NOTICE 4/5/2024 @ 7:30am:  North Kent Waste & Recycling Center is in the final stretch of its expansion construction. Our recycling drop-off stations at this site have been temporarily moved — click here for the details. Stay tuned here on our website or our social media for updates!

Beyond the Bin: Exploring Kent County’s new recycling and waste website – WOODTV 8

May 1, 2024

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Department of Public Works is hoping to get residents to start thinking “beyond the bin” when it comes to recycling.

The department is working on making it easier to find out vital information regarding recycling and overall trash disposal. Workers for the department know that it can be confusing for residents to know exactly what can and can’t be put in their recycling bins.

“When we say, ‘beyond the bin,’ a lot of a lot of people focus on recycling as just that curbside cart or what can go at one of our drop-offs. But there’s so much more that’s entering our landfills that could be diverted if we think beyond just that recycling cart,” Katelyn Kikstra, a waste reduction educator for the county, said. “So when we say something’s not recyclable in your recycling cart, that doesn’t mean it’s not recyclable. Overall, it means that we just have to go that extra step into finding out where it can be reused.”

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The goal isn’t just to remind people to keep plastics and paper items separate from the rest of the garbage, but also to show them that other items can be recycled and encourage them help DPW keep those items out of landfills.

“Once it comes to landfill, all commingled. It’s really difficult to untangle that ball of yarn. We want folks to feel empowered knowing where they can take different things,” Kikstra said.

The department’s website has undergone a redesign to make it easier to find answers to questions. There are even links with photos of specific types of trash that are commonly disposed of incorrectly, like plastic bags and even fruit and vegetable scraps.

The department hopes that a visit to the website is just the beginning.

“That whole idea is that when people have the opportunity to really know more about the waste that they’re producing and the places that it goes, then they have that empowerment to make more decisions about where it goes,” Micah Herrboldt, a waste educator with DPW said.

“We want people to really understand what happens to their bin after it leaves their curbside and we want them to feel empowered that they are actually making an impact,” Kikstra said.

Click here to explore the website. If you want to learn more in person, you can venture to the Recycling and Education Center on Wealthy Street SW west of Straight Avenue on Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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