Frequently Asked Questions

Recycling Questions

How can I recycle in Kent County?

Recycling is available through a variety of options:

  • Curbside recycling pick-up by haulers or your municipality
    • To sign up for curbside recycling, contact the waste hauler you have chosen for your curbside trash and ask to sign up for curbside recycling.
    • Most haulers offer this service and most of Kent County residents are able to receive this service.
    • Please verify with your waste hauler where your recycling goes to be sorted and processed (Kent County or another recycling center in the area), to determine what recyclables you can put in your curbside bin.
  • Kent County Drop-off Recycling Stations
    • Recycling drop-off stations are available to residents who do not have access to curbside recycling where they live. No business, schools, or farms.
    • Before heading out to one, check out our list of what’s acceptable for recycling. Leaving anything outside the recycling containers or putting anything inside that isn’t accepted is considered illegal dumping.
  • Making recycling a reality at your apartment/condo/multi-family living center with the help of our Recycling Grant!
What is the cost to recycle at the recycling drop-off stations?

Currently, the Kent County Recycling Drop-Off Stations in Grand Rapids and Rockford are free for residents to use.

Recycling drop-off stations are available to people who do not have access to recycling where they live. Before heading out to one, check out our list of what’s acceptable for recycling. Leaving anything outside the containers or putting anything inside that isn’t accepted is considered illegal dumping. 

When does my recycling get picked up?

Kent County operates the processing facilities for waste and recycling but does not provide collection or pick-up services for recycling or trash from residences or businesses. To find out the schedule for your trash or recycling pickup contact the hauler that you have hired for your recycling services.

What materials can go in my recycling bin?

To find out what is and what is not recyclable for your curbside recycling bin, you’ll want to contact your waste hauler to ask where your recyclables go to be sorted and processed. All Recycling Centers, or Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), have different types of machines and technology they use to sort recyclables and different downstream processors (papermills, polymer factories, steelmills, etc.) they sell to so it’s important to determine where your recycling goes so that you can follow that Recycling Center’s guidelines for recycling.

Additionally, Kent County Recycling Center provides sorting and processing for recyclables from 7 of the surrounding counties but just because you live in Kent County doesn’t mean that your recyclables come to Kent County Recycling & Education Center to be sorted…the decision is up to your waste hauler and how they establish collection routes so be sure to ask!

If your curbside recyclables are delivered to Kent County Recycling Center or you utilize the Kent County Recycling Drop-Off Stations, you’ll want to follow our Recycling Guide for the correct rules on how and what to recycle:

Can I recycle Styrofoam?
No, Styrofoam cups, plates and packaging is not recyclable at the Kent County Recycling & Education Center. Search our online waste guide to find locations to drop off foam for recycling.
Where can I recycle shredded paper now that you know longer accept it in the recycling bin?

Shredded paper cannot be placed in your curbside recycling bin or in the recycling containers at our Recycling Drop-Off Stations. Check out our Shredded Paper resource page under our Waste & Recycling Directory for what can be done with shredded paper.

How do I recycle old batteries?

Batteries such never go in your recycling bin or recycling containers at the Recycling Drop-Off Stations as they could cause a fire at the Recycling Center.

Alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury (an EPA mandated manufacturer change since 1996), so your non-rechargeable AA, AAA, C, D, N, & 9-Volt batteries can actually be safely placed in the trash.

All other types of batteries (rechargeable batteries, button batteries, car batteries, lithium-ion or nickel cadmium batteries like drill bit batteries, etc.) should go to one of our SafeChem Drop-Off Collection Sites for free for proper disposal.

Can I recycle plastic bags?

No, plastic bags, newspaper bags, produce bags, packaging and other soft plastic is not recyclable at the Kent County Recycling & Education Center. Search our online Waste &Recycing Directory to find locations to drop-off film, bags, or soft plastics for recycling.

Do you recycle clothes?

No, clothing and other textiles are  not recyclable at the Kent County Recycling & Education Center. 

Clothing and textiles are difficult to recycle due to the fact that many of these items are made out of so many unique blends of materials (EX: 70% polyester, 10% nylon, 20% cotton). In fact with the way that many articles of clothing made today, they would require chemical recycling in order to be recycled in the actual sense instead of donated and used again. Currently, there are no true recyclers of textiles within Michigan.

What many businesses mean when they say they recycle clothing, textiles, or shoes is that they accept gently worn items that will be sold in a second-hand store, used for charity organizations, or sold to developing countries for citizens to reuse—textiles typically aren’t recycled or broken down to their raw form to be made into a new article of clothing. We have a “Clothing & Textiles” resource under our Waste Directory of businesses and organizations within the West Michigan area that do accept clothing and textiles for reuse.

