Covanta’s Trash Incinerator in Chester Works Overtime Following China’s Ban on Recyclable Materials

Image of the Covanta facility in Chester via The Washington Post.

Covanta’s trash incinerator in Chester has seen a huge increase in the materials sent there to be destroyed after China banned imports of several categories of recyclable materials, writes Oliver Milman for Wired magazine.

Now, the incinerator is receiving around 200 tons of recycling material a day and the staggering amount has local residents worried.

“People want to do the right thing by recycling, but they have no idea where it goes and who it impacts,” said Zulene Mayfield of Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living.

Some experts are also worried that this will create a new fog of dioxins, accentuating the already alarming health situation in Chester.

Covanta’s incinerator is one of the largest of its kind nationwide, but just a small part of the trash burned there is from Chester. The majority is funneled in from other areas, including New York.

According to Covanta, the toxins emitted by the recyclables burned at the incinerator are negated by pollution controls. But the company agrees that change is needed.

“It’s better sending recyclables to an energy recovery facility because of the methane that comes from a landfill,” said Paul Gilman, Covanta’s chief sustainability officer.

Read more about Covanta in Wired magazine by clicking here.

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