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Accepted Material

Only the materials listed below are accepted at Kent County’s Recycling & Education Center.

Recyclables are not garbage; they are resources that we can make into new products through a series of processes.

What you can and can’t put in your curbside recycling bin depends on which sorting and processing facility (recycling center) your hauler brings your recycling to. Ask your recycling hauler where they take your recyclables to be sorted; if they say Kent County Recycling Center, you can find our Recycling Guidelines as well as additional info on how to recycle each material type below.

All recyclables should be EMPTY, CLEAN, & LOOSE — free of food, liquids, and residue; not bagged or bundled.

Single-Stream Recycling

Recycle these items in your curbside bin or at our single-stream recycling drop-off stations.

Looking to recycle or dispose of something else?

Do your part to help reduce landfilled waste! Check out our disposal guide to learn how to properly recycle and dispose of other common household items like plastic bags, electronics, and hazardous waste.

Recycling Questions

How can I recycle in Kent County?

Recycling is available through a variety of options:

  • Curbside recycling pick-up by haulers or your municipality
    • To sign up for curbside recycling, contact the waste hauler you have chosen for your curbside trash and ask to sign up for curbside recycling.
    • Most haulers offer this service and most of Kent County residents are able to receive this service.
    • Please verify with your waste hauler where your recycling goes to be sorted and processed (Kent County or another recycling center in the area), to determine what recyclables you can put in your curbside bin.
  • Kent County Drop-off Recycling Stations
    • Recycling drop-off stations are available to residents who do not have access to curbside recycling where they live. No businesses, schools, or farms.
    • Before making the trip to a drop-off station, check out our list of what’s acceptable for recycling. Leaving anything outside the recycling containers or putting anything inside that isn’t accepted is considered illegal dumping.
What is the cost to recycle at the recycling drop-off stations?

Currently, the Kent County Recycling Drop-Off Stations in Grand Rapids and Rockford are free for residents to use.

Recycling drop-off stations are available to people who do not have access to recycling where they live. Before heading out to one, check out our list of what’s acceptable for recycling. Leaving anything outside the containers or putting anything inside that isn’t accepted is considered illegal dumping. 

When does my recycling get picked up?

Kent County operates the processing facilities for waste and recycling but does not provide collection or pick-up services for recycling or trash from residences or businesses. To find out the schedule for your trash or recycling pickup contact the hauler that you have hired for your recycling services.

What materials can go in my recycling bin?
To find out what is and what is not recyclable for your curbside recycling bin, you'll want to contact your waste hauler to ask where your recyclables go to be sorted and processed. All Recycling Centers, or Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), have different types of machines and technology they use to sort recyclables and different downstream processors (papermills, polymer factories, steelmills, etc.) they sell to so it's important to determine where your recycling goes so that you can follow that Recycling Center's guidelines for recycling.

Additionally, Kent County Recycling Center provides sorting and processing for recyclables from 7 of the surrounding counties but just because you live in Kent County doesn't mean that your recyclables come to Kent County Recycling & Education Center to be sorted...the decision is up to your waste hauler and how they establish collection routes so be sure to ask!

If your curbside recyclables are delivered to Kent County Recycling Center or you utilize the Kent County Recycling Drop-Off Stations, you'll want to follow our Recycling Guide for the correct rules on how and what to recycle:

Can I recycle Styrofoam?

Yes, but not in your curbside recycling bin or our drop-off stations!

Styrofoam cups, plates, and packaging are not recyclable at the Kent County Recycling & Education Center so any foam plastics will need to go to special foam-only recycling collection. Search our online waste guide to find locations to drop off foam for recycling.

Where can I recycle shredded paper now that you know longer accept it in the recycling bin?

Shredded paper cannot be placed in your curbside recycling bin or in the recycling containers at our recycling drop-off stations as it will fall between the gaps of our sorting machines at the Recycling Center and contaminate our recycled glass conveyor belt.

However, there are still ways to divert shredded paper from the landfill: check out our Shredded Paper resource page under our Waste & Recycling Directory for what can be done with shredded paper.

How do I recycle old batteries?

Batteries should never go in your recycling bin or recycling drop-off stations as they could cause a fire at the Recycling Center.

Alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury (an EPA mandated manufacturer change since 1996), so your non-rechargeable AA, AAA, C, D, N, & 9-Volt batteries can actually be safely placed in the trash.

