Recycling center makes sense

April 4, 2015

It’s disappointing to see a statewide organization that exists to support recycling continue to spread misinformation about the new Covanta Advanced Recycling Center project in Indianapolis [Hamilton letter, March 23]. But, clearly this is the intent of the Indiana Recycling Coalition.

The question is, why?

Covanta would not invest $45 million in building the center if the intention was to burn the material. The company has every incentive to ensure the recyclable materials that are recovered meet the needs of valued manufacturing customers. And those remaining materials not able to be recycled will generate renewable steam energy through the Covanta Energy-from-Waste facility.

While the company has pledged to work toward glass recovery in the near future, the project will immediately advance sustainable materials management in Indianapolis by leaps and bounds at no cost to the taxpayer—without relying on grants and loans that could disappear and leave taxpayers to pick up the tab.

Despite IRC’s scare tactics about financial penalties, under the current contract extension, taxpayers will pay nothing for recycling no matter how much waste the city delivers to Covanta, leaving the company to shoulder 100 percent of the risk.

We believe the coalition has been misled by companies that want Indy’s recyclables for their own recycling operations, and as a result, are now misleading the public. We believe it boils down to business competition—not about the right or wrong way to recycle.

Some of the very same paper companies that have publicly opposed Covanta’s plan to increase recycling in Indiana have purchased recycled fiber from a similar facility in Montgomery, Alabama, owned and operated by Infinitus Energy. The purchasing company has never rejected the material for any reason and has in fact paid above-market rates for this material.

Covanta has lined up reputable, multinational and local recycling companies that are ready to buy the paper, metal and plastics that will be separated at its center.

Indianapolis residents deserve to know the truth. After decades of struggling to increase recycling, it’s time to try something new. The center will make real progress in dramatically increasing recycling, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Scott Holkeboer, market area vice president
Covanta Indianapolis

Kyle Mowitz, CEO/co-founder
Infinitus Energy; Montgomery, Alabama

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