Have you heard about the government incentives available to help you replace your fleet of older model trucks? There are millions of dollars available across the country for purchasing new clean-fueled refuse collection and recycling trucks. These incentives are commonly referred to as "other people's money" (OPM) and are a proven source of assistance for buying natural gas refuse and recycling trucks. OPM works; don't be left out of getting your fair share! Here's how OPM worked for several companies and a few tips on how it can start working for you.

East Coast

One of the largest paper recycling companies in the country was able to secure $1.2 million from the New York State Energy & Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to offset the costs of purchasing 12 new compressed natural gas (CNG) refuse trucks and constructing a new CNG fueling station. These CNG trucks are running in Brooklyn, N.Y. You'll recognize one of the trucks because of the special graphic it displays in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. The Breast Cancer CNG truck picks up all the paper from the New York City Stock Exchange and most companies on Wall Street. Meanwhile, a major New Jersey refuse company received $2.4 million to deploy 42 CNG trucks and offset costs for a CNG station as part of the Department of Energy's Clean Cities grant program.

West Coast

Hundreds of natural gas refuse trucks are operating throughout California thanks to government incentives ranging from $15,000 per truck to $91,000 per truck. A privately owned refuse company operating in southern California secured $900,000 from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) to offset the costs of 30 new CNG refuse trucks. This funding opportunity provided incentives of $35,000/truck in addition to a federal tax credit of $28,000/truck. A northern California refuse company recently secured $426,000 from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to purchase 23 CNG refuse trucks.

Sustainability is a goal that every municipality is trying to meet. You can help by deploying clean-fueled natural gas refuse and recycling trucks.

Here are a few tips to help you find and secure OPM:

  • Seek out "green" consultants and resources to help you locate OPM incentives. Engage a partner that is knowledgeable about where to find money and with a proven portfolio of grants awarded.

  • Once grant opportunities are identified, act quickly. Grants are time sensitive, and if you do not start early, you may not have time to run all the analysis necessary to produce a competitive and complete application.

  • Be a champion. Taking a leadership role will set you apart from your competitors and earn you money for doing so.

  • Tell your story. Explain the unique aspects of your company and facts that you are proud of.

  • Remember to sign all of the forms!

Barbara A. Johnson is assistant vice president of grants, risk management and human resources for Clean Energy, a Seal Beach, Calif.-based provider of natural gas for transportation. During the last 12 years, Johnson and the Clean Energy grants team have secured more than $216 million in federal, state and regional grant funding for the company, strategic partners and customers.

Want to Know More?

Barbara A. Johnson will speak in further detail on this issue at the "Grants and Financial Incentives, Opportunities in Solid Waste Management" session at WasteExpo on Wednesday, May 5. The session, which is part of the Business and Finance Track, will run from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.