February 22, 2017

Grand Rapids, MI –After a brief shut down earlier in the week because of a mechanical malfunction in the baler, Kent County’s Recycling & Education Center is now processing recyclables that are being delivered by haulers. During the downtime the Recycling Center was unable to accept recyclables placed at the curb for pickup by waste haulers and haulers were redirected to the Waste to Energy Facility on Market Street.
“Our staff and two contractors worked diligently for the past two days to get the baler operational again,” said Dar Baas, Director of Kent County’s Department of Public Works, the owner and operator of the facility.
Repairs to the baler were performed on Monday afternoon and early Tuesday. By Tuesday afternoon, County staff were testing the repair, a weld to the cylinder in the hydraulic system, to make sure it would hold. After successful baling all morning on Wednesday, the County gave the all-clear to recycling haulers to begin dumping recyclables at the Recycling Facility as of 12:30pm on Wednesday.
During the 18.5 hour shut-down, approximately 120 tons of recyclables were incinerated at the Waste to Energy Facility.
“Sending recyclables to Waste to Energy is a much better alternative than landfilling. Instead of adding to our landfill, where the recyclables will sit idle indefinitely, we were able to extract the energy and generate electricity for as many as 1,680 homes in the greater Grand Rapids area,” noted Baas. “It’s not ideal, but it’s better.”
Kent County DPW posts updates on recycling at, www.recyclekent.org.

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February 20, 2017

Grand Rapids, MI – Kent County’s Recycling & Education Center experienced a mechanical malfunction in the baler that caused the facility to shut down. During this time the Recycling Center is unable to accept recyclables placed at the curb for pickup by waste haulers.

“Despite having preventative maintenance programs and dedicated maintenance staff, there are always going to be things that happen to the equipment that are outside of our control. Sorting equipment in these state-of-the-art processing facilities is dependent on all pieces working together,” said Darwin Baas, Director of Kent County’s Department of Public Works, an enterprise fund of Kent County that owns and operates the facility. “The baler is a critical piece of equipment in our system and we are unable to run for any length of time without it.” Residents and businesses are encouraged to hold off placing recycling carts out for service for the next couple of days in anticipation of the facility being able to process recyclables again at the end of the week.

Currently between 1,000 and 1,250 tons of material is awaiting processing on the ‘tipping floor’, where waste haulers dump recyclables that will be processed once the plant is back up and running. Kent County is working closely with two different technicians to assess the baler repairs and establish a timeframe.

Haulers that normally deliver recyclables to the Kent County Recycling & Education Center are being redirected to Kent County’s Waste to Energy Facility, about a mile away, as of 2:00 pm today.

“Sending recyclables to the Waste to Energy Facility is not ideal. Sending recyclables to Waste to Energy is a much better alternative than landfilling. We can extract the energy, generate electricity and feed that back into the grid for productive use,” noted Baas.

While the Recycling Center is down the service fee for haulers tipping recyclables will be waived.
Kent County DPW will post updates on the progress of the electrical repairs on its recycling website, www.recyclekent.org.