DALLAS, TX. The City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Dept. is deploying special Geographic Information System (GIS) software to optimize its trash-collection routing to save fuel and reduce vehicle exhaust.

Speaking here at Waste Expo, Richard Hayes, the recently retired director of the department, said cutting tailpipe emissions is critical since San Diego (CA) is in a “non-attainment” area for air pollution and could lose highway funds if it breaches set pollution limits.

The city’s municipal solid-waste collection system fields 200 garbage-disposal trucks that cover 8,100 miles of streets. They make 16-million stops a year to collect 380,000 tons of refuse annually from 315,000 residential and small business customers.

The fleet is using a GIS software package, developed by RouteSmart, that thus far has only been partially activated. Even so, according to Hayes, the new system has already cut 23,000 miles out of the fleet’s routes this year. That reduction saved 11,500 gallons of fuel and eliminated 129 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

“Fully activated, at minimum, the fleet should save at minimum $600,00 per year,” noted Hayes.