UPS ‘Turns Trash to Gas’ with Largest RNG Purchase in US History

(Credit: Clean Energy Fuels Corp.)

“The world has a trash problem. And the world has an emissions problem,” says UPS’s director of fleet procurement Mike Casteel. With that in mind, the logistics company has plans to “turn trash to gas” in what it is calling the largest commitment for use of renewable natural gas (RNG) to date by any company in the US.

UPS has announced an agreement with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to purchase 170 million gallon equivalents of its “Redeem” RNG through 2026 to operate UPS delivery trucks. The purchase is part of UPS’s strategy to increase alternative fuel consumption to be about 40% of total ground fuel purchased by 2025, and to reduce its absolute GHG emissions of its ground fleet by 12%.

UPS says vehicles fueling at 18 company-owned and operated RNG stations across 12 states will realize the equivalent of recycling 374,000 tons of waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill.

RNG yields at least a 70% reduction in lifecycle GHG emissions when compared to conventional diesel or gasoline, according to Clean Energy. The biomethane can be derived from sources like decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture.

UPS says it has invested more than $1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally. The company says its deliveries “utilize technologies that work best depending on the needs of the delivery route,” including “old-fashioned pedal power and electric-assisted bicycles in dense urban areas like Seattle, London and Hamburg to electric and hybrid electric vehicles in the US.”

Earlier this week, UPS announced that it is partnering with TerraCycle on a new circular shopping system designed to reduce single-use product packaging. Known as Loop, the system provides consumers with direct delivery of a variety of products which arrive not in a cardboard box but in a customized, durable tote that can be reused again and again.

The products are designed for delivery, then collected, cleaned, refilled and redelivered.

Starting this month, the following companies are on Loop: Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé, PepsiCo, the Clorox Company, the Body Shop, Colgate-Palmolive, Greenhouse, Preserve, Teva Deli, Nature’s Path, Burlap & Barrel, RB, Reinberger Nut Butter, Soapply, Melanin Essentials, International Harvest, Purely Elizabeth, SC Johnson, the Honest Company, WellPet, Bilal’s EasyKale, Arbor Teas, and Ecos.

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