Sustainable Business Park
Reimagine Trash… as a resource, as a feedstock, as an opportunity.
Support the Sustainable Business Park
Is reducing waste and maximizing material recovery important to you or your company? Add your name to the Sustainable Business Park supporters by filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page!
“West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is excited to support Kent County Department of Public Works in its efforts to reduce landfill volumes by 90 percent over the next decade and its plan to develop a Sustainable Business Park to help achieve its goal.”
“Steelcase believes the sustainable business park proposed by Kent County is a better use of allocated land resources than a landfill. The proposed park would provide Steelcase, and other companies, local recycling options to divert more waste materials from landfill.”
On Time Dumpsters
“I own and operate a local dumpster rental company On Time Dumpsters. Reducing waste and maximizing material recovery and recycling is important to my company.”
“We are working to make Rockford a more sustainable community and recycling is a big part of that. By having new markets for recyclable materials, we will all benefit. We support the SBP!”
“We divert post-industrial textile waste from our landfills and upcycle it into products that support jobs in our community. Our work is based in sustainability, the circular economy and caring for the people, planet and creating possibility out of re-purposed fabric.”
“West Michigan is already a national leader in triple bottom line sustainability practices. The Sustainable Business Park will be the next important step in moving toward a circular economic model for the future. My industrial design studio has had sustainable design practice as a core value for 42 years. Eliminating the idea of waste is the ultimate goal. I want to design some innovative, high quality products with the valuable materials collected and processed at the Kent County Sustainable Business park!”
If you’d like to discuss how this initiative can benefit your organization or to schedule a meeting with your team, contact Kristen Wieland at Kristen.Wieland@KentCountyMI.gov
The Kent County Department of Public Works has set a bold goal to divert 90% of Kent County-generated trash that goes to landfills by 2030. Building a Sustainable Business Park is an essential part of reaching that goal. Instead of using the 250 acres for future landfill, we can develop a Sustainable Business Park that
- lays the critical infrastructure to support a regional circular economy
- leverage private sector development
- attract businesses to localize the entire recycling or conversion process
- preserve open space
- expand research
- generate and use renewable energy
- begin to close the loop in West Michigan
The Sustainable Business Park will attract companies that specialize in reclaiming or converting waste materials that might otherwise be dumped into the landfill into usable materials, such as fuel pellets, plastic flake, compost and more. There are opportunities for complementary businesses, startups and entrepreneurs to tap into these reclaimed or converted materials and transform them into new products, including clothing, automotive components or animal feed.
The park has tremendous potential for preserving open space, creating jobs, research, generating renewable energy and moving us closer to our goal of reducing landfill waste, which will help conserve natural resources and protect the quality of our water.
The Kent County Department of Public Works is bringing together national and local experts to create a plan for a sustainable business park to make West Michigan a leader in waste recovery.
Kent County DPW is engaging local stakeholders, gathering data and prioritizing project goals to determine the feasibility of a Sustainable Business Park on 250 acres of land adjacent to the landfill. The Master Plan has been approved (see below) and will allow DPW staff to refine what we learned about the necessary improvements, costs, funding sources and a work toward an implementation schedule.
As part of the plan, the DPW is actively working with the business community to attract potential tenants and complementary technologies to minimize the gap between planning and implementation.
If you are interested in being a tenant of the Sustainable Business Park, please let us know by filling out the contact form below.
Project Master Plan
The FINAL Sustainable Business Park Master Plan was presented to the Kent County Board of Public Works on October 4, 2018 during a regularly scheduled board meeting. The BPW approved the Sustainable Business Park (SBP) Master PLan and authorized the Director to form a business development team to advance proposals for development of the SBP.
- Kent County Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
- Executive Summary of Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
- Appendices A-M, Kent County Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
The DRAFT Sustainable Business Park Master Plan was presented to the Kent County Board of Public Works on August 2, 2018 during a regularly scheduled board meeting.
- DRAFT Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
- DRAFT Sustainable Business Park Master Plan appendices A-M
- Presentation to Board of Public Works (8/2/18)
On November 27, 2018, Kent County presented an overview of the recommendations to a group of interested stakeholders as a conclusion to the master planning phase of the Sustainable Business Park project.
If you are interested in being considered as a tenant of the Sustainable Business Park or if you have potential inputs or are interested in using potential outputs from the Park, please provide your contact information in the Contact Form below.
Master Plan Review Committee
Community members representing a variety of perspectives are working closely with Kent County staff and contractors to provide feedback on the proposed technologies and processes included in the Project Master Plan.
