Covanta partners with RecycleForce to staff Indianapolis recycling center

Company’s $45 million Advanced Recycling Center to employ 60 full-time workers.

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April 22, 2015
Recycling Today Staff

Waste management company Covanta, Morristown, New Jersey, and RecycleForce, an Indianapolis-based provider of recycling services for residents and corporate clients, have partnered to staff operations at the Covanta Advanced Recycling Center in Indianapolis set to break ground in 2015.

With a planned opening in 2016, Covanta is building what the company describes as a $45 million advanced materials recovery center (ARC) adjacent to its existing energy-from-waste (EfW) facility.

Covanta will hire full-time workers through RecycleForce, which provides electronics recycling along with comprehensive social services to help formerly incarcerated individuals rebuild their lives by breaking down the barriers to employment through transitional jobs and workforce training.

“By partnering with Covanta on the Advanced Recycling Center, we can move the best and most productive of our workers into private sector employment, which then opens up spots for new referrals,” says RecycleForce President Gregg Keesling. “Covanta will gain experienced workers who will transition from our program into entry-level and then skilled-level jobs while getting paid living wages to support them and their families. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Approximately 60 permanent, full-time workers will be hired to operate the facility once construction is completed. The exact number of jobs to be filled through RecycleForce has not yet been determined.

Employees hired through RecycleForce are expected to fulfill quality control functions after materials pass through the Covanta Advanced Recycling Center, an automated materials recovery facility (MRF) modeled after the most modern recycling facilities in the world, according to the company.

Covanta says using the latest mechanical and sensor-based technologies, and supported by skilled operators, the facility will efficiently recover recyclables from mixed waste that will be sold to manufacturing customers throughout the Midwest.

“We’re excited about our new partnership with RecycleForce, which will create meaningful employment opportunities for hardworking people who deserve a second chance,” says Scott Holkeboer, Covanta market area vice president. “With jobs for workers at a range of levels, including entry level and high-tech positions, the Advanced Recycling Center is an important investment in Indianapolis’ future and will ensure real progress is made in dramatically increasing recycling while putting more Hoosiers to work.”

In addition to the partnership to staff operations at the Covanta Advanced Recycling Center, the company is exploring other staffing opportunities with RecycleForce.

Covanta says its new Advanced Recycling Center and adjacent EfW facility will create a first-of-its-kind, next-generation system for sustainably managing waste in North America. Together, the facilities will bring recycling to all single family homes in the city of Indianapolis, increase recycling by five times the current rate and recover up to 80 to 90 percent of materials, including paper, cardboard, plastics and metals—at no cost to the city or its residents, Covanta explains.

Company officials estimate the new technology will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 40,000 cars from the road every year. When recycled into new products, the materials recovered will save the equivalent of the annual energy use of more than 20,000 homes. The system complements Covanta’s existing EfW facility by sharing trucks, maintaining current traffic flow and avoiding additional vehicle emissions and burdens on road infrastructure.

Since 1988, the Covanta EfW facility has diverted 16 million tons of municipal solid waste from Indianapolis landfills by providing the city a waste disposal method that reduces greenhouse gases and produces clean, renewable steam energy from solid waste, the company says. The current facility provides approximately half of the steam used by the downtown Indianapolis steam loop.

Once the permitting process is completed, Covanta expects the Advanced Recycling Center to be up and running in 2016.