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LEGO Ideas Garbage Truck Project & More!

Watching garbage trucks and recycling trucks in action is a favorite activity for many children and even adults. I remember that when we were kids, my brother and I used to run to the window every time the garbage truck drove down our street to pick up trash. Watching a giant machine chomping on garbage is just fascinating! Those days, all garbage went to the same truck, but since then, communities have become much more conscious about separating out recyclables – which means we get to watch even more garbage trucks rumbling down our streets!

LEGO usually releases garbage trucks in the LEGO City line. Some of the earliest sets I can find in the Brickset database focusing on garbage and recycling trucks are the #6693 LEGO Town Refuse Collection Truck from 1987, the #6668 LEGO Town Recycle Truck from 1992, and the #6564 LEGO Town Recycle Truck from 1997. Garbage trucks, recycling, and trash pick-up are common themes in LEGO City sets, so they are often incorporated in larger sets as well.

Another indication of minifigs’ commitment to proper trash disposal is the amount of trashcans in LEGO sets. The first version of the LEGO trashcan was introduced in 1987, was produced until 2014 in seven colors, and appeared in 59 sets. The second, slightly different version of the trashcan was introduced in 2009 and so far appeared in four colors in 62 sets. Of course, not all of these sets are focused on garbage disposal, but it’s nice to see their presence.

Some of the most notable recent sets with garbage trucks are the #7991 LEGO City Recycle Truck from 2007, the #4206 LEGO City Recycling Truck from 2012, the #4432 LEGO City Garbage Truck from 2012, the #10680 LEGO Juniors Garbage Truck from 2015, the #60118 LEGO City Garbage Truck from 2016, and the #60220 LEGO Juniors Garbage Truck from 2019. There are also some great garbage truck sets for younger builders in the LEGO DUPLO line. The #4659 DUPLO Garbage Truck from 2005, the #5637 DUPLO Garbage Truck from 2009, and the #10519 DUPLO Garbage Truck from 2013 are great examples.

Garbage trucks and trash processing also appear in other LEGO themes outside of LEGO City. A couple of notable examples are the #70805 LEGO Trash Chomper from The LEGO Movie, the #7596 LEGO Trash Compactor Escape, and the #7599 LEGO Garbage Truck Getaway from Toy Story 3.

Besides their enormous size and huffing and puffing noises, the most interesting feature of garbage trucks is their functions. The contents of garbage cans can be dumped manually, picked up by a fork on the side or at the front, or even an entire dumpster can be loaded up at one time. LEGO designers attempt to incorporate some of these features into LEGO garbage trucks as play-functions. For example, the #4432 LEGO City Garbage Truck is loaded manually at the back, the #60118 LEGO City Garbage Truck can pick up and empty a dumpster with a fork at the front, and the #4206 LEGO City Recycling Truck can load up three recycling containers with a forklift. These features usually operate with simple lifting and tilting mechanisms.

A more complex, and more realistic automatic side-loading garbage truck was recently submitted to LEGO Ideas by a father and son team and has been received with great enthusiasm by the LEGO fan community. They have been working on the mechanism of the truck for more than a year, going through at least a dozen different design iterations to make sure it operates reliably and smoothly. The bin arm is operated by a knob to reach out and grab/dump standard LEGO trashcans. There is also a ram in the hopper (operated by a second knob) to push trash into the dumper. The garbage truck is LEGO City scale, and can comfortably hold a minifig driver. There is a handrail and ladder for a second minifig to ride along, as well as clips to hold various tools. You can see the garbage truck in action in the video below.

The model was built and refined with actual LEGO bricks, and a LEGO Digital Designer version was also created to be able to visualize some of the finer details, colors, and decorations (the video above uses both the real and digital versions of the model). The custom-printed tiles were designed digitally for the final digital renders and some animations and then were later custom-printed on real pieces.

As I mentioned above, the project is already popular with LEGO fans, parents, educators, and environmentalists, and it quickly gathered over a thousand votes. However, it will need 10k votes for LEGO to consider making it into an actual LEGO set. So, if you like it, consider adding your vote, and also share it with friends and family: VOTE FOR LEGO IDEAS AUTOMATED GARBAGE TRUCK

What do you think? How do you like LEGO garbage trucks? Do you collect them? Which one is your favorite? And how do you like this LEGO Ideas project for an automated garbage truck? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Rob February 3, 2019, 10:48 AM

    If the automated garbage truck is approved: (I’ve never used this meme before) Shut up and take my money! No, but really that’s amazing work! Doesn’t look like Lego would need to do much to take it from that version to final product.

  • TomTom February 3, 2019, 12:21 PM

    Garbage trucks are awesome! I love this project! I’m glad to see that it is getting lots of support. It’s already up to over 2000!

  • Hayato February 3, 2019, 4:30 PM

    I can confirm; kids love garbage trucks. My boys really like this project and now they want to build it! But I have no idea how the mechanics work. I hope we won’t have to wait too long until this becomes a set.

