What happens to waste when you dump it in the trash?  A huge logistics operation goes on behind the scenes to transport waste from your home or business location to landfills, recycling facilities and treatment facilities depending on the type of waste. To transport the waste safely and efficiently, different types of waste trucks are employed. 

Once your trash leaves your home, it’s moved by trucks to transfer stations and landfills. Transfer stations are facilities that receive solid waste from a variety of sources. The trash is compacted into bales and then transported to a landfill or another processing facility. Waste Transfer Stations often provide recycling services as well.

Landfills are the final destination for most types of solid waste. At a typical municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill, trash consists primarily of household garbage collected from residents in single-family homes or apartments but may include industrial, commercial, and agricultural refuse as well as demolition debris such as construction waste materials or road pavement. 


Landfills can be open dumps where waste is simply piled up without containment; closed dumps consisting of an engineered structure designed to contain wastes within certain areas; and intermediate-density landfills that use compacting technology to reduce volume and improve space efficiency at MSW sites.

Waste transportation vehicles have a lot of different jobs to do. They transport waste from homes and businesses to transfer stations or landfills, where it’s processed so it can be turned into something useful. Waste management is a complicated process, but these trucks make sure that everything runs smoothly! Keep reading to learn more about the different types of trucks used in waste transportation and how they work together to keep our streets clean!

Waste transportation vehicles are used to collect and transport waste from homes, businesses and factories to the landfill. They use many different kinds of trucks depending on the type of waste, location of the waste, size of the waste and material in it.

For domestic waste collection there are three main types of truck used based on the mechanism of collection for listing and emptying the waste bins: standard rear-loaders (also known as rear loaders), side loaders and front loaders. In addition to these, we also have different types of trucks for collecting bulky waste items like furniture, liquid waste items and hazardous waste. Some of the common types of waste collection trucks are listed below;

I will explain how each of these trucks work and the type of waste they are used for, in the remaining sections of this article. 

Compactor Trucks

Compactor trucks are the most common types of vehicles used for collecting domestic waste. They come in 3 main designs and are names accordingly based on the site;

Front-loader-TruckThese types of trucks are used for domestic waste which can be compacted once they are emptied into the truck to create capacity to collect more waste bins. They are not suitable for bulky waste items which cannot be compacted.


Skip Loader Trucks

These trucks are used for loading skips on the chassis of a truck. Skips of 5M3 – 15 M3 are often used for collecting bulky waste items like old furniture, rubble from construction sites, wood waste and other bulky waste items that do not fit into the small bins used for domestic waste.


Roll-on/Roll-Off or Hook lift Truck

This type of truck is named after the lifting mechanism. The waste containers are rolled on/off the chassis of the truck. They are also called Hooklift trucks as the loading mechanism has a hook lift mechanism which hooks onto the waste container to roll it on/off the truck. The waste containers for this type of truck are called hook lift containers as a result. They often come in 10 m3, 15 m3 of 20 m3 sizes. These containers could be open, closed or portable compactors which contain compaction units to compact waste and increase the collection capacity of each container. They are suitable for bulky waste items like wood waste, concrete waste, etc. they are used a lot at construction sites to remove the large volume of construction waste generated from construction work. 


Grapple Trucks

These are tippers or hook lift trucks with grapple arms for collecting waste from the ground into the container. They are suitable for collecting a heap of bulky waste like tree branches from the floor into the waste containers.


Sewage Tankers

Sewage tankers are used for collecting sewage and other liquid waste materials. Most of our residential and commercial properties are already connected to municipal sewage lines. So we do not need sewage trucks to come to our homes or business premises to collect liquid waste. The service for sewage trucks are often required at off grid locations like construction sites, temporary event venues and industrial facilities that are not connected to municipal sewage lines. Sewage trucks are sent to such sites where they are connected to septic tanks and temporary sewage tanks at the facility to empty them via vacuum pumps connected to the sewage tankers.

Sewage-TankerMedical waste Trucks

Medical waste trucks are purpose-built trucks for collection of medical waste. They are usually refrigerated trucks with closed compartments to control risk of infection from handling and transportation of medical waste. They are used to transport medical waste to incinerator or autoclave facilities where are either incinerated or sterilised for disposal at the landfill. 


Specialized Transportation Vehicles

For other non-routine waste and specialised waste categories that might not have a specific type of vehicle for transportation, waste handlers often adapt other types of trucks and containers for transportation. Key considerations are containment of the waste, safe transport and compliance with local regulations for the transport of the waste in question. Some examples of such vehicles include; 

In these cases, there are usually local regulations that apply for labelling and permit to transport these types of waste. 


We hope that this article has given you some insight into the waste transportation vehicles that are used to move trash from your home and business facilities like factories, hotels and more to the landfill, recycling facility or treatment facilities. There’s a lot more to it than we can cover here, but hopefully this gives you some idea of how complicated it is!

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