GRAND RAPIDS, MICH (3/7/19): The Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW) and The Right Place, Inc. have announced a multi-year strategic partnership for the planning and development of the Kent County Sustainable Business Park.
Under the terms of the three-year agreement, The Right Place will support the planning and development of the Kent County Sustainable Business Park through business development and infrastructure planning efforts. The Right Place will also assist the county with managing community partnerships and identifying new sources of funding for the Sustainable Business Park.
In October 2018, the Kent County Board of Public Works (BPW) approved the Sustainable Business Park Master Plan for 250 acres adjacent to the South Kent Landfill in Byron Center. This plan was created by local and national experts and includes recommendations on how Kent County can transition from a reliance upon disposal of trash in landfills toward a sustainable materials management system where waste materials are either reused in new production processes or products, recovered, or converted into renewable energy.

Kent County DPW processes over 1 billion pounds of waste each year and estimates 75 percent of that waste could be reused, recycled, or converted. The Sustainable Business Park could generate $500 million in direct private sector capital investment and 150 jobs could be created by processing and waste sorting alone. As part of the master plan approval, BPW authorized DPW to form a business development team to implement the plan, which includes The Right Place.
“The Sustainable Business Park will significantly reduce the amount of trash going into landfills and attract investment from companies that can convert waste into usable products,” said Dar Baas, director of the Kent County DPW. “The Sustainable Business Park is part of our community’s vision for a Circular Economy and our partnership with The Right Place will help attract businesses, technology developers, startups and non-profits from across the country that align with the Sustainable Business Park’s goals.”
As part of DPW’s Reimagine Trash strategic vision, there is a goal to reduce Kent County-generated municipal, commercial, and industrial solid waste going to landfills by 90 percent by 2030. The development of the Kent County Sustainable Business Park is critical to reaching that goal.

“The Sustainable Business Park has the potential to generate investment and create jobs in West Michigan, while serving as a national model of what communities can achieve with a practical, innovative approach towards recycling and upcycling,” said Birgit M. Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “We look forward to partnering with Kent County Department of Public Works to bring the Sustainable Business Park to life.”