Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has announced the temporary suspension of the city’s contract with recycling company Covanta Indianapolis Inc. The contract would have involved a $45 million advance recycling center on the company’s Indianapolis campus.
The mayor said the city will gather information in the next 90 days to reassess plans for an ARC facility. Covanta has offered assistance in the information-gathering process and the company’s preexisting agreements with the city will not be affected.
“Leadership begins with listening, and I believe Indianapolis deserves a true community conversation before we move forward with any waste and recycling plan,” said Mayor Hogsett. “I appreciate Covanta’s willingness to agree to this effort as we work toward a long-term solution that best serves our neighborhoods and our environment.”
The Indianapolis Board of Public Works approved the facility in 2014. At that time, Covanta said the facility would increase the city’s recycling rate by 500 percent at no cost to residents.
The proposed facility drew criticism from some area residents and companies. The Recycling Industries Coalition said the recycling operation at the facility "does not include glass, makes paper nearly impossible to recycle, and estimates show only an 18% recovery rate for recycled material, far below other Indiana cities and leading cities nationally."
The mayor’s office says "the Office of Corporation Counsel will continue to defend the city’s ability to negotiate with Covanta in pending litigation." The city was sued shortly after the contract was approved by the public works board.