Who We Are
The Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW) is a team of approximately fifty staff that have a wide-range of responsibilities; from every day operations at our recycling center and disposal sites to ensuring environmental compliance as we monitor retired landfills and PFAs contamination to the safe and responsible disposal of household hazardous waste, to education and outreach work so that residents can participate in the County’s collective landfill diversion efforts.
As an enterprise fund (we do not receive tax payer support) established by the Kent County Board of Commissioners, we provide sustainable materials management/solid waste management services to Kent County residents. The DPW is considered an agency of the County under the general control of the Kent County Board of Commissioners and under the immediate control of the Board of Public Works.
What We Do
While we do not provide the curbside collection of recycling and trash, our role is to provide, operate, and maintain the sites where trash and recycling haulers and residents/businesses that self-haul deliver those waste streams to.
For garbage produced by the six metro cities of Kent County, the journey is quite linear: it is delivered to the Waste to Energy Facility to be incinerated into inert ash. Municipal solid waste (MSW) from outside the urban core as well as out of county can be delivered to the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center so it can be transferred to the landfill or directly unloaded at the South Kent Waste & Recycling Center to be buried in the landfill. Mixed or single-stream recyclables headed to Kent County Recycling & Education Center are sorted by material type and then baled as they await transport to downstream processors in the Great Lakes region to be cleaned, broken down, processed, and manufactured into new post-consumer products.
Additionally, we either directly provide additional types of waste stream recycling or disposal at some of our facilities or indirectly by providing awareness of resources and outlets that exist locally in our community. We have a total of 5 facilities with a couple satellite service locations that provide a range of waste services to Kent County residents and businesses; be sure to explore the ‘Facilities’ menu tab above to find what services are offered at each site.
Mission, Vision, & Values
Adopted by the Board of Public Works on August 6, 2015
Foster collaborative and innovative solutions that deliver value to our stakeholders by managing discarded materials to conserve natural resources and promote a healthy, vibrant and sustainable community.
Implement sustainable materials management strategies to reduce dependency on landfill disposal.
- Employees are our most valuable resource and essential in delivering our mission.
- Visitors, customers and employees will receive prompt, courteous service that exceeds expectations.
- We will be innovative in our thinking, thoughtful in our planning and efficient in our execution.
- Community leadership, transparency and public-private partnerships drive our business decisions.
- We are committed to fostering a culture that embraces diversity, inclusion and equity. We believe that our unique differences enrich and empower the lives of all and we will work collaboratively to achieve common goals.
- We will not compromise on safety or environmental compliance.
- We consider today’s actions for tomorrow’s benefit.
- Develop and implement a strategy for sustainable solid waste management, processing, and recycling services
- Budget and operate without the use of Kent County General Fund support
- Participate in the economic development and planning efforts of the region
- Implement approved Solid Waste Management Plan goals and objectives that include expanded solid waste recovery prior to disposal in recycling
services and systems
- Expand South Kent Landfill capacity with initial priority on ash monofill requirements;
- Explore the most economical avenue to expand the hours of operation at the Recycling and Education Center
- Provide clean energy through the production of electricity at the Waste-to-Energy Facility and the South Kent Landfill Gas-to- Energy plant
- Install a landfill gas collection system at the Kentwood Landfill.
- Ensure availability of long-term disposal services and transfer capacity for Kent County residents
- Operate disposal and transfer facilities in compliance with license and permits
- Accept and process increased curb side recycling tonnage at the Recycling Education Center
- Expand participation through a comprehensive educational and advertising program. (HHW)
- Process 26,000 tons in the new single stream recycling facility
- Accept all solid waste delivered and process solid waste for energy recovery or transfer in a cost effective and environmentally responsible manner
- Maintain Clean Corporate Citizen certification