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Covanta Hempstead

Two workers in orange safety vests walk past compacted trash at the Covanta Hempstead waste to energy facility
Municipal waste to energy facilities process a lot
of trash

Intern Christie Hegermiller is a sophomore at Boston College, majoring in Environmental Geosciences. The Covanta Hempstead Energy from Waste facility is located in a populated area in Nassau County on Long Island. Due to the nature of its business, combustion of municipal solid waste to generate electricity, the facility historically has not recycled paper products or commingled containers generated by facility personnel. An intern was placed to develop and launch an in-house recycling program. Ms. Hegermiller developed a brief survey to gauge employee willingness to recycle at work and also to determine where recyclables are generated. Ms. Hegermiller placed temporary recycling bins in strategic areas of the plant identified in her survey, then collected and weighed the materials, and modified sizes and placement of bins as needed. After a three week trial period, she purchased permanent recycle bins. She promoted the program through posters, emails, and verbal communication. She developed a brochure on how to launch a recycling program, which is a very popular handout at DEC outreach events. During the 10-week internship period, 1000 pounds of recyclables were collected. The intern calculated that Covanta could recycle 2.6 tons/year of paper, plastics, glass and aluminum cans.

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