Can I recycle propane tanks?

No, please don’t! Propane tanks can cause explosions at the Recycling Center if placed in your curbside recycling bin or in the containers at the Recycling Drop-Off Stations.

Keep our workers safe by properly disposing of propane and other gas tanks; do NOT place them in your trash or recycling bins.

How do I recycle electronics?

We offer free electronics recycling but not through your curbside bin!

Kent County Department of Public Works’ has 3 Electronics Recycling Drop-Offs; the Recycling & Education Center, the North Kent Waste and Recycling Center, and the South Kent Waste and Recycling Center.

**CRT devices (such as projection or tube TVs and computer monitors) and appliances containing Freon/refrigerant cannot be recycled at the Recycling & Education Center but can be accepted at the North or South Kent Waste and Recycling Centers for a fee. Fees for and more information on how to recycle electronics can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document.

Check out our Waste & Recycling Directory to find additional locations listed for recycling or disposing of your electronics!

Do you take appliances for recycling?

Yes, but not in your curbside bin or at our drop-off stations!

We accept appliances (with and without Freon/refrigerant) at both the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center and South Kent Waste & Recycling Center for recycling for a fee (which can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document).

All appliances must be emptied — all contents removed prior to acceptance.

Do you take tires for recycling?

Yes, but not in your recycling bin or our drop-off stations!

We accept tires at both the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center and South Kent Waste & Recycling Center for recycling for a fee (varies on size and type of tire). Fees for and more information on how to recycle tires can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document.

All tires must be empty and clean prior to acceptance.

How do I recycle old paints or stains?

Do NOT place your paint in your recycling bin or recycling drop-off container. All paints, stains, and lacquers, EXCEPT LATEX PAINT, can go to one of our SafeChem Drop-Off locations for free as a Kent County resident.

If you do have Latex Paint that you no longer need or is old, check out our latex paint guide for information on how to donate or dispose of Latex Paint.

Where can I recycle a mattress?
Check out our waste guide to see if there are any locations listed for recycling or disposing of this item!
Where does my recycling go after it's sorted? Does it go to the landfill or Waste to Energy Facility?

Kent County Department of Public Works is proud to say that all of the recyclables that we successfully sort and bale at the Kent County recycling & Education Center stays in the Great Lakes Region for downstream processing at a papermill, smelter, or polymer factory.

This keeps the economic benefits of recycling close to home and the environmental impacts of transporting those baled recyclables downstream for processing low while offering reliable outlets/markets for many recyclables that our residents use everyday.

 

 

Can I take recyclables or other materials from the Recycling Center, Recycling Drop-Offs, or Landfill?

Unfortunately, our policy does not permit the removal of any waste items (recyclables, electronics, scrap metal, etc.) once they reach one of our waste management facilities due to safety and liability concerns.

Do you offer tours of the Recycling Center (and other waste facilities)?

Yes we do! We offer a variety of free educational opportunities:

Check out the links above for more information!

Composting Questions

How do I get rid of yard waste?
Yard waste is banned from disposal in Michigan landfills and waste to energy facilities. Contact your waste hauler to sign up for curbside yard waste pickup, visit our online waste guide for locations to bring your yard waste or compost your yard waste at home.
How do I start composting (at my home, business, school, etc.)?

Resources on how you can start composting at your home, business, office, school, place of worship and more can be found on our Composting page.

Landfill Questions

How much does it cost to dump at the landfill? What forms of payment are accepted?

You can find Disposal Fees under each landfill location page (North Kent Waste & Recycling Center South Kent Waste & Recycling Center) as well as Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document. Fees are based on vehicle load and/or specialty items/waste type.

Terms of payment: cash, check, or credit card. Additional 3% convenience fee added when using a credit card. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover only.

The scale house attendants at both locations will be able to make the final call on fees associated with disposal. Kent County Department of Public Works reserves the right to accept or reject any waste at any of our facilities.

Does a SUV/Crossover vehicle fall under the truck-load or car-load of landfill cost?

We charge by weight with a minimum fee of $30.00 for a pickup. SUV’s, Minivan’s, & Crossover vehicles fall under our policies pickup truck classification. You can find Disposal Fees under each landfill location page (North Kent Waste & Recycling Center South Kent Waste & Recycling Center) as well as Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document. Fees are based on vehicle load and/or specialty items/waste type.

What can I bring or dispose of at the landfill?

This is the list of Prohibited Items for all of Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Facilities.

