How can Kent County Department of Public Works help?
Explore the waste stream options below for how you can reuse, recycle, compost, or dispose of the item you are trying to get rid of through a KCDPW facility or service.
Reuse does not apply to compostable packaging and products.
Compostable is not the same as biodegradable (read more about the difference here) so please make sure to verify that the product you have is compostable.
While several compostable packaging and products (look for products that are BPI certified or ASTM certified) are truly compostable, their breakdown is dependent on the type of compost system you have. Whether you have vermicompost, backyard compost, windrow compost, anaerobic digestion, etc.– will ultimately determine what compostable packaging and products you can (if any) put in your compost.
For example, soiled paper napkins, dirty pizza boxes, fruit and veggies peels and scraps + eggshells + coffee grounds and filters can usually be broken down by most compost systems. But meat, dairy, oil, bioplastic, compostable food packaging and utensils, or feces require hotter composting processes, like those found in windrow and anaerobic digestion, to breakdown the bacteria that could have detrimental impacts to public or environmental health.
Currently, Kent County Department of Public Works does not have any food waste processing facilities or services.
Please browse the Community Disposal Outlets below for compost services currently offered in the West Michigan area. Each service can give guidelines for what can and cannot be composted under their specific process.
Compostable packaging and products of any type should NOT go in your curbside single-stream recycling cart.
This type of waste will contaminate recyclables and put them at risk of not being recycled.
Special Collection Recycling does not apply to compostable packaging.
Compostable packaging and products are not hazardous.
While compostable packaging can technically be landfilled, we should avoid putting compostable packaging and products as well as other organic waste (yard waste or food waste) in our trash. This is because the anaerobic environment of buried food and other organic waste in landfills leads to production of methane, a odorless and colorless greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere (it is 28 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere).
Instead, compostable packaging and other organic waste should be reduced, reused, composted, or anaerobically digested (in that order) as much as possible to have the best impact on public health and the environment. See the Food Waste Hierarchy for more details.
Compostable packaging can be landfilled either in your trash bin with general refuse or brought to one of our disposal facilities:
Below you will find businesses and community outlets that may accept this item/material.