  • LEGOJeff February 3, 2019, 4:59 PM

    Very cool project. Voted! I’m glad to see another original project on Ideas instead of a licensed one. I think these are the best. And we all need reliably working garbage trucks in our cities!

  • Martin February 3, 2019, 9:30 PM

    This is brilliant! Congratulation to both son and dad! Great project. I also voted. Like others, I would love to see a working garbage truck in my city.

  • brickmaster February 4, 2019, 11:34 AM

    This project makes me happy. It’s exactly what Ideas is for. Wholesome projects like this the whole family can enjoy. Please, you guys, support it! I want an automated garbage truck! 😀

  • Legostuff14 February 4, 2019, 11:38 AM

    Hey, you gotta keep Lego city clean. I have most of the garbage trucks ( including the one from the first Lego movie. But,I left it in chopper mode. Lol).

    • admin February 5, 2019, 1:44 PM

      LOL! I left mine in chopper mode too! It’s so much fun! 😀

  • LEGOJeff February 4, 2019, 12:43 PM

    I also like garbage trucks. My favorite is from The LEGO Movie, but I like the other ones too. I’m very impressed with this automated garbage truck. I hope it will get enough votes. It’s a great project.

  • Legostuff14 February 4, 2019, 5:10 PM

    I always wonder why Lego doesn’t make a home base for some of the vehicles that are created ( except for fire department, police department and Hospital). It would be nice if Lego creates a sanitation department and even bring back the farm theme. After all, Lego just came out with a Harvester transport vehicle. I know I mentioned a while back that I was going to make a sanitation department ( it’s still on my mind on” things to make because Lego didn’t make them yet” category). But, I got side track on other things . Maybe that’s Lego reason too?

    • Hayato February 4, 2019, 6:02 PM

      My kids would love to have a sanitation department! Such a set would also be very educational. It would make it more tangible to understand why we should reuse and recycle, conserve energy, etc.

    • Håkan February 4, 2019, 6:03 PM

      I guess home bases could turn out rather big and expensive, and look rather bland, to be feasible economic products.

      • Håkan February 4, 2019, 6:13 PM

        The old Farm theme was pretty good, though, although it tended to stress the vehicles over the buildings…

        • admin February 5, 2019, 1:46 PM

          Yeah, we need more farm tools and animals. Especially animals! 😀

          • Håkan February 5, 2019, 8:30 PM

            Indeed, bring back the goats, and the Paradisa ponies!…

            • admin February 5, 2019, 8:55 PM

              Yeah, they made those awesome goats, and they hardly appeared in any sets. I think I have two. The Paradisa ponies were sweet! 😀

      • admin February 5, 2019, 1:46 PM

        Yeah, that’s my guess as well. They have done some fairly big hangars for airports, but setting up detailed facilities can get expensive fast. But I like the idea! 🙂

  • Mark Avery February 4, 2019, 7:33 PM

    It shouldn’t be hard to build a sanitation garage.
    You could also convert a fire department garage,
    You might find that the trucks are too big.

    • admin February 5, 2019, 1:47 PM

      That’s not a bad idea! Although yeah, the garbage trucks are pretty chunky! 😀

  • Mark Avery February 4, 2019, 7:36 PM

    How come, unlike fire and other themes, Lego hasn’t kept a constant color for garbage trucks???

    • Håkan February 4, 2019, 10:51 PM

      Hmmm, green and orange seem to be the most common colors. Maybe there just isn’t any iconic color across US and Europe, like red fire engines and white ambulances…


      • admin February 5, 2019, 1:53 PM

        Yeah, probably that’s the reason. Even in my small-ish college town we have several different color garbage trucks; green, blue, white and orange are the ones I have seen. And there doesn’t seem to be any consistency in which color is used for what. It more has to do with how old the garbage truck is.

        • Håkan February 5, 2019, 8:29 PM

          Or the company in charge of garbage disposal, possibly…

          • admin February 5, 2019, 8:53 PM

            I think our garbage disposal is only handled by one company. At least in the city. The county is different. They just have a lot of old and mismatched equipment. 😀

  • Scott Hasse February 11, 2019, 11:11 PM

    I’m the dad from the father/son team that designed the automated side-loading garbage truck and submitted it to LEGO Ideas. What a great article! If you have any questions on the truck just let me know. We can still use all the votes we can get, so your support is very much appreciated.




    • brickmaster February 12, 2019, 10:58 AM

      Hi, Scott! If for some reason your project doesn’t get approved (I hope it does), would you share the instructions? I think most of us would be happy to pay for downloadable instructions.

      • Scott Hasse February 13, 2019, 5:50 PM

        We’re putting all our energy into the LEGO Ideas process right now, but if that doesn’t work out we’re not against something like that. Vote for us on LEGO Ideas and hopefully you’ll be able to download instructions from LEGO for free :-).



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