Indiana Recycling Coalition honors NUVO's Covanta coverage

Covanta's deal with the city was dissolved in early 2016



NUVO News Editor Amber Stearns was presented with an Excellence in Journalism Award as part of the Indiana Recycling Coalition Annual Conference this afternoon. 

During the presentation, IRC Executive Director Carrie Hamilton credited NUVO's coverage of Covanta's contract with Indianapolis as a key component in the dissolution of the recycling deal. In February, Indianapolis and Covanta suspended the recycling center contract. 

Catch up on our Fall 2015 series on Covanta: A Garbage Deal, penned jointly by Amber Stearns and former NUVO Managing Editor Ed Wenck:

The best way to recycle? The IRC vs. Ballard and Covanta (June 2014, Ed Wenck and Rebecca Townsend) 

How Indy’s new recycling deal could cost taxpayers millions (October 2015, Ed Wenck) 

Covanta defends its position (October 2015, Ed Wenck and Amber Stearns) 

How Indy's new recycling deal could cost taxpayers millions Part II (November 2015, Ed Wenck and Amber Stearns) 

Appeals court rules against the city in Covanta recycling center case (February 2016, Amber Stearns) 

Indianapolis, Covanta agree to suspend recycling center contract (February 2016, Ed Wenck) 

Stearns and her IRC award plaque — and yes, the frame is recycled. - BRIAN WEISS
  • Brian Weiss
  • Stearns and her IRC award plaque — and yes, the frame is recycled.

Need just a nugget of what the fuss over Covanta was about? From our cover story: 

Covanta is the company that burns Indy's trash for steam that it can turn into power and sell. They signed a new agreement with Indianapolis, a contract that includes a recycling plan that critics are calling inefficient at best, and there are questions about the lack of public discussion regarding that contract.

That contracts also inspired a lawsuit. The lawsuit and its appeals are over a year old: Two paper companies and an Indy citizen are taking the city of Indianapolis to court. (The plaintiffs lost the first round; a decision on the appeal is expected in January 2016.)

Over trash. Gargbage. The stuff we leave by the curb.

That suit notes that Indy's got the potential to be throwing away a very large stack of taxpayer dollars, along with any possibility for the city to improve its recycling programs.

In fact, what's become the most contentious clause of the contract prevents Indy from improving its recycling capabilities through 2028 — or pay a penalty of $4 million per year. Every year. Through the end of the deal.

If you'd like to get more involved in recycling in Indianapolis, the Indiana Recycling Coalition invites the public to an industry expert forum at the Marriott East on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Can't go? Send suggestions to to contribute to the discussion.

If you go: 
Indiana Recycling Coalition Industry Expert Forum 
4:30 p.m. 
Marriott East, 7202 E. 21st St.
free, all-ages 


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