How does a Garbage Truck Work | Full Process Explain

Garbage trucks are one of the most important machines used daily. They play an essential role in helping to maintain a clean and healthy environment by collecting and disposing of waste from households, businesses, and construction sites. But how does a garbage truck work? This article will provide a basic introduction to the workings of a garbage truck, looking at how it grabs, compacts, and transports rubbish around town. Also, we’ve discussed different types of a garbage trucks. So let’s get started.

How does a Garbage Truck Work

Collecting and disposing of waste is not as simple as it seems. Garbage trucks play a crucial role in keeping our surroundings clean and hygienic. Here in this area, we will explain the full process of how a garbage truck works.

Collect waste from places

The initial step is to collect waste from homes and businesses. Garbage collectors use large bins to collect trash, loaded onto the back of the truck using hydraulic lifts. Once the truck is full, it heads to the landfill site or recycling center, sorting all waste material accordingly.

Compartments of a garbage truck

A garbage truck has two compartments – one for regular trash and the other for recyclables. The driver starts by backing up to the designated pickup spot, where workers load the trash into the compartment using a hydraulic lift. Once it’s full, the trash is compacted using a powerful hydraulic press that flattens it and helps it fit more in.

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Transportation of garbage

Next comes transportation – after all of the garbage is loaded and compacted inside, it’s time for the truck to hit the road. Garbage trucks usually follow a specific route or schedule around town to collect waste from residential homes or businesses throughout their assigned areas.

How does a Garbage Truck Work
How does a Garbage Truck Work

Types of Garbage Trucks

Garbage trucks come in various types, each designed to handle a specific task. The most common types of garbage trucks include front, rear, and side loaders.

Side loader garbage trucks

Side loader garbage trucks are one of the most commonly seen types of garbage trucks in residential areas. These trucks have a unique design that allows them to pick up and transport large quantities of waste quickly and efficiently. They use hydraulic arms on either side of the truck to lift and empty trash cans into the hopper.

To operate a side loader garbage truck, the driver must maneuver the vehicle into position alongside a row of trash cans. Once in place, they will use the hydraulic arms to grab each can and lift it over the truck’s hopper. The contents of each can are then dumped into the hopper, where a powerful press compacts it.

One advantage of using side loader garbage trucks is that they don’t require workers to manually handle heavy trash cans, reducing the risk of injury or accidents.

Front loader garbage trucks

These are designed to efficiently collect and dispose of large volumes of waste. These trucks feature a hydraulic lifting mechanism that picks up and empties standard-sized dumpsters into the truck’s hopper. The process involves:

  • Aligning the dumpster with the truck’s arms.
  • Lifting it over the cab.
  • Loading its contents into the hopper.
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Once inside the hopper, a compactor crushes and compresses the waste to maximize space utilization. This process allows garbage trucks to make fewer trips to landfills or recycling centers, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Front loader garbage trucks typically have a capacity of 20-30 cubic yards, making them ideal for handling larger amounts of trash from businesses or multi-unit residences.

How does a Garbage Truck Work

Rear loader garbage truck

Rear-loading trucks have been essential to waste management in the United States for decades. These vehicles are designed to collect and transport garbage and other waste material from residential areas, commercial buildings, and industrial sites to disposal facilities. Using these trucks has revolutionized how we manage waste, making it more efficient and environmentally friendly.

The origin of rear-loading trucks can be traced back to the early 1900s when cities began to experience rapid growth leading to increased amounts of garbage piling up on streets. The first rear-loading truck was invented in 1929 by George Dempster, who saw the need for a more effective method of collecting garbage. His design consisted of a truck with a hydraulic lift that could raise containers filled with trash into the vehicle for transportation.
Today, rear-loading trucks are used across America as an integral part of waste management systems.

How does a Garbage Truck Work

How the Compactor Works

The compactor uses hydraulic pressure to compress garbage into smaller volumes. A metal blade pushes the waste toward the truck’s center, where a compression plate crushes it with other trash. As more waste is added, hydraulic rams push down on top of it, squeezing all contents tightly together. This process helps reduce volume, which means fewer trips to landfills.

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The compacted garbage is stored in a container inside the truck body until full or ready for disposal at designated locations.

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The process of how does a garbage truck works is an interesting and complex one. Every step is important in ensuring our cities are kept clean, from waste compaction to transportation to landfills. These hardworking vehicles provide an essential service no matter what time of day or night they are out on the roads. Ultimately, we can all be thankful for the garbage trucks and all those who work them to keep our neighborhoods tidy.


What kind of materials can be recycled using a garbage truck?

Generally, most types of solid waste can be recycled, such as paper, plastic, metal, and glass. Hazardous materials like paint and motor oil should never be placed in a garbage truck for disposal.

What is the difference between a garbage truck and a trash truck?

A garbage truck is designed to pick up solid waste such as food scraps, paper, and plastic. It typically has two compartments: one for collecting the waste and another for compressing it.
Whereas a trash truck is used to transport liquid waste. This includes wastewater from homes and businesses and hazardous materials like oil and chemicals.

How does a garbage truck work mechanically?

The hydraulic system is powered by an engine that drives a pump, creating pressure in the fluid-filled cylinders. This pressure is used to move the truck’s mechanical arm, lifting and dumping the waste into the truck’s hopper.