The Town of Ocean City, Maryland does not offer recycling, and sends all of its trash and recycling to be burned by Covanta, the nation’s largest trash incineration corporation.
Covanta burns most of Ocean City’s trash and recycling at their incinerator 2.5 hours north in the City of Chester, Pennsylvania. This Covanta Delaware Valley incinerator is the largest waste incinerator in the United States, burning up to 3,510 tons per day. It operates with the fewest pollution controls of any incinerator in the nation, and is one of the largest air polluters in the greater Philadelphia region. Chester, PA, which is 69% Black with a poverty rate three times the national average, is internationally known as one of the worst cases of environmental racism in the United States. Some of the trash Covanta takes goes to the third largest trash incinerator in the nation, in Lorton, Virginia – also a major case of environmental racism, and the largest air polluter in the greater Washington, DC area.
Worcester County (where Ocean City is) has a public landfill and a recycling sorting center. Ocean City could use the county’s landfill for $75/ton and the county would take their recyclables at no cost (and the trash at a 15% discount, making it cheaper than using Covanta’s incinerators).
Incineration is not recycling. Burning trash is worse than directly using landfills, and it’s environmental racism to be supporting an industry whose largest and most polluting facilities are almost entirely in communities of color.
Ocean City’s contract with Covanta expires at the end of 2021.
We are Boycotting Ocean City until the Town of Ocean City contracts to end its use of incineration and commits to restart genuine recycling.