Conservation Minnesota

Covanta Energy Partnership

Reducing Waste and Carbon Pollution

covanta175-75Covanta Energy is supporting Conservation Minnesota’s work to reduce waste, increase recycling, and reduce the pollution that is warming Minnesota’s climate. It is all part of Covanta Energy’s commitment to use the 4 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover) as the hierarchy to manage waste with the best results for our environment.

The waste hierarchy identifies five waste management activities in descending order of preference:

Covanta Graphic

The European Union and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have each concluded that municipal solid waste, if managed according to the waste hierarchy, can help to maximize energy savings and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

After “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” we add the fourth “R” to represent the RECOVERY of energy from residual waste, which is preferred over landfill disposal. Using waste as a fuel, Energy-from-Waste (EFW) or Waste-to-Energy (WTE) technology recovers energy from residual waste to generate renewable energy.

About Covanta Energy

Covanta Energy operates the HERC energy-from-waste facility in downtown Minneapolis (next to Target Field) provides enough energy to power 24,000 homes. Energy-from-Waste plants, like the HERC facility, are specially engineered to safely process garbage using combustion chambers and turbine engines that work together to convert steam into electricity. This electricity is captured and sent into the grid.

Energy-from-waste complements recycling and is a better option than sending garbage to landfills.

  • The HERC facility pulls over 11 tons of metals out of the garbage it receives every year and sends it to recyclers.
  • The energy produced by each ton of garbage helps us save ¼ ton of coal and 1 barrel of oil, helping to reduce our use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels
  • Energy-from-Waste actually helps reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by not sending garbage to landfills, where it pumps methane into the air. Methane is a greenhouse gas (GHG), which is mostly emitted from decomposing waste in U.S. landfills. It has more than 20 times the potency of carbon dioxide and is ranked as a dangerous contributor to climate change.