Facility Tours


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

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 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.



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



TOPICS DISCUSSED:

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

NOTE: A bus is required for this tour.

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. Please note: 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.



ADDRESS: 950 Market SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
AGES: 5th grade and older



TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • 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.

For additional tour information please email or call: 616-632-7940.

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