Facility Tours

Tours are available to schools and other community groups at no cost.

COVID-19 Update: All face-to-face educational programming, including Imagine Craft Mondays at the Recycling & Education Center, is SUSPENDED until further notice.

This includes all tours of our Recycling Center, Waste to Energy Facility, South Kent Landfill, Imagine Craft Mondays/Open Hours, as well as any offsite presentations or expo/tabling events. We believe this the responsible choice to minimize risk of exposure of COVID-19 for children, families, those groups or individuals especially at risk, and our staff. We look forward to restarting these educational experiences once community spread of COVID-19 has been abated.

All of Kent County Department of Public Work’s Group Facility Tours are available to schools, organizations, businesses, and other community groups for FREE.
Please review the facility tours below to see age requirements, topics, addresses, etc. and submit a tour request via the booking button below.

For additional tour information please email or call: 616-632-7920.

Recycling & Education Center
Address: 977 Wealthy SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Ages: All

Tour Duration: Approximately 1 hour (Available M-F 8:00am-5:00pm, when the facility is running)

Bus Grant: Application available in September.


  • The Basics of Recycling
  • Natural Resources and Recycling
  • Recycling and Machines
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • The History of Trash
  • Closing the Recycling Loop
  • Managing Waste & Sustainable Materials Management

Take a walk through a sorting facility designed to accept residential recyclable materials from all over West Michigan. Recyclables are sorted according to material type, then prepared for shipping to the next processor by pressing the recyclables into bales.

Tours are approximately one hour in length and include a classroom discussion about recycling as well as a facility overview on the observation deck overlooking the functioning equipment. The facility offers a safe, clean environment to learn about recycling. Tour times are available when the facility is running, between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday. Closed-toe shoes are required for this tour.

South Kent Landfill

ADDRESS: 10300 South Kent Drive SW, Byron Center, MI 49315
AGES: 3rd grade and older

TOUR DURATION: Approximately 45 min.-1 hour (Available M-F 8:00am-5:00pm)

BUS GRANT: Application available in September. A bus is required for this tour.


  • Natural Resources
  • Personal Decision-making
  • Landfill Construction Basics
  • Renewable Energy

In 2015, 1.1 billion pounds of Kent County trash passed over the scales destined for a landfill or waste to energy conversion, the equivalent of filling the University of Michigan’s Big House stadium twice over. West Michigan is on pace to generate enough trash every year to fill the Big House 4 times over. What’s worse, a recent municipal solid waste study determined nearly 75% of what we threw away in 2015 could have been recycled or composted. Come learn about what we can do differently to manage discards instead of perpetuating the take-make-throw mentality.

Tours are up to one hour in length and provide an in-bus talking tour of the entire landfill area, including a trip up to the top to see the big machines in action (weather permitting) and all groups will weigh in at the scale house. A short discussion on our methane gas recovery system and the monofill where ash from Kent County’s Waste to Energy facility is buried is included. NOTE: A bus is required for this tour. Roads at South Kent Landfill are mostly unpaved. Contact your busing service prior to scheduling your tour as some bus companies will not drive on unpaved roads. 

Waste to Energy Facility

Address: 950 Market SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Ages: 5th grade and older 

Tour Duration: Approximately 1 hour (Available M-F 8:00am-5:00pm)

Bus Grant: Application available in September.


  • Renewable Energy
  • Natural Resources

The Kent County Waste-To-Energy Facility accepts municipal solid waste from the 6 core cities in Kent County (Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Grandville, Walker and Wyoming). The facility can process up to 625 tons of municipal solid waste per day. The solid waste is converted into steam through carefully monitored incineration in specially designed furnace/boilers. The steam goes through a turbine/generator to generate electricity. A small portion of the electricity is used in-house and the rest is sold to an electricity supplier to be used in homes and businesses in Kent County.
The solid waste is reduced to ash, which is landfilled at South Kent Landfill after ferrous metal is removed by magnets and recycled. About 4,500 tons of ferrous is recycled every year. As ash, the municipal solid waste is reduced 90% by volume and 75% by weight.

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