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Covanta Energy's Clean World Initiative Enters Fifth Year

Covanta Energy Corporation, a world leader in sustainable waste management and renewable energy, is proud to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its Clean World Initiative (CWI).

The initiative brings sustainability to every facet of the company's business, including facility operations, research and development, the advancement of solid waste management and community partnerships and programs.

In conjunction with CWI's fifth anniversary celebration, Covanta has released its second sustainability report. The report outlines Covanta's sustainability policies, performance goals and progress in key focus areas. The goals align directly with a number of core focus areas laid out by the Clean World Initiative.

In the five short years of the CWI, the company has achieved some significant milestones. They include:

  • maintaining unparalleled boiler availability that makes Covanta Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities one of the most reliable sources of energy in the world
  • driving down facility emissions
  • enhancing metals recycling with innovative technology
  • announcing a new gasification technology called CLEERGAS™
  • implementing a world-class safety program with the majority of facilities achieving VPP Star status
  • developing nationally recognized community outreach programs, policies and partnerships including the Rx4Safety program to safely dispose of unwanted prescription drugs and Covanta's community outreach and environmental justice policy.

"When we launched the Clean World Initiative, we set out to make Covanta-generated energy-from-waste the cleanest and most reliable source of energy available in the world, with the lowest overall impact on our environment," said Dr. Paul Gilman, Covanta's chief sustainability officer. "Thanks to the hard work of many, I'm proud to say that five years later we've made significant progress towards that goal and changed our culture to embrace sustainability and achieve some remarkable accomplishments. We now look forward to continued improvements and achievements under CWI."

Looking forward, Covanta's CWI will build on its success and continue to focus on the following areas:

Reliability and Emissions Reduction

Covanta has maintained world-class reliability, with one of the highest boiler availability rates in the power-generating industry. Covanta has also successfully cut dioxin, mercury and hydrogen chloride emissions in half over the past five years, and when aggregating "all" emissions, Covanta's emissions are 65 percent below the Environmental Protection Agency's requirements.

Research and Development

As part of Covanta's commitment to providing environmentally superior EfW solutions, the company has developed new cost-effective technologies to control nitrogen oxide emissions at EfW facilities. These patent-pending technologies are now operating or being installed at many Covanta facilities, with more to come in the future. In addition, Covanta introduced CLEERGAS™ in 2012, a new EfW technology designed to gasify unprocessed, post-recycled waste on a commercial scale while reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency.

Advancing Sustainable Waste Management

Covanta also remains an integral part of the zero-landfill solution. The company has expanded its range of services to help companies meet zero-landfill goals, including its recycling programs that help reduce natural resource use, energy needs, greenhouse gas emissions and secondary solid waste and waste water discharges.

Covanta also recently commenced operation on a first-of-its-kind metal recycling system that is specially designed to recover small particles of non-ferrous metal. Covanta facilities annually recover more than 400,000 tons of metal that would otherwise be lost in landfills -- the equivalent amount of steel that would be used to build five Golden Gate Bridges.

Community Focus

Covanta's long history of community engagement is far-reaching and an integral part of its Clean World Initiative. The company has implemented a range of programs that touch local communities, such as its new Community Outreach and Environmental Justice Policy that encourages ongoing, open and frank dialogues with communities about sensitive issues. Covanta also continues to build its Prescription for Safety (Rx4Safety) program that provides safe, free disposal of unwanted medications to help prevent abuse and water contamination, and its Mercury Bounty initiative that helps divert mercury-containing devices from the waste stream through free community collection events.

As Covanta aims to engage with local citizens, community and worker health and safety remain top priorities. Nearly all of its U.S. facilities have been recognized with Star status in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). In addition, through its world class safety program, STEP-UP, Covanta promotes health and safety training requirements for employees, contractors and subcontractors, and every facility has a health and safety committee.


Strategic partnerships with governments and NGOs are another cornerstone of the Clean World Initiative. For example, Covanta's Fishing for Energy program, developed in collaboration with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Schnitzer Steel, aims to reduce the amount of fishing gear and marine debris that inadvertently ends up in U.S. coastal waters by providing free gear collection at ports near operating communities. To date, more than one million pounds of derelict or unwanted fishing gear have been collected.

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