Food Waste

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.

Donate or Reuse
Compost
Recycling
Special Collection Recycling
Proper Disposal
Trash

Food waste can be repurposed several ways, including acts of donation or reuse such as:

  • Giving away edible food from event catering or home cooking to friends, family, neighbors, shelters, or food banks/pantries.
  • Making stock or broth from your veggie scraps and bones (save them up in a container in your freezer).
  • Supplement the diet of your chickens (or other livestock or pets) with fruit and veggie scraps. Always check with a veterinary professional as to what types of food items are safe for your animal.
  • Using peels to dye fabric for a craft project
  • Stale bread can become croutons or breadcrumbs, coffee grounds and stale sugar can become a body scrub, eggshells can be a garden bed or fertilizer amendment.

Browse the Community Disposal Outlets below for any places that accept compost or food waste for reuse or donations.

Most food waste is compostable HOWEVER the type of compost system you have –vermicompost, backyard compost, windrow compost, anaerobic digestion, etc.– will determine what you food waste items you can ultimately put in your compost.

For example, fruit and veggies peels and scraps + egg shells + coffee grounds 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 drop-off or curbside compost services currently offered in the West Michigan area.

Food waste 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 food waste.

Food waste is not hazardous.

While food waste can technically be landfilled, we should avoid putting food waste and other organics waste (yard waste or compostable packaging and products) 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, food waste 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.

Food waste can be landfilled either in your trash bin with general refuse or brought to one of our disposal facilities:

Community Resources

Below you will find businesses and community outlets that may accept this item/material.

Cocoa Corp
A-4368 60th St.
Holland, MI 49423
855-933-2020

Accepts a wide-variety of organic business waste for commercial composting.

Learn More

Good Sweet Earth
616-594-0693

Offers food scrap waste pick-up for residents of Kent and Ottawa Counties from May through October.

Learn More

Kent County MSU Extension Office
775 Ball Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-632-7865

Does not accept residential yard waste or compost.  Provides resources and information on composting, fertiilizers, soil testing, mowing, and mulching.

Learn More

New Soil
1296 Chicago Dr.
Jenison, MI 49428
616-748-1955

Accepts organic business waste for commercial composting.

Learn More

Organicycle
5721 Division Ave South. Suite B
Wyoming, MI 49548
616-855-3377

Accepts most organic waste for commercial composting.

Learn More

Phoenix Resources
10309 Morse Lake Avenue
Alto, MI 49302
616-891-9110

Accepts unpainted gypsum wallboard scrap from new construction. Also accepts any organic material, brush, leaves, food waste and compostable paper. Fees may apply.

Wormies Vermicompost
616-322-1677

Offers a weekly or every two week food scrap waste pick-up for residents and businesses of the Kent County area as well as sales of their premium worm compost for farm and garden use. Consulting for on-site composting systems and composting education. Also accepts untreated woodchips by appointment only. Open year round.

Please visit their website for more information on accepted compostables, pick-up service details, and cost.

Learn More

Related Materials