Covanta to build recycling plant in Indianapolis

Covanta to build recycling plant in Indianapolis

Mixed waste processing facility will work in concert with the company’s energy-from-waste facility.

June 18, 2014

Morristown, New Jersey-based Covanta, a waste, recycling and renewable energy firm, and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard have jointly announced a plan to bring recycling to all single-family homes in the city of Indianapolis through the construction of a new material recycling facility.

The Covanta Advanced Recycling Center, to be built next to Covanta’s Indianapolis energy-from-waste (EfW) facility, will be designed to recover recyclables from mixed municipal solid waste (MSW). The company expects to invest  $45 million to build the facility. The EfW facility has been in operation in the city since 1988.

Covanta says the new facility will increase the amount of material recycled in Indianapolis by up to 500 percent at no cost to the city or its residents.

"Covanta's Advanced Recycling Center provides a commonsense solution that makes Indy a much more sustainable city," says Ballard. "This state-of-the-art facility will take Indy from a 10 percent recycling participation rate to 100 percent without any new government mandates, fees or tax increases. It is a win-win-win for the city, its residents and the environment."

The Covanta Advanced Recycling Center is an automated materials recovery facility modeled after recycling facilities in Europe.

Cassie Stockamp, president of the Indiana Recycling Coalition, however, expresses concern over the proposed recycling facility, saying the quality of the recyclables will suffer quite significantly.

“There is a better way,” she says.

According to Stockamp, other options, including a two-bin program, might result in higher quality recyclables.

While the city and Covanta continue to make progress on the project, Stockamp says recyclers have met with the city officials several times. “We are just asking them to pause for a bit,” she adds.

Covanta says it is confident that the recyclables collected at the facility will meet the expectations of its customers. A company spokesman says Covanta is investing a significant amount of money in the project and has done extensive research.

"The Covanta Advanced Recycling Center, combined with our energy-from-waste facility, will create a first-of-its-kind, next-generation system for sustainably managing waste in North America, further supporting Indianapolis' position as a national leader in sustainability," says Anthony Orlando, Covanta president and CEO. "We look forward to expanding and extending our partnership with the great city of Indianapolis. This investment will benefit the environment, the city and Covanta."

The company says it expects the project to create 70 jobs during construction of the facility and 60 permanent, full-time workers will be hired to operate the facility.

A spokesman for Covanta says the company will rely on its technology partner, Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, Stamford, Connecticut, for the equipment that will be used at the facility. Equipment will include magnets, eddy current separators and optical sorters.

Covanta says, when operational, the facility will:

  • recover from 80 to 90 percent of recyclable materials, increasing recycling in the city by about 500 percent;
  • significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • complement the city’s existing EfW facility by sharing trucks and maintaining current traffic flow and avoiding additional vehicle emissions and burdens on road infrastructure; and
  • help drive Indiana’s recycling rate toward the goal of 50 percent.

According to Covanta, the EfW facility provides nearly half the steam used by the downtown Indianapolis steam loop.

The recycling plan is subject to approval from the city's Board of Public Works. Covanta says it expects the facility to be up and running in 2016, following the receipt of necessary permits.

Phoenix-based Republic Services currently offers a fee-based recyclable curbside collection program for city residents.

More information about the Covanta Advanced Recycling Center can be found at