Dick VanderMolen – Chair
Bill Stough, Representing Manufacturers
John VanTholen, Representing Waste Haulers
Rick Chapla, Representing Economic Development interests
Katie Venechuk, Representing State Government
Kari Bliss, Representing Local Business
Bill Wood, Representing Environmental Interests
Steve Achram, Representing Building and Construction industry
Doug LaFave, Municipal Representative (Kent County)
Jeff Miling, municipal representative (Allegan County)
Part of the innovative public-private partnerships taking shape at the Sustainable Business Park require infrastructure improvements to enable tenants to chart a timeline for their investment in West Michigan’s new approach to disposal. Initial support from Michigan Economic Development Corporation enabled Kent County to bring the 250-acre property closer to “shovel-ready” status by evaluating its unique assets, development potential and proximity to existing utilities. Infrastructure investments still necessary to prepare the site for development include water, sewer, electric, gas, stormwater and roads. By leveraging external funding opportunities, the local dollars utilized will be exponentially and extensively invested for the benefit of West Michigan.
The request for proposals (RFP) for an anchor tenant is a key step in identifying a company with the proven technology to convert a significant portion of the 2.1 million cubic yards of waste landfilled by residents and businesses each year into raw material for new products and kicks off the economic development process to attract additional tenants. With potential tenants at the ready, investments in critical infrastructure are needed to secure this project as the success story for changing how we look at discards – from disposal to development.
As of May 2020, preliminary cost estimates show the total infrastructure improvements for the 250 acre property at approximately $17.5 million. Read more here.
2017-2021 Planning Timeline
- September 2017 Master Plan Kickoff
- November 2017 Stakeholder Meetings
- March 2018 Release Request for Information (RFI)
- May through July 2018 RFI Review & Master Plan Development
- October 2018 Master Plan Approval Process
- November 2018 Stakeholder Meeting
- Winter 2018/19 Business Development Team Kickoff
- 2019 Evaluation of Potential Anchor Tenants
- June 2020 Release Request for Proposals (RFP) for Anchor Tenant(s)
- September through November 2020 RFP Response Review
- December 2020 Notify RFP Respondents of Next Steps
- EPA Sustainable Materials Management
- EPA Sustainable Materials Management Strategic Plan
- US Chamber of Commerce Foundation – Circular Economy and Sustainability
- Ellen MacArthur Foundation – What is the Circular Economy?
- Kent County, Michigan’s Landfill Reduction Plan
- Michigan MSW Characterization and Valuation 2016
- Kent County Waste-to-Energy Facility Solid Waste Characterization Study 2017
- Review of Opportunities for Zero Waste to Landfill for Industries 2015
- Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Annual Reports of Solid Waste Landfilled in Michigan
- West Michigan Recycling & Landfill Diversion Survey Survey Report 2020
Master Planning Reference Material
- County issues RFP for future sustainable business park tenant (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- Kent County, Michigan, requests proposals to help achieve landfill diversion goals (Waste Today)
- Closing the Material Loop - How Innovators from the Public and Private Sector are Creating Value from Waste
- Partners envision park plan (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- Partnership hopes to convert portion of landfill into sustainable business park (WGVU)
- Kent County, Michigan, moves forward with sustainable business park plan (Waste Today)
- Kent County enlists The Right Place to help develop Sustainable Business Park (MLive)
- Kent County, The Right Place partner on sustainable business park (MiBiz)
- Creating an Industrial Ecosystem (MSW Management)
- Kent County DPW discusses details of the Sustainable Business Park Master Plan (WKTV In Focus)
- Kent DPW approves $500M trash reuse project (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- County board should be encouraged to find agreement on committing to sustainable business park instead of landfills (Grand Rapids Business Journal Editorial)
- Kent trash reuse project worth $500M (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- 23 respond to Kent County's call for 'sustainable' garbage proposals (MLive)
- Firms probe Kent County on request for garbage-fueled innovations (MLive)
- Kent County releases RFI for Sustainable Business Park (MiBiz)
- Turning trash into money is going to take a community effort (Rapid Growth Media)
- County eyes 90 percent waste reduction (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- West Michigan’s construction industry grapples with diverting waste from landfills (MiBiz)
- KCDPW: Sustainable Business Park at Byron Center Landfill Could Be 'Long Term Solution' (WGVU)
- Sustainable Business Park Planned in Shadow of Kent County Landfill (Reclamation Administration)
- Kent County Public Works Staff to Meet with Community About Plan to Reduce Waste (Michigan Radio)
- Sustainable Business Park Planned in Shadow of Kent County Landfill (MLive)
- GBB to Develop Master Plan for Kent County, Mich’s Resource Park