Haverhill Rotarians came away from a recent tour of Covanta in Ward Hill understanding the company is a major recycler and power provider that is not only reducing carbon emissions now, but plans to lead a carbon-negative future.
Covanta Area Asset Manager Mark Van Weelden told club members during a lunch and tour the Haverhill operation processes 602,000 tons of trash per year that otherwise would have been landfilled with zero energy or recycling recovery. He said the plant generates enough electricity to power 32,000 homes for one year and separate more than 16,000 tons of metal that is sent to a recycling facility.
“We wish to thank the many Haverhill Rotarians and city leaders who visited us to ask questions and tour our facility for several hours. Their outstanding questions about our facility allowed us to explain our past and future sustainability goals coupled with a continued high level of environmental leadership,” Van Weelden said.
Achieving a carbon-negative future means the company plans to remove more carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas from the atmosphere than it emits.
During the tour, Covanta Environmental Engineer David Cotter explained the nearly 35-year-old plant—it formally opened in 1989—is still able to use the same boilers and turbine generators because they are well maintained. Maintenance Manager Liam Curry added the company’s environmental performance results are open to public view, appearing on Covanta’s website.
Throughout all of its 70 operations, Covanta notes 6,000 employee hours devoted to community volunteerism, fundraising and education; having 20% of leadership positions held by women and racially diverse groups; and spending up to 50% with local suppliers and vendors.
The Rotary Club of Haverhill meets Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. at the Haverhill Country Club. Other recent on-site Rotary meetings have taken place at the Haverhill Public Library and Groveland’s Nichols Village.