When it comes to choosing the right vehicles for your waste collection, it is useful to know the right terms.  Refuse truck and municipal vehicles are two terms you will often come across.  But are they the same? Which one do you need? Confusion over. We set out the differences below.

There are many varying terms in the industry for waste collection vehicles, it can make finding the right refuse truck for your business unnecessarily complicated and time-consuming.

You can read more about the different terms in our other blog for refuse trucks and bin lorries.


municipal vehicles

Photo by Kai Butcher on Unsplash

Municipal Vehicles vs Refuse Trucks

Simply put: all refuse trucks are municipal vehicles, but not all municipal vehicles are refuse trucks. 

Refuse trucks are specifically designed for collecting and transporting waste or garbage from residential, commercial, or industrial areas to disposal sites like landfills or recycling facilities.

Refuse trucks have different names (i.e. bin lorries, refuse trucks etc.) and come in various types like: 

🚛 Rear Loader 

🚛 Front End Loader (FEL) 

🚛 Side Loader

🚛 Automated Side Loader (ASL)

🚛 Roll On-Roll Off Truck RoRo

🚛 Compact Refuse Truck

🚛 Split Body Refuse Trucks


Refuse Trucks

Refuse trucks are equipped with features specialised for handling and compacting waste efficiently, such as hydraulic lifts, compaction mechanisms and large storage containers.

A municipal vehicle, however, is a general term referring to any vehicle owned or operated by a local government or municipality to carry out numerous public services and operations within the community. 

Municipal vehicles can include;

  • Police vehicles
  • Fire trucks
  • Ambulances
  • Street sweepers
  • Utility trucks
  • + many more


The function of a municipal vehicle can vary widely depending on the specific needs and services provided by the local government.


Where will I spot municipal vehicles and refuse trucks?

Since municipal vehicles cover diverse public services like street cleaning, maintenance, and infrastructure repairs, they usually operate in various urban environments including streets, parks, and public facilities.


Refuse trucks on the other hand, focus solely on waste collection and disposal, so will concentrate on waste collection routes, residential neighbourhoods, and commercial areas.


What are the different features of municipal vehicles and refuse trucks?

Since municipal vehicles include many other types of vehicles, there are many different features a municipal vehicle will have. For instance, road sweepers will have brushes, while utility trucks will have aerial lifts. 


Whereas refuse trucks are equipped with features specialised for handling and compacting waste efficiently, such as hydraulic lifts, compaction mechanisms, and large storage containers.


refuse trucks

How knowing the difference will save you time

Time is money in business. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true.  Knowing the difference between a municipal vehicle and a refuse truck will save you time when searching for the right vehicle for your business needs. 


Governments, councils and municipalities are more likely to benefit from searching for municipal vehicles,. Meanwhile, if you are only after a waste collection service, then the best recommendations are to search for refuse trucks or refuse vehicles. 


Check out our website to see our very own highly-rated refuse trucks.