Navigating the Waste Hierarchy

The waste hierarchy is built upon the concepts of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The fourth “R”, recover, is less known, but just as important. The hierarchy shows waste management activities in descending order of preference. By following the waste hierarchy for the management of municipal solid waste, we can reduce our impact on the environment, lower greenhouse gas emissions and save energy. Our core business, Energy-from-Waste (EfW), provides communities and businesses with a critical tool for moving up the hierarchy. 

EfW facilities are the only solid waste disposal option with state-of-the-art air pollution control technology, unlike landfills and incinerators which have uncontrolled air pollution. Our facilities use advanced air pollution control equipment and emissions monitoring systems that comply with strict state and federal emission standards.

EfW facilities also benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, Covanta's facilities reduce emissions by 20 million tons by avoiding methane from decomposing waste in landfills, off-setting fossil fuel electrical production and recovering metals for recycling.

EfW facilities avoid the production of methane – more than 30 times the potency of carbon dioxide – while generating almost 10 times more electricity from each ton of waste compared to landfills. Additional benefits are realized by reducing the carbon emissions from long-haul transportation of trash to distant landfills.