Covanta Hempstead, Long Island, N.Y.’s, largest energy-from-waste facility, is celebrating 30 years of service to the community. Opened in 1989, the facility is a vital outlet for sustainably managing the waste generated by residents of the town of Hempstead and other neighboring municipalities, according to the company.
“When it comes to the environment and building a more sustainable future, we at Covanta are deeply committed to protecting tomorrow,” said Derek Veenhof, Covanta’s executive vice president of asset management, in a statement. “As our partner for the last three decades, the town of Hempstead shares this commitment, choosing to recover value from their waste to the benefit of its residents. Energy-from-waste was the right decision, at the right time, and as New York moves forward to a zero carbon economy, this facility will continue to play a vital role in achieving that goal.”
“The Covanta Hempstead energy-from-waste facility is the cornerstone of the town of Hempstead’s integrated waste management system,” said Town Supervisor Laura Gillen in a statement. “The facility provides a reliable and sustainable means of managing our waste, reduces greenhouse gases by avoiding landfills and generates clean energy for our community. We also greatly appreciate Covanta’s commitment to the community. Whether it is educating students on environmental stewardship or helping our veterans, Covanta has demonstrated that they are dedicated to being a good neighbor and improving the community any way they can.”
Located on 15 acres in Westbury, N.Y., Covanta Hempstead processes more than 1 million tons of waste each year and generates enough electricity to power 75,000 local homes and businesses. The facility also recycles more than 30,000 tons of metal annually.
Since its inception, Covanta Hempstead said it has:
- Processed more than 28 million tons of waste, saving more than 200 acres of land that would have been used for landfilling.
- Generated 15 million megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power more than 1.5 million homes for one year.
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18 million of tons, equivalent to taking nearly 3.5 million cars off the road for one year.
- Avoided 2.8 million trucks going off-island to distant landfills—equal to a five-lane highway filled bumper-to-bumper with garbage trucks from Hempstead to the Oregon coast.
- Recovered approximately 625,000 tons of ferrous metal for recycling, enough to build 23 Whitestone Bridges.
In addition, Covanta Hempstead supports a range of initiatives such as Wreaths Across America and encouraging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education for local students. Recently, the facility launched an American Flag retirement program in collaboration with local veteran groups. The program retires old and worn flags in accordance with the U.S. flag code.
Furthermore, the facility received the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star award. “Acceptance into the VPP Star program signifies OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health performance,” noted the company.