The Kent County Recycling Center and Kent County Recycling Drop-Off stations will be temporarily closed for replacement of the disc screen equipment used to sort paper from the rest of the mixed recyclables coming from the West Michigan area.

Why are the Recycling Center and Drop-Off Stations temporarily closed?

The Kent County Recycling Center has scheduled upgrades to improve efficiency and quality by replacing the mechanical screens used to sort paper. Renovations at the Recycling center will take place starting Monday, Feb. 24 and are planned to last until Friday, March 13. Recycling Drop-off stations will be closed beginning Saturday, Feb. 22 and will remain through Saturday, March 14, reopening on Monday, March 16th. During this time the facility must be fully shut down and will be unable to process and accept recycling materials, from both curbside and drop-off locations, for processing while new equipment is installed.

The scheduled shutdown is necessary so we can replace the paper screens that separate paper from plastic and metal. The original paper screens have had more than 230,000 tons of recyclables pass over them in their ten years of operation. The new screens will require less daily downtime for maintenance because of the anti-wrap design and help ensure the facility remains a reliable outlet for processing recyclables in West Michigan.

How does the temporary closure affect me?

Both the Grand Rapids and Rockford Recycling Drop-Off Stations will be closed from February 22 through March 14, 2020 and you will not be able to bring recycling to either location.

If you have curbside recycling services, your waste hauler (whichever private company or municipality that collects your recycling) will decide what they will do with any recyclables put out for collection, so it is best to contact your waste hauler to find out their plan. Options for waste haulers could span a range of possibilities: they could take any collected recyclables to the Waste to Energy Facility or the landfill, or to another recycling center if that center has the capacity to take more recyclables HOWEVER each waste hauler is making their own choice on where to go during the outage.

Residents are welcome to hold their recyclables until the outage is over but we know that this may not be the best option if space is limited (EX: apartment tenants). So we’re encouraging residents to plan ahead by utilizing their curbside service and recycling station drop-offs as much as possible up until February 22nd to free up space if they plan to hold their recyclables and to seek out other outlets for some of the material (EX: PaperGator) during the outage if necessary.

We understand the outage is inconvenient; residents are welcome to hold their recycling until the outage is over or ask their waste hauler for guidance.

When are the Recycling Center and Drop-Off Stations expected to re-open?

The Kent County Recycling Center is expected to reopen and resume normal operations and recycling processing on March 16.

Real-time updates on the progress of the paper disc screen installation will be posted on our Facebook page and website (this page — see “Updates” section below).

For more information on the temporary closure of the Kent County Recycling Center, please reference the press release.


UPDATES
Last updated 3/13/2020       More pictures available on our Facebook page — click here.

  • Leading Up to & During the First Week of the Recycling Center Outage (2/23 – 2/29)

The Recycling Center and Recycling Drop-Off Stations have officially closed as of February 22nd. Our staff continued to sort the pile of recyclables received from curbside services and the drop-off stations through Saturday and Monday until there were no recyclables left to process. Downstream processors (who we sell our recyclables to) assisted in the effort to clear the space by squeezing in a few more shipments of recyclable bales than usual so that there would be ample room for the necessary equipment for replacing the paper disc machines and space for the storage of sections of the sorting line we would need to cut away. Tuesday morning marked the first day of the sorting line not running, as our attentions turned to the disassembly of sections of our sorting line in order to access the old paper disc screens. A significant portion of the glass conveyor belt and the worker walkway next to the paper disc machines needed to be cut away and stored while the project proceeds.

 

  • Second Week of the Recycling Center Outage (3/1 – 3/7)

Access to the paper disc machines was achieved once staff walkway and the glass conveyor belt were removed; disassembly of the paper disc machines was started and finished this week. Additionally, new portions of the staff walkway and the first of two paper disc machines have been partially installed. Power and computer control systems are also being revamped while installations continue as well. Our Recycling Manager says that we remain on track for the remainder of the installation and for resuming recycling operations by mid-March so stay tuned for an official re-open date soon!

  • Third Week of Recycling Center Outage (3/8-3/14)

Our paper disc machine installations were finalized around Wednesday this week but computer programmers and power supply technicians remain onsite. They are finishing up the installation of the power panels and running electrical to the new machines. A test run for the sorting line with the new paper disc machines is scheduled for this weekend to ensure everything is running smoothly and as it should be before we add recyclables to the mix.

Department of Public Works staff continued to do routine maintenance on remaining sorting machines and completed several cleaning and safety projects including but not limited to the replacement of the steel conveyor belt of the baler, buckets in the glass bucket elevator, four worn-out conveyor belts, and repainted all railings and safety points.

Thank you for your patience during the last three weeks of the equipment upgrade at the Kent County Recycling & Education Center. The Recycling & Education Center will remained closed through Saturday, March 14th and reopen on Monday, March 16th, 2020. The Recycling Drop-Off locations in Grand Rapids (Wealthy St.) and Rockford (10 Mile Rd.) will also remain closed through Saturday, March 14th and reopen Monday, March 16th for more information or to see the entire installation process in review, visit our Facebook page.