You can find Disposal Fees and accepted categories of waste under each landfill location page (North Kent Waste & Recycling Center South Kent Waste & Recycling Center) as well as Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document. Fees are based on vehicle load and/or specialty item/waste type.

Keep in mind that much of our trash are actually resources that can be reused, recycled, rotted (composted), and reimagined as materials for for new items and products. Please refer to our Waste & Recycling Directory for options on diverting waste away from the landfill in order to help us get closer to our goal of reducing landfill waste by 90% by 2030.

Do you take dead animals at the landfill?

Yes, we do. You can find the Disposal Fee for dead animals and accepted categories of waste under each landfill location page (North Kent Waste & Recycling Center South Kent Waste & Recycling Center) as well as Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document. Fees are based on vehicle load and/or specialty item/waste type.

Are DPW staff available to help me unload at the landfill?

All of our waste and recycling facilities are self-serve. Department of Public Works staff are not able to assist with unloading any waste brought to any of our waste facilities.

Do you take appliances at the landfill?

Yes, we accept appliances (with and without Freon/refrigerant) at both the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center and South Kent Waste & Recycling Center for recycling for a fee (which can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document).

All appliances must be emptied — all contents removed prior to acceptance.

Do you take tires at the landfill?

Yes, we accept tires at both the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center and South Kent Waste & Recycling Center for recycling for a fee (varies on size and type of tire). Fees for and more information on how to recycle tires can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document.

All tires must be empty and clean prior to acceptance.

Do you take hot tubs, boats, motor homes (bulky items) at the landfill?

Yes, we accept bulky items, such as hot tubs, boats, motor homes and more both the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center and South Kent Waste & Recycling Center for disposal for a fee. Fees for and more information on how to dispose of bulky items can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works’ Disposal Fee Document.

This includes any bulky item that requires special handling including equipment and labor to manage. All appliances in mobile homes or trailers are to be removed prior to disposal.

Can I take recyclables or other materials from the Recycling Center, Recycling Drop-Offs, or Landfill?

Unfortunately, our policy does not permit the removal of any waste items (recyclables, electronics, scrap metal, etc.) once they reach one of our waste management facilities due to safety and liability concerns.

SafeHomes — Household Hazardous Waste Questions

How do I get rid of leftover chemicals?
Kent County operates the SafeChem household hazardous waste collection program. Products like motor oil, gasoline, pesticides, cleaners, pool chemicals, oil-based paints and other products that are toxic or hazardous should not be put in your trash or discarded down the drain. Drop off these products (in their original container, when possible) at the SafeChem locations. Check with each location to see what hours it will be open.
Do you collect chemicals on the weekend?
During the spring, summer and fall Kent County and host locations offer SafeChem collections on Saturdays. Find out when the Saturday collections are scheduled near you.
How do I get rid of Fluorescent light bulbs?
Check out our waste guide to see if there are any locations listed for recycling or disposing of this item!
How do I get rid of old paints or stains?

All paints, stains, and lacquers, EXCEPT LATEX PAINT, can go to one of our SafeChem Drop-Off locations for free as a Kent County resident.

If you do have Latex Paint that you no longer need or is old, check out our latex paint guide for information on how to donate or dispose of Latex Paint.

What do I do with old batteries?
Check out our waste guide to see if there are any locations listed for recycling or disposing of this item!
How should I dispose of old medications and syringes?
Kent County administers the SafeSharps and SafeMeds (formerly West Michigan Take Back Meds) programs to help residents safely dispose of their home-generated needles and medications instead of putting them in the trash or down the drain where they could injure someone or harm the environment. Check for locations to drop off needles and medications around West Michigan.

Miscellaneous Questions

I need records for sewer/water mains or septic...can you help?

Kent County Department of Public Works implements sustainable materials management strategies to reduce dependency on landfill disposal through a variety of waste facilities — we do not manage sewer/water mains or septic systems.

For ​Sewer or Water Main Records

  • If you live in a City, you’ll need to contact that specific city for public sewer and water main records.  
  • If you live in a township, records for public sewer and water vary:
    • Byron & Gaines Townships
    • Plainfield, Cannon, Courtland, or Alpine Townships
      • Sewer records can be found through the North Kent Sewer Authority  
      • Public Water records can found by contacting your individual Township
      • Note: Not all of these townships have public water – instead you may have well water
    • Ada, Algoma, Caledonia, Cascade, Grand Rapids Twp, Grattan, Lowell, Nelson, Oakfield, Sparta, Spencer, Solon, Tyrone, Vergennes Townships
      • Public Water or Sewer records can be found through your Township 

Well or Septic Records

How Do I Dispose of:

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