nearly $40,000 more than diesel engine trucks, Borgatello said he would rather spend more to shrink the carbon footprint and relieve the Santa Barbara area of unhealthy carbon emissions. After Borgatello handed the keys of his new machine to Goleta City Council Member Eric Onen, and his passenger Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett, he explained that fueling the new truck with CNG cost about $3.20 a gallon compared to the $5-per-gallon cost of diesel. Borgatello said he hopes to one day replace the rest of his fleet with CNG-powered vehicles.
The new truck has been running routes in Santa Barbara nearly three weeks before MarBorg unveiled it to the public. The truck does not look much different from the rest of the fleet, other than the chrome plated tanks along the bottom of trash holding receptacle on either side. The refueling receptor below the driver’s side is nothing more than a few pressure gauges and a hose nozzle receiver. Borgatello also ensured the safety of the truck if ever in an accident, explaining that the CNG tanks are controlled by heat sensors and release valves will enact to prevent any fire or explosions.
Eric Weldon is an Independent intern.