Grand Rapids, MI – A new report sponsored by the Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW) details the status of organic waste management in West Michigan and explores future strategies to manage organic materials – the largest single category of material in municipal solid waste in Kent County.
The “Status of Organic Waste Management in West Michigan” report includes several findings about organic waste management in the region, including a lack of collection and processing capacity for food waste. The report comes after the DPW set a goal to reduce waste going to landfills and the State of Michigan updates its solid waste regulations.
“Organic materials such as uneaten food, scraps from meal preparation, and yard waste that was inadvertently placed in the trash comprise approximately one-third of what’s taken to Kent County’s South Kent Landfill and Waste-to-Energy facility each year,” said Dar Baas, director of Kent County Department of Public Works. “Food waste is consistently the largest single component of all organics sent to our facilities. To meet our goals of reducing waste going to landfill, we must take a more active role in organic waste management within our community.”
The report provides a historical overview of local organic waste collectors and processors as well as a snapshot and summary of registered compost operations in western Michigan. The report also highlights the benefits of managing organic materials, including the reduction of greenhouse gas, the economic value of creating a product useful in agriculture or as a source of energy and preserving capacity in landfills for material that can’t be repurposed.
“There is a growing public interest and demand from residents and businesses for food waste collection,” said Todd Wilson, owner of Perfect Circle Recycling. “Service providers, like Perfect Circle, are well positioned to grow the collection of organic materials from grocers, restaurants and schools but we must have somewhere locally to process them to meet the growing demand.”
The report comes after Governor Whitmer signed a state budget for the new fiscal year that includes $4 million for infrastructure improvements toward the development of a Sustainable Business Park. The DPW is solidifying its progress toward reclaiming or converting a significant
portion of waste landfilled by residents and businesses in Kent County, including solutions for the volume of organic waste entering DPW facilities each year.
“We are in the final stages of selecting a company that will anchor the Sustainable Business Park that can process the volume of waste necessary to get closer to our goal of diverting 90% of trash from the South Kent Landfill by 2030,” said Dar Baas, director of the Kent County Department of Public Works. “Finding alternative ways of managing organic waste, through composting and other technologies, is an important part of our strategy.”

The full report can be found HERE.