Trash Talk: Here’s the Scoop on the Automated Side Load (ASL) Truck

By Rachael on July 25, 2016

Let’s get this out of the way first: What is an Automated Side Load (ASL)? Chances are you have seen one of our automated side load trucks around town, possibly even in your neighborhood.

Unlike the typical rear-load truck we use, with an automated side load truck, the driver controls a mechanical arm from inside the truck. The arm grabs your trash or recycling cart and dumps it.

We started using these trucks on our routes a few years ago and we have been steadily adding more of them to our fleet since then.


Why did we add the ASL truck to our fleet?

  1. It’s safer. By keeping drivers inside the truck, they lessen the risk of getting hit by another vehicle. Also, operating the mechanical arm is much less strenuous on the driver’s body. We are proud to report 70 percent fewer injuries occur on an ASL truck.
  2. It’s more efficient. The ASL truck is simply faster than a driver, so we can pick up approximately 30 percent more stops with only one driver instead of two. (FYI—adding these trucks to our fleet doesn’t mean Granger drivers are losing their jobs. We’ve been on a growth spurt for a while and we continue to add drivers all the time. In fact, if you want to know a typical life of a professional driver, click here to watch a video and apply for a position here—you’ll be amazed with our benefit package.)

Here are some interesting things to note:

  • The driver controls the arm with a joystick from inside the cab. You remember joysticks, right? Those things that you used to control Pac-Man and Q-Bert back in the day? The presence of the joystick may be the reason many drivers seem to prefer driving our automated trucks.
  • The driver’s seat is on the right side of the truck. Driving one is kind of like being in England. Well, except for the fact that you’re still driving on the right side of the road.
  • Drivers can still get out of the truck on their routes. That’s right, there’s nothing physically restraining the driver (other than a seat belt). That means he or she can hop out of the truck when necessary to collect extra bags or other items that are left outside of the cart.
  • The automated side load truck likes to hug. The arm of the truck isn’t grabbing a handle on the cart. Actually, it’s more like a warm hug right around the cart’s middle (love handles).


These trucks do come with a bit of a learning curve. As a reminder, here’s what you can do to make sure this process runs smoothly:

  • Place the cart facing forward (handle bar and wheels facing away from street).
  • Place the cart within 3 feet of the street.
  • Leave a minimum of 2 feet of clearance on both sides. Please do not place any closer than 2 feet to poles, mailboxes or other containers.
  • Make sure the cart is unobstructed (e.g., don’t park in front of the cart).


So, what if you don’t know if your route is being serviced by an automated truck? That’s easy. Simply follow these instructions anyway. It’s not that hard to do and it will work well no matter what type of truck is picking up your trash. Our drivers will thank you for it.

Click here to download How to Place Your Cart.

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