The Indianapolis Board of Public Works voted to approve Covanta‘s plan to build a $45 million recycling facility Wednesday.
The plan, negotiated by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s administration, will make Covanta the city’s top residential recycling provider for the next 14 years, and is expected to generate $112 million in revenue for the company.
The Ballard administration says that the deal will increase the city‘s recycling recovery rate from five percent to 18 percent at no additional cost to taxpayers. The city will continue to collect residential waste and Covanta will separate recyclables and sell them.
The Board of Public Works voted 4-1 to approve the deal, with board member Greg Garrett as the sole opponent. Garrett argued that the city stands to lose revenues it desperately needs by contracting out utilities like water, power and light, parking meters, and now recycling.
“There are better options for recycling that the city has not looked at properly,” Garrett said. “I think the city if we actually controlled our recycling and not sold it to a third party market vendor, we’d actually get more money for the city, and we desperately need revenues for the city of Indianapolis to take care of police.”
Board member Dennis Rosebrough disagreed with Garrett, noting that if recycling and recovery rates are the goal, the Covanta deal is a step in the right direction for recycling overall.
According to Indianapolis Office of Sustainability Director Melody Park, part of the deal calls for a new Covanta facility that will be constructed on Harding Street, which will supplement the city‘s current recycling programs that include curbside and free drop off recycling.
The project still requires construction permits before it moves forward.