Covanta plans to shutter two Maine biomass plants

© Ulrich Mueller |

The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine has issued a statement urging Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s administration and legislative leaders to take action to sustain Maine biomass electricity production in the wake of news that Covanta Energy plans to shut down its two Maine biomass plants, affecting more than 2,500 jobs in the state’s logging industry.

Covanta, Morristown, New Jersey, operates two of the six large stand-alone biomass electricity plants in Maine. It plans to shut down both in March 2016, citing low fossil fuel prices that have weakened demand for biomass energy.

The impending closings of Covanta’s Jonesboro and West Enfield, Maine, plants is a huge blow to the logging industry in Maine which has sold woody biomass waste from logging operations to the plants for years, says the PLC. With the announcement by Covanta, only four large biomass electricity plants, all owned by ReEnergy LLC, will remain in operation in the state.

“This announcement should serve as a wakeup call to both the LePage administration and Maine legislators about the dangers of inaction when it comes to formulating energy policies that will benefit our state’s economy, environment, and future,” PLC Executive Director Dana Doran, says. “This is a perfect example of an area where common sense needs to be applied to policy to consider the true cost of our energy, not just the price per kilowatt hour.”

Entsorga WV to open waste-to-solid fuel facility

Entsorga West Virginia (Entsorga WV), Kearneysville, West Virginia, has announced the groundbreaking of its first resource recovery facility using mechanical biological treatment (MBT) in the United States. The waste-to-solid fuel plant in Martinsburg, West Virginia, is expected to be operational in early 2017.

Entsorga WV is a joint venture between Apple Valley Waste Technologies LLC, Entsorga USA and Chemtex International.

While the company says this is the first facility of its kind in the U.S., there are currently more than 330 MBT plants in operation throughout Europe, processing more than 30 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually.

“This is a significant milestone for the United States and we are truly thrilled to be providing this proven technology to convert waste into an EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] recognized alternative fuel source,” says Pietro Cella Mazzariol, CEO and director at Entsorga.

The facility will use Entsorga Italia’s HEBioT (high efficiency biological treatment) MBT system, an Entsorga-patented technology that uses the decomposition of waste to prepare the material to be used for fuel. By using the HEBioT MBT system, Entsorga WV says it will recover biomass, plastics and other carbon-based materials from the mixed MSW stream and convert them into an alternative fuel source. When processing the MSW, Entsorga WV says it will remove other recyclable commodities, such as ferrous and nonferrous metals, using its proprietary system.

Waste Management publishes 2015 Sustainability Report Update

Waste Management Inc. (WM), headquartered in Houston, has released its 2015 sustainability report, which provides updated data to the company’s full 2014 report, titled “Creating a Circular Economy.” The report includes progress on the company’s 2020 sustainability goals, sustainability key performance indicators and 2014 awards received.

In the report, the company’s president and CEO David Steiner highlights the important and growing focus on making recycling sustainable over the long term.

“In 2014 and 2015, Waste Management has been laser-focused on raising the profile of the importance of recycling, including how to make it efficient and sustainable—both economically and environmentally,” say Steiner. “If recycling is going to be sustainable over the long term, we must have honest conversations about cost. We must have a clear understanding of the benefits. And, we must all work together to help drive much-needed solutions.”

WM will release its next full report in December 2016. To view the 2015 update and other company Sustainability Reports, visit

In the report, Steiner states, “We have maintained recycling at 17 percent of revenue while managing 15 million tons of material. It’s important to note that, although national recycling rates are slightly down, we were able to counterbalance this trend by offering our services to the utility industry, converting coal ash into a feedstock for cement and other encapsulated uses. This beneficial use of residual material resulting from coal combustion was classified as “recycling” by U.S. EPA in December 2014, and we have adopted their definition in our classifications.”

Steiner adds, “This is an important line of business for Waste Management, and a form of recycling that has been embraced by U.S. EPA, our customers and the environmental community alike, because it is safe, protective of the environment and conserves natural resources. We have been encouraged by a 50 percent increase in revenues attributable to our innovative service lines.”