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Tucson’s CJ-5 Garbage Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, Old News Articles • TAGS: .

In 1963, the city of Tucson, Arizona, was looking to save money on garbage costs. That summer an experiment was tried whereby a CJ-5 towing three garbage trailers was used to cut garbage transportation costs. I could not find any information on how long the experiment lasted.

This first photo showing the jeep, trailers and how a trailer was dumped into a larger truck, was published in the Tucson Citizen May 24, 1963:


This article from May 22, 1963, published in the Arizona Daily Star, provides more information on the experiment:



7 Comments on “Tucson’s CJ-5 Garbage Jeep

  1. Mike

    Seems like a far fetched idea to sell Jeeps, never a lack of imagination on the part of Dealership salesmen to increase sales.

  2. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    I’m guessing there’s a full report on this somewhere in Tucson’s government achieves.

  3. Barney Goodwin

    As one who has managed municipal refuse collection before, I found this fascinating, so I’d like to offer some various insights in no particular order. I do not believe this is a train of trailers where workers walk along and fill them. I think the key phrase is “the nucleus of a self-servicing neighborhood unit” which to me means these trailers were spotted (placed) at strategic locations (usually an alley – no one would want one in the street in front of their house) and the residents tossed their trash into them. The downside is that these trailer sites became dumps themselves ( and the Mayor’s phone would start melting). On collection day a driver and a laborer could hook up the trailers, dump and return them or just swap them out. A one ton 2 wheel drive pickup would have worked just as well; on this I’m with Mike. I really don’t think this idea lasted long.
    It did remind me of Tanglewood in Houston where they used Cushmans with dumpsters mounted on them to drive to the garages of each house and collect the refuse and then take it to the packer truck at the maintenance area of the gated neighborhood. No refuse or mess at the street and no noise.

  4. David Eilers Post author

    Steve: No doubt buried deeply there!

    Barney and Mike: It seemed like an odd idea to me as well. I couldn’t determine how this would work, so thanks for the insights Barney.

  5. Peter Sibley

    Responding to Barney Goodwin’s comment: These were not stationary. They would zip through Tucson’s alleyways with trash collectors jumping off to empty residential cans. They were in use at least through 1969, if memory serves, and maybe until a couple of years later.

  6. Barney Goodwin

    Peter’s right here, but I’ve seen the same system as a spot system also. Except in the gated communities such as I referred to – where cost was not the object – it was not an efficient system.

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