UBCR converts entire fleet to natural gas vehicles with Ryder

The beverage container recycler adopts vehicles to support Michigan Beverage Associations's third party recycling program.


Ryder System, Inc., a leader in commercial transportation and supply chain management solutions, announced today that it has been selected by UBCR, LLC as its fleet partner in a Michigan natural gas project that includes 16 heavy duty natural gas vehicles, upgrades to two maintenance facilities, and the construction of two new natural gas fueling stations. 

UBCR, formed out of a joint venture between Schupan and Sons, Inc. and Tomra North America, operates a single source solution for the collection, transportation and processing of aluminum cans, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and glass beverage containers from Michigan’s largest grocery retailers.  The natural gas project is partially funded by a grant to UBCR through the Michigan Clean Cities Coalition and when complete, will displace 380,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually with domestically produced low carbon natural gas.

Through the project, UBCR will be converting its entire 16-vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas vehicles, leased from and maintained by Ryder.  To support UBCR’s fleet operations, Ryder will retrofit two of its existing maintenance facilities in Livonia and Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the proper and safe indoor servicing of natural gas vehicles.  This is Ryder’s first natural gas project with UBCR, and the latest in a series of new natural gas vehicle projects announced with customers in various markets including Southern California and Arizona.

 “As a leading recycling company, this important carbon reduction initiative complements our long standing growth strategy which is grounded in sustainability, and Ryder’s alternative fuel expertise and infrastructure in the market were key factors driving our decision to select them as our fleet partner,” said Marc Schupan, CEO for Schupan & Sons, Inc.  “Ryder is making it easier to jumpstart our sustainable transportation program and convert our entire UBCR fleet to abundant, clean, and efficient natural gas.” 

“Ryder became the first fleet provider to offer heavy-duty natural gas vehicles for the leasing and rental industry through our ground-breaking natural gas vehicle project with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) in Southern California,” said Robert Sanchez, President of Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder.  “This project in Michigan leverages that experience and demonstrates our ability to bring real-world environmental benefits to other markets.”

According to Harald Henriksen, President of Tomra North America, “We are environmentally centric and have assumed a responsibility to employees and the communities that we serve, to reduce our carbon footprint.  Natural gas powered trucks helps us achieve carbon reduction objectives with the advantage of being economically practical.” 

In addition, UBCR is working with DTE Energy, to construct fueling stations in Wixom and Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The Grand Rapids fueling location will provide for public access to natural gas fueling, while the Wixom location will be a dedicated station to support UBCR’s fleet operations.  

“DTE Energy is committed to the safe supply and distribution of clean burning natural gas,” said Jerry Norcia, President and COO of Michigan Consolidated Gas Co., DTE Energy’s natural gas subsidiary.  “We are proud to support this project which will help UBCR leverage the environmental and cost saving benefits of natural gas.”

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