The waste management industry deals with collecting, transporting, and disposing of all types of waste and recycling products. In 2020, the waste management market was valued at $1.6 trillion—and it's expected to grow 50 percent by 2030.  
The United States alone generates almost 240 million metric tons of garbage per year, and disposes of it in 2,627 landfills throughout the country. 
Collecting garbage in the US is a $68 billion dollar market.  At the same time, garbage collection remains one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States, with two fatal accidents involving collection services per week. 
Garbage truck GPS units and other methods of waste management fleet tracking are crucial for finding operational efficiencies and improving safety while retaining valued drivers and technicians.
Background on waste management and garbage trucks
Garbage disposal–including landfills, recycling, and composting–is the largest share of the waste management market. Collecting and transporting garbage is one of the most important areas of innovation.
Vehicles have been used to haul garbage for centuries, per WasteRecyclingWorkersWeek.org. Self-propelled garbage trucks go back to the early days of the automobile. The earliest garbage trucks were steam-powered cars with tippable cargo areas, which collected household waste and delivered it to landfills.
Today, there are four main types of garbage trucks:
- Front loaders, which collect commercial and industrial waste, tipping garbage into their containers from the front from dumpsters weighing up to 1,000 pounds each.
- Side loaders collect household garbage from up to 1,500 homes, or up to 30,000 pounds of compacted garbage daily. Side loaders use manual or automatic mechanical arms to grab and tip street-side garbage bins into their containers.
- Areas that need more versatile collection (overhead trees, etc.) use rear loaders that have a large opening at the back to allow personnel to manually load the contents of street-side garbage bins or cans, garbage bags, or bulk items. A rear loader can hold garbage from approximately 800 homes.
- Roll-off trucks carry large containers that can be dropped off empty and retrieved after they've been filled with waste. A roll-off truck can carry approximately 20,000 pounds of waste.
The modern garbage truck is a technologically advanced vehicle that benefits from innovations such as garbage truck routing software and onboard garbage truck GPS units that work together to provide efficient waste management fleet tracking and route planning.
Benefits of garbage truck route optimization
Garbage truck routing software finds the safest and most cost-effective route that includes all waste collection points. This doesn't mean trash route software always finds the shortest path.
It's more important to find a simple, comprehensive route with a low burden of stress on both the vehicle and the driver. Waste management routing software helps ensure timely and efficient collection, lowers operational cost, and keeps drivers happy.
One important way to keep drivers happy is to keep them safe. Better routes mean drivers are less fatigued—and less likely to engage in risky behaviors like distracted driving, speeding, excessive idling, and hard starts and stops.
Waste management fleet tracking software can detect how drivers are performing, providing feedback directly to the driver as needed. Combined with on-demand and real-time video, the software helps keep drivers safe and on schedule, improves time to service, and reduces risk.
Waste management fleet tracking software helps managers respond to unexpected requests or changing conditions, providing information including driver performance, the location of every truck, vehicle health information fed directly from the engine computer, and insights such as fuel consumption and miles driven.
With this data, managers can respond to issues before they become bigger problems, eliminating inefficiencies such as idling and safety concerns such as risky driving behavior.
Importance of route planning software for garbage trucks
Even with a small number of vehicles and stops, route planning is a complex problem that’s difficult to solve by hand. As you add trucks and collection points, the difficulty grows exponentially.
It quickly becomes impossible to manage even a small fleet with spreadsheets or hand calculations. Inefficient routes encourage risky behavior like speeding, increase vehicle wear and tear, and cause more accidents.
Route optimization software considers the shortest routes, weather, traffic, and other factors to determine the best path for each truck to take. Because these factors affect each other in subtle and complicated ways, garbage truck routing software is important for improving both safety and productivity.
Fleet tracking for waste management
The best waste management fleet tracking software helps managers identify and address the top areas of driving risk within their fleets. The Lytx® Driver Safety Program helps organizations reduce collisions by up to 50 percent—and associated claim costs by up to 80 percent.
Waste Connections, the third-largest waste disposal company in North America, is one prime example. In an industry that is known for dangerous work, Waste Connections exemplifies safety.
They implemented the Driver Safety Program in 2008, seeking to reduce the rate of incidents, which stood at 40 percent. The rate quickly dropped to 32 percent, and has continued to fall. It currently stands at about 13 percent annually.
Lytx has performed research into the most common risky behaviors among waste drivers, which behaviors have improved, and how waste industry driving habits compare to those of other industries.
Lytx found that 28 percent of high-impact waste industry collisions were caused by driving too fast for the conditions. Nearly one in four low-impact collisions were due to distractions like smoking, food and drink, and using a cell phone or other device while driving.
How Lytx can help with waste management fleets
Lytx can help your fleet meet customer demand for fast, accurate, and seamless service and ensure operational efficiency. Our GPS fleet tracking software is integrated with industry-leading video to help you efficiently manage and monitor your assets in the field.
Using DVIR software, you can help drivers submit vehicle inspection reports with ease. With insights on fuel management and maintenance, you’ll be able to monitor inefficient vehicles and drivers and optimize fleet operations. Contact our sales team for more information or to book a demo to see our software in action.