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