Metals Recycling at Energy-from-Waste (Waste to Energy) Facilities

After combustion takes place in our Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities, we are able to recover metals from the remaining ash for recycling. We recycle everything from broken office chairs to mattress springs – we even recover and recycle quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies! In total, Covanta’s facilities recycle approximately 500,000 tons of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. That’s enough steel to build more than 375,000 automobiles and sufficient aluminum to manufacture more than two billion beverage cans. 

Recycling metal from EfW facilities avoids a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases and recovers valuable natural resources that would have otherwise been lost in landfills. In the United States, approximately 7.5 million tons of metal goes to landfills each year. If recycled instead, that metal could be used to build more than 90 Golden Gate Bridges!

The production and mining of new steel, aluminum, copper, and other metals products is also a carbon intensive process that negatively impacts the environment. By recovering and recycling 500,000 tons of metal each year, Covanta’s operations save approximately 1.2 million tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of pulling 112,506 cars off the road for a year.

In recent years, Covanta has made it a priority to increase the quality and quantity of the metals we recycle. In that time, we have increased the amount of metal we recycle by 20 percent and installed new technology to improve material quality. Our regional processing facility in Fairless Hills, PA sorts metal material by type and cleans the metal, which gives us a higher-value and more saleable end product in all market conditions. 

Metals Recycling in Action