Let’s Stop Wasting Waste

Ever wonder what happens to your garbage after it’s picked up at the curb? In some New Jersey communities, waste is not dumped in a landfill, but instead used as a resource to generate electricity.

That’s where we come in.

At Covanta, we work to ensure no waste is wasted. With approximately 3,800 employees worldwide and 600 right here in our home state of New Jersey, our dedicated team works every day to recover value from the waste we generate as a society.

Recovering Materials and Energy Resources

New Jersey dumps more than 4 million tons of waste into landfills every year. 

More than 20 years ago, New Jersey communities like Essex County, Union County and Camden County, had the foresight to invest in a technology known as “Waste-to-Energy,” which offers a sustainable alternative to landfilling the garbage that can’t be recycled.

In fact, Waste-to-Energy is recognized by the US EPA and the European Commission as the preferred choice for managing non-recyclable waste versus landfilling it. Using state-of-the-art technology, our waste processing facilities divert waste from being buried in the ground, while at the same time, recovering metals to use in the manufacture of new products like automobiles, all while generating baseload electricity 24/7 to power communities and businesses.

From an environmental, economic, and social perspective, there is simply no better commercially available option for managing the 5.5 million tons of non-recyclable waste generated by New Jersey residents and businesses every year.

Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Waste-to-Energy is widely recognized for reducing greenhouse gases—particularly methane—by eliminating emissions from landfills. NASA scientists have identified landfills as super-emitters of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 84 times more potent as a climate-warming gas than CO₂.

Read the UN Report on the climate impacts of landfills here

Environmental Impacts: Minimizing Emissions

The environmental impacts of Waste-to-Energy facilities are often misunderstood because of their industrial facades, but did you know that cars, trucks, and even local restaurants contribute significantly more emissions to the air we breathe?

Over 99.9% of what is emitted by our facilities are the normal components of air, including nitrogen, oxygen and water vapor. To minimize any environmental impact from the remaining 0.1%, we operate our facilities up to 99% below safety limits set by environmental regulators. We do this because the safety and health of our neighbors and communities is our most important priority.

To learn more about the environmental performance of New Jersey’s Waste-to-Energy facilities in comparison to regulated standards, please check out the fact sheets for the facilities in Newark, Rahway and Camden.

Without New Jersey Waste-to-Energy facilities, 230,000 garbage trucks would be added to our highways every year to dispose of waste at out-of-state landfills, generating 1.8 million more tons of CO2e from the landfilling.

Trucks on Highway

Local Economic Contributions

Waste-to-Energy facilities provide essential waste management services, not to mention reliable electricity. They are also economic engines for New Jersey.

Waste-to-Energy fuels local economies by providing:

  • 600 local, full-time jobs
  • $90 million in wages, salaries and benefits
  • Millions spent in taxes, host fees and the procurement local goods and services

Community Partners

Covanta employees care about our New Jersey communities. Our people are involved with a variety of local organizations and programs aimed at delivering tangible benefits to the neighborhoods in which we live and work.