Court of appeals sides with plaintiffs over recycling facility contract

The Court of Appeals of Indiana has made a decision Feb. 24, 2016, in the appeals case filed by Graphic Packaging International, Rock-Tenn Converting Co. (now WestRock) and resident Cathy Weinmann versus the city of Indianapolis and city of Indianapolis Public Works.

In a 19-page decision, the court ruled that the city of Indianapolis violated competitive bidding laws when the it awarded a long-term recycling contract to Covanta in 2014.

The decision reversed a lower court ruling and ordered the Marion Superior Court to void the deal Indianapolis made with Morristown, New Jersey-based Covanta to build a $45 million recycling facility that would process mixed waste next door to its waste-to-energy facility.

“By including provisions related to the design, construction and maintenance of this new facility, the amendment fell under the purview of section 4 of the Waste Disposal Statute, which requires among other things, public bidding and public participation in the process. That did not occur. Therefore, the contract is void for failing to comply with the statute,” the decision reads.

© Sergii Gnatiuk |

Just two weeks earlier, on Feb. 10, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the city of Indianapolis and Covanta Indianapolis Inc. had 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,” Hogsett said when the agreement with Covanta was announced. The new facility would have increased the amount of material recycled in Indianapolis by up to 500 percent at no cost to the city or its residents, according to earlier statements from Covanta.

Covanta reports $37 million in lost revenues in 2015

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Morristown, New Jersey-based Covanta Holding Corp., a waste and energy solutions provider, reported financial results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2015.

According to the company, the twelve months ended Dec. 31, 2015, total revenue decreased by $37 million to $1.65 billion from $1.68 billion in 2014. Decreases in energy, recycled metals and construction revenue were partially offset by new waste and service revenue, the company says.

Same store North America energy from waste (EFW) revenue decreased by $47 million as follows:

  • waste and service revenue increased by $13 million;
  • energy revenue decreased by $25 million, primarily driven by lower energy pricing; and
  • recycled metals revenue decreased by $35 million, driven by a decline in recycled metal market pricing.

Also within North America EfW revenue, contract transitions, including lower debt service revenue, resulted in a decrease of $14 million. Transactions, primarily related to the Pinellas EfW operating contract, increased revenue by $7 million.

All other revenue (non-EfW operations) increased by $16 million on a consolidated basis. Waste and service revenue from non-EfW operations increased by $80 million, primarily due to the start-up of the New York City municipal transfer station (MTS) contract and contribution from newly acquired environmental services businesses, while energy revenue from non-EfW operations decreased by $28 million, driven primarily by economically dispatching a biomass facility and lower market pricing. Other operating revenue decreased by $38 million, primarily due to lower construction revenue.

Ontario EFW facility begins commercial operation

Covanta, a sustainable waste and energy solutions provider based in Morristown, New Jersey, has commenced commercial operation of the Durham York Energy Centre (DYEC).

Commissioned by the Regional Municipalities of Durham and York, Ontario in 2011, the company says the 140,000 metric-ton-per-year energy-from-waste (EfW) facility is the newest and most modern facility of its kind in North America, utilizing some of the latest combustion and air pollution control technology available. Covanta’s operating and maintenance contract with the Regions of Durham and York covers an initial term of 20 years.

The DYEC processes municipal household waste left over after the regions’ aggressive diversion efforts, such as recycling and composting, to produce 17.5 megawatts of clean renewable energy, enough to power approximately 10,000 homes, while at the same time, reducing the overall volume of garbage being sent to landfill by up to 90 percent. The facility also recycles ferrous and nonferrous metals—enough metal to build approximately 2,500 cars annually.