Republic Services has made a $21 million commitment to reduce air-polluting emissions within York County.

With that amount, the company — which owns refuse collection companies, recycling centers and landfills — is replacing 65 of its 100 diesel-powered trucks in York with natural gas vehicles, said Mark Pergolese, general manager for Republic Services' York Waste Division.

Some of the new natural-gas-powered trucks will hit the road in York next week, he said. Republic Services plans to replace the remaining 35 diesel-powered trucks in York in 2014.

York Waste also will be the largest central Pennsylvania operation to use a compressed natural gas fueling station for all of its vehicles, according to the company. Republic, with headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., worked with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to construct the station.

“We applaud Republic for continuing its leadership position in the transition to natural gas to fuel its fleets,” said Mark Riley, vice president of Clean Energy for the Eastern Region, in a statement. “York-area residents will be the big winners as these new cleaner-burning natural gas trucks hit the road.”

Republic's refuse and recycling fleet serve more than 120,000 residential customers and 7,000 commercial and industrial customers in York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lancaster counties.

This year, Republic is adding 548 natural gas vehicles to 18 facilities at various locations, bringing the total number of Republic's alternative-fuel vehicles to more than 1,100 vehicles.

“Waste and recycling trucks provide a critical public health service through their role in the management of society's waste,” Pergolese said.

Republic began the natural gas transition for it fleet several years ago, realizing that in Pennsylvania there are natural gas resources through Marcellus Shale, he said.

Last November, the company received a $500,000 alternative fuels incentive grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pergolese said. The grant money was used toward the trucks project, he said.

Pergolese said the public will notice the natural gas trucks are quieter than the diesel-fueled vehicles. The new trucks also bring environmental benefits, he added.

“Natural gas is a clean-burning domestic fuel source that supports energy independence,” he said. “It actually eliminates greenhouse gases that are emitted, reducing the impact on the environment.”

— Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.