Covanta (NYSE:CVA) is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. Annually, Covanta’s modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle approximately 500,000 tons of metal. Through a vast network of treatment and recycling facilities, Covanta also provides comprehensive industrial material management services to companies seeking solutions to some of today’s most complex environmental challenges. For more information, visit covanta.com.
EfW: Helping Solve Critical Challenges
Sustainable Waste Management
Sustainable waste management begins with efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle, but unfortunately at this time there is not a way to eliminate waste completely. Covanta facilities complement recycling efforts by converting non-recyclable waste into energy and by recycling metal - the equivalent amount that could be used to build five Golden Gate Bridges every year! It’s worth noting, communities with an EfW facility typically have world-class waste management systems and higher recycling rates than communities that do not, with some recycling over 50 percent.
Fact: A single kitchen bag of trash has the potential to keep a compact fluorescent light bulb aglow for approximately four days.
Did You Know: Over the last 25 years, energy-from-waste has been recognized as renewable energy through U.S. federal laws, executive orders, and regulations, starting with the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) of 1978 and most recently with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. More than twenty-five states identify energy-from-waste as renewable energy.
Clean, Renewable Energy
As North America strives to find alternative sources of energy, EfW is a logical solution. For every ton of waste processed in a Covanta facility, we avoid the need for one barrel of oil or mine a quarter ton of coal, saving the equivalent of over 20 million barrels of oil or five million tons of coal a year. Covanta doesn’t need to mine or drill for our fuel; we get it right from the average person’s trash can and use it to supply baseload renewable power, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Covanta is dedicated to environmental stewardship. Pollution control technology is an essential part of our operations. On average, our facilities perform 60-90 percent better than limits established by strict regulations. We’ve also developed our own state-of-the-art control systems to drive down emissions such as nitrogen oxide even further.
Climate Change Solution
Unfortunately, the majority of North America’s waste continues to beburied in landfills. As waste decomposes in a landfill, it produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas that, in terms of its contribution to global warming, over 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). According to U.S. EPA life cycle models, each ton of waste processed at an EfW facility leads to the reduction of one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. This is due predominately to the prevention of landfill methane, avoiding fossil fuel combustion, and the recovery of ferrous (steel) and non-ferrous (aluminum, copper, etc.) metals for recycling. Additionally, many landfills are located far away from waste sources, resulting in a significant amount of CO2 emissions from diesel-fueled waste transportation trucks.
Covanta facilities are located in or near the communities they serve, so long-distance transport is not necessary. Not only do they prevent the production of methane gas by diverting waste from landfills, but they use waste otherwise destined for landfills to generate important baseload renewnable energy in what could only be called a ‘win-win’ situation.
EfW is ideal because it is local. It returns clean, renewable energy in the form of steam and electricity back to the same community that provides its fuel. This circle-of-service is both environmentally sound and economically beneficial.
EfW provides good jobs for local citizens; jobs that cannot be exported. According to a recent study commissioned in the U.S. by the RES Alliance for Jobs, a coalition of major stakeholders in the renewable industry of which Covanta is a member, a federal mandate for 25 percent of all U.S. energy generation to be renewable by 2025 would result in 15,000 more EfW- related jobs.
Institutions such as the World Economic Forum recognize EfW’s significance in reaching renewable energy goals and the associated socioeconomic benefits of increasing energy derived from renewable
sources. Legislative bodies around the world have initiated policies and targeted specific funding to support the growth of local green jobs in the renewable sector.
Each new EfW facility has the potential to generate about $1 billion in direct and indirect economic activity, providing up to 1,000 construction jobs and as many as 100 permanent jobs. In addition, these facilities purchase many goods and services locally, further supporting the local economies.
Fact: More than 350 million tons of greenhouse gases have been offset through the operation of our 46 EfW facilities, the equivalent to planting over 8 billion trees.
Did you Know: Recognition of EfW as a source of greenhouse gas mitigation and inclusion of EfW as an eligible source of carbon offsets follows the long established policies of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union.
HOW EFW WORKS
Municipal solid waste is delivered to a facility and transferred to a combustion chamber where self sustainable combustion is maintained at extremely high temperatures. The heat from that process boils water to create steam that is either sold as is or, in most cases, used to drive a turbine, generating the electricity we sell. Ash is processed to recover metal for recycling. All gases are collected, filtered and cleaned before being released safely into the atmosphere.