Indianapolis, Covanta agree to temporarily suspend recycling center contract

Indianapolis, Covanta agree to temporarily suspend recycling center contract

City plans to gather information over the next 90 days to reassess proposed “advanced recycling center.”

February 10, 2016

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has announced the city of Indianapolis and Covanta Indianapolis Inc. have reached an agreement to temporarily suspend a proposed “advanced recycling center” (ARC). The facility was to be located on Morristown, New Jersey-based Covanta’s Indianapolis campus.

“Leadership begins with listening, and I believe Indianapolis deserves a true community conversation before we move forward with any waste and recycling plan,” says Hogsett. “I appreciate Covanta’s willingness to agree to this effort as we work toward a long-term solution that best serves our neighborhoods and our environment.”

Hogsett announced that the city will gather information over the next 90 days to assist with a reassessment of plans for an ARC. To facilitate this deliberative process, the Hogsett administration will meet with local groups and key stakeholders, ensuring that all voices are included in a conversation over the future of recycling in Indianapolis, he said.

Covanta Indianapolis has offered information-gathering assistance to city officials during the suspension of the ARC, and Covanta’s pre-existing service agreements with the city will remain in effect. The Office of Corporation Counsel will continue to defend the city’s ability to negotiate with Covanta in pending litigation.

Covanta announced plans to build the ARC in June 2014.

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

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

A lawsuit was filed a few months later by RockTenn (now WestRock), a Norcross, Georgia-based papermaking and recycling company; Graphic Packaging Corp. (GPC), a Chicago-based papermaker; and Cathy Weinmann, a resident of Indianapolis against Indianapolis’ Public Works Department, but the suit was thrown out the following April.