Upcycled bin lorries powered by household waste are being trialled in Sheffield and Westminster – the first local authority schemes of their kind in the world.
The vehicles start life as diesel lorries that are rescued from the scrapyard to be turned into the electric bin wagons that councillors hope will help lower both areas’ high levels of air pollution.
Four of the vehicles have been fitted out for the pilots by Sheffield firm Magtec, which unveiled the first at the city’s Energy Recovery Facility.
Magtec director Marcus Jenkins said converting one lorry was equivalent to removing 30 diesel cars from the roads.
Councillor Mark Jones, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, said the scheme puts the city “at the forefront of the green energy revolution”.
The city council declared a climate emergency in February and pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
Jones added: “Our city is working hard to deliver clean air and green jobs. We are rightly proud of projects such as this alongside our own proposals for a clean air zone to cut nitrogen dioxide.
“I’m looking forward to seeing this bin lorry and another set to be delivered soon powering up Sheffield’s hills and leading the way for a new approach to tackle climate change and poor air quality.”
The electric-motor lorries will be powerful enough to tackle Sheffield’s seven hills, even when full, and will emit no carbon emissions.
Any surplus energy not used by the lorries will be used to power homes, with the trials lasting two years.
Last month researchers warned that air pollution can be as harmful to lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day – increasing the chance of developing emphysema as much as smoking a pack a day for 29 years.