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Christmas wreath
USE IT ALL: A handcrafted Christmas wreath is a good example of a non-timber forest product.

Covanta Expands Partnership with Wreaths Across America

The organizations will sustainably recycle and dispose of wreaths that are laid on military veterans’ gravestones at cemeteries across the U.S.

Covanta has expanded its partnership with Wreaths Across America to sustainably recycle and dispose of wreaths that are laid on gravestones of military veterans at cemeteries across the United States.

Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007 with a mission to remember the fallen, honor those that serve and their families and teach the next generation about the value of freedom.

In the weeks following the end of the holiday season, Wreaths Across America volunteers collect hundreds of thousands of evergreen wreaths placed at more than 1,640 participating locations. To help ease the burden of disposal, the wreaths are delivered and processed at nearby Covanta energy-from-waste facilities free of charge. As an added benefit, Covanta’s facilities recover energy from the organic portion of the wreaths and the metal frame is collected for recycling. 

Covanta has participated in the program since 2017 and is now accepting wreaths at six locations in Virginia—Covanta Fairfax and Covanta Alexandria/Arlington—and at all of Covanta’s facilities on Long Island, N.Y.—Covanta Hempstead, Covanta Huntington, Covanta Babylon and Covanta MacArthur.

“Covanta is pleased to provide Wreaths Across America with this vital service,” said Edward Sandkuhl, facility manager at Covanta Hempstead, in a statement. “As a Navy veteran, I am proud to support an organization that remembers and reverently honors the deceased men and women of our military. At Covanta, we are committed to supporting veterans, which account for 15 percent of our U.S. workforce.” 

“We are continually looking for ways to support our participating locations,” said Wayne Hanson, location coordinator volunteer with Wreaths Across America for Arlington National Cemetery and chairman of the board of directors, in a statement. “We are grateful for Covanta’s growing support of our mission and the sustainable solution they are providing to help prevent the veterans’ wreaths from going to waste.”

Wreaths from Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia are processed at Covanta Fairfax and Covanta Alexandria/Arlington. Wreaths collected from Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, N.Y., are sent to Covanta’s Long Island facilities.

Covanta’s Long Island facilities alone will collect approximately 40,000 wreaths, generating enough energy to supply electricity to eight homes for one month. In addition, the metal recovered from the Long Island facilities amounts to more than 1,000 pounds, enough to manufacture more than 8,000 soup cans.

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