All other types of batteries (rechargeable batteries, button batteries, car batteries, lithium-ion or nickel cadmium batteries like drill bit batteries, etc.) should go to one of our SafeChem/Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Collection Sites for free for proper disposal.

Can I recycle plastic bags?

Yes, but not in your curbside recycling bin or our drop-off stations!

Plastic bags, newspaper bags, produce bags, air pillows, bubble wrap, packaging and other flexible or film plastic is not recyclable at the Kent County Recycling & Education Center. Search our online Waste & Recycing Directory to find special collection locations to drop-off film, bags, or soft plastics for recycling.

Do you recycle clothes?

No, clothing and other textiles are not recyclable at the Kent County Recycling & Education Center.

Clothing and textiles are difficult to recycle due to the fact that many of these items are made out of so many unique blends of materials (EX: 70% polyester, 10% nylon, 20% cotton). In fact with the way that many articles of clothing are made today, they would require chemical recycling in order to be recycled in the actual sense instead of donated and used again. Currently, there are no true recyclers of textiles within Michigan.

What many businesses mean when they say they recycle clothing, textiles, or shoes is that they accept gently worn items that will be sold in a second-hand store, used for charity organizations, or sold to developing countries for citizens to reuse---textiles typically aren’t recycled or broken down to their raw form to be made into a new article of clothing. We have a "Clothing & Textiles" resource under our Waste Directory of businesses and organizations within the West Michigan area that do accept clothing and textiles for reuse.

Can I recycle propane tanks?

Yes, but not in your curbside recycling bin or our drop-off stations!  Propane tanks can cause explosions at the Recycling Center if placed in your curbside recycling bin or recycling drop-off stations.

Keep our workers safe by properly disposing of propane and other compressed gas tanks; do NOT place them in your trash or recycling bins

How do I recycle electronics?

We offer free electronics recycling but not through your curbside bin!

Kent County Department of Public Works' has 3 Electronics Recycling Drop-Offs; the Recycling & Education Center, the North Kent Waste and Recycling Center, and the South Kent Waste and Recycling Center.

**CRT devices (such as projection or tube TVs and computer monitors) and appliances containing Freon/refrigerant (dehumidifiers, refrigerators, AC units) cannot be recycled at the Recycling & Education Center but can be accepted at the North or South Kent Waste and Recycling Centers for a fee. Fees for and more information on how to recycle electronics can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works' Disposal Fee Document.

Check out our Waste & Recycling Directory to find additional locations listed for recycling or disposing of your electronics!

Do you take appliances for recycling?

Yes, but not in your curbside bin or at our drop-off stations!

We accept appliances (with and without Freon/refrigerant) at both the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center and South Kent Waste & Recycling Center for recycling for a fee (which can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works' Disposal Fee Document).

All appliances must be emptied -- all contents removed prior to acceptance.

Do you take tires for recycling?

Yes, but not in your recycling bin or our drop-off stations!

We accept tires at both the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center and South Kent Waste & Recycling Center for recycling for a fee (varies on size and type of tire). Fees for and more information on how to recycle tires can be found on Kent County Department of Public Works' Disposal Fee Document.

All tires must be empty and clean prior to acceptance.

How do I recycle old paints or stains?

Do NOT place your paint in your recycling bin or recycling drop-off container. All paints, stains, and lacquers, EXCEPT LATEX PAINT, can go to one of our SafeChem /Household Hazardous Waste collection locations for free as a Kent County resident.

If you do have Latex Paint that you no longer need or is old, check out our latex paint guide for information on how to donate or dispose of Latex Paint.

Where can I recycle a mattress?

Check out our waste guide to see if there are any locations listed for recycling or disposing of this item!

Where does my recycling go after it's sorted? Does it go to the landfill or Waste to Energy Facility?

Kent County Department of Public Works is proud to say that all of the recyclables that we successfully sort and bale at the Kent County recycling & Education Center stays in the Great Lakes Region for downstream processing at a papermill, smelter, or polymer factory.

This keeps the economic benefits of recycling close to home and the environmental impacts of transporting those baled recyclables downstream for processing low while offering reliable outlets/markets for many recyclables that our residents use everyday.

 

 

Can I take recyclables or other materials from the Recycling Center, Recycling Drop-Offs, or Landfill?

Our policy does not permit the removal of any waste items (recyclables, electronics, scrap metal, etc.) once they reach one of our waste management facilities due to safety and liability concerns.

Do you offer tours of the Recycling Center (and other waste facilities)?