- In a decision reached on Feb. 24, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that a $112 million contract awarded to Covanta by Indianapolis in 2014 to build and operate a mixed-waste processing center violated competitive bidding laws. The project had been suspended earlier this month.
- The appeals case was filed by Graphic Packaging International, Rock-Tenn Converting Co. (now known as WestRock), and resident Cathy Weinmann. It reversed a lower court's ruling that allowed the deal to go forward.
- The new facility would have created a 43-year pact, according to Resource Recycling. It also would have increased the amount of materials recycled in Indianapolis by 500% at no cost to the city, according to Covanta.
The "dirty MRF" facility in Indianapolis had been meeting opposition for a long time, as opponents argued that mixing trash and recyclables to be sorted later will amplify contamination in the waste stream, and further cost expensive processing issues. The suspension of the facility was a seemingly coincidental action, which was said to be done to "reassess plans to build the facility."
"By including provisions related to the design, construction, and maintenance of this new facility, the amendment fell under the purview of section 4 of the Waste Disposal Statute, which requires among other things, public bidding and public participation in the process. That did not occur. Therefore the contract is void for failing to comply with the statute," the decision reads.
Indiana Recycling Coalition Executive Director Carey Hamilton supported the decision with "delight," stating that the coalition believes in "a competitive and transparent process will provide the best recycling program while also best serving taxpayers," as reported by Resource Recycling.
"This is a high profile case and we are reviewing the decision and its implications," SWANA CEO David Biderman told Waste Dive in an email. Waste Dive will continue to update the story with any developments.