Covanta Hempstead, Long Island’s largest Energy-from-Waste facility, is celebrating 30 years of service to the community. Opened in 1989, the facility is a vital outlet for sustainably managing the waste generated by residents of the Town of Hempstead and other neighboring municipalities. “When it comes to the environment and building a more sustainable future, we at Covanta are deeply committed to protecting tomorrow,” said Derek Veenhof, Covanta’s executive vice president, Asset Management. “As our partner for the last three decades, the Town of Hempstead shares this commitment, choosing to recover value from their waste to the benefit of its residents. Energy-from-Waste was the right decision, at the right time, and as New York moves forward to a zero-carbon economy, this facility will continue to play a vital role in achieving that goal.”
“The Covanta Hempstead Energy-from-Waste facility is the cornerstone of the Town of Hempstead’s integrated waste management system,” said Town Supervisor Laura Gillen. “The facility provides a reliable and sustainable means of managing our waste, reduces greenhouse gases by avoiding landfills and generates clean energy for our community. We also greatly appreciate Covanta’s commitment to the community. Whether it is educating students on environmental stewardship or helping our veterans, Covanta has demonstrated that they are dedicated to being a good neighbor and improving the community any way they can.”
“The public-private partnership that Covanta and the Town of Hempstead have built is an important example of the innovative solutions New York State will need as we meet the urgent challenge of climate change,” said New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky.
“As Long Island’s largest Energy-from-Waste facility, Covanta Hempstead truly lives up to its mission of ensuring no waste is ever wasted,” said New York State Senator Kevin Thomas. “They have also shown important leadership on the proper disposal of prescription drugs, which helps to prevent drug abuse and protects our water supplies.”
Located on just 15 acres in Westbury, New York, Covanta Hempstead processes over 1 million tons of waste each year and generates enough electricity to power 75,000 local homes and businesses. The facility also recycles more than 30,000 tons of metal annually.
Since its inception, Covanta Hempstead has:
- Processed more than 28 million tons of waste, saving over 200 acres of land that would have been used for landfilling
- Generated 15 million megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power more than 1.5 million homes for one year
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18 million of tons, equivalent to taking nearly 3.5 million cars off the road for one year
- Avoided 2.8 million trucks going off-island to distant landfills – equal to a 5-lane highway filled bumper-to-bumper with garbage trucks from Hempstead to the Oregon coast
- Recovered approximately 625,000 tons of ferrous metal for recycling, enough to build 23 Whitestone Bridges
An active member of the community, Covanta Hempstead supports a range of initiatives such as Wreaths Across America and encouraging STEM education for local students. Recently, the facility launched an American Flag retirement program in collaboration with local veteran groups. The program retires old and worn flags in accordance with the U.S. flag code.
The facility has also been recognized for its safety and environmental excellence. It was the first in the Energy-from-Waste industry to receive the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star award. Acceptance into the VPP Star program signifies OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health performance.