GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Kent County won’t increase its trash and recycling drop-off fees next year.
The notice that rates won’t change in the new year comes after the county at the start of this year set double-digit percentage increases to its dumping fees that drew opposition from a number of area mayors.
Dar Baas, director of the Kent County Department of Public Works, said his department has worked to keep costs low, including cutting expenses and maximizing revenue.
“After a couple years of increasing our disposal fees to compensate for lower recycling commodity prices, capital improvements at the Waste-to-Energy facility, and the general increase in costs to run our facilities, we are able to keep our rates where they are and still provide the services our community expects,” Baas said.
The “tipping fees” that will remain in place next year are:
- $74 per ton at Waste-to-Energy Facility
- $70 per ton for Kent County and $75 per ton for non-Kent County loads at the Recycling and Education Center
- $46.10 per ton at the South Kent Landfill and North Kent Transfer Station
Tipping fees are the price per ton of municipal trash and recyclables dropped off at the Waste-to-Energy Facility, the Recycling and Education Center and county-owned landfills.
Nearly all residential and commercial curbside and dumpster waste generated in the cities of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Grandville and Walker ends up at the Waste-to-Energy county-owned facility. Grand Rapids and other haulers use the recycling center as well.
“The Board of Public Works is committed to evaluating and making decisions on disposal fees that keep our facilities and services running today and into the future,” said Emily Breve, chair of the Kent County Board of Public Works and vice chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners.
“We believe keeping the tipping fees the same for next year provides consistency and stability for waste haulers, and the customers they serve, who are constantly adjusting to increases in fuel costs and staffing.”
The recycling rate hike at the start of this year was to get the county closer to breaking even on the cost of processing recyclables. Recycling commodity prices dropped around 2017 when China stopped importing recyclables from Western countries.
As for the Waste-to-Energy facility tipping increase, DPW officials previously said the rate hike would fund the replacement of some original equipment and other upgrades necessary to keep the facility operational through its 50-year lifespan. The facility is a little more than 30 years old.
Looking ahead, the Kent County DPW plans to seek approval next year for the first phase of the Sustainable Business Park, which includes a mixed waste processor that county officials say will be able to divert up to 60% of municipal solid waste currently disposed of in a landfill.
If approved, the mixed waste processor could be up and running in 2026.
DPW officials say the South Kent Landfill is projected to reach capacity and close in 2029.