Sustainable Business Park
Diverting waste from landfill – creating jobs, driving a regional circular economy, and protecting our land, air, and water
Project Overview | Planning Process | Master Plan | Planning Timeline | Resources | Contact Form
Support the Sustainable Business Park
Is reducing waste and maximizing material recovery important to you or your company? Add your name to the Sustainable Business Park supporters by filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page!
“West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is excited to support Kent County Department of Public Works in its efforts to reduce landfill volumes by 90 percent over the next decade and its plan to develop a Sustainable Business Park to help achieve its goal.”
“Steelcase believes the sustainable business park proposed by Kent County is a better use of allocated land resources than a landfill. The proposed park would provide Steelcase, and other companies, local recycling options to divert more waste materials from landfill.”
On Time Dumpsters
“I own and operate a local dumpster rental company On Time Dumpsters. Reducing waste and maximizing material recovery and recycling is important to my company.”
“We are working to make Rockford a more sustainable community and recycling is a big part of that. By having new markets for recyclable materials, we will all benefit. We support the SBP!”
“We divert post-industrial textile waste from our landfills and upcycle it into products that support jobs in our community. Our work is based in sustainability, the circular economy and caring for the people, planet and creating possibility out of re-purposed fabric.”
“West Michigan is already a national leader in triple bottom line sustainability practices. The Sustainable Business Park will be the next important step in moving toward a circular economic model for the future. My industrial design studio has had sustainable design practice as a core value for 42 years. Eliminating the idea of waste is the ultimate goal. I want to design some innovative, high quality products with the valuable materials collected and processed at the Kent County Sustainable Business park!”
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
“The sustainability park in Dorr Township exemplifies the type of project the Build Ready program is intended for – a collaborative, thoughtful plan that identifies a pathway to the redevelopment of a site, making it ready to compete for site selection projects and generate long-term prosperity for the community.”
“Worthen Industries, Inc has made sustainability a major part of our business management practices and we consider it key to our long term growth. As an energy and materials intensive manufacturing business with operations in Grand Rapids, we support Kent County’s efforts to develop the SBP.”
If you’d like to discuss how this initiative can benefit your organization or to schedule a meeting with your team, contact Dar Baas at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kent County Department of Public Works has set a bold goal to divert 90% of Kent County-generated trash that goes to landfills by 2030. Building a Sustainable Business Park is an essential part of reaching that goal. The last operating landfill in Kent County will reach capacity and close in 2029. Instead of using 250 acres for future landfill, we have a vision to develop a Sustainable Business Park that
- lays the critical infrastructure to support a regional circular economy
- leverage private sector development
- attract businesses to localize the entire recycling or conversion process
- preserve open space
- expand research
- generate and use renewable energy
- begin to close the loop in West Michigan
The concept of the Sustainable Business Park is that it will attract companies that specialize in reclaiming or converting waste materials that might otherwise be dumped into the landfill into usable materials, such as fuel pellets, plastic flake, compost and more. There are opportunities for complementary businesses, startups and entrepreneurs to tap into these reclaimed or converted materials and transform them into new products, including clothing, automotive components or animal feed.
The park has tremendous potential for preserving open space, creating jobs, sparking innovation and new research, generating renewable energy and moving us closer to our goal of reducing landfill waste, which will help conserve natural resources and protect the quality of our water.
We’ve brought together national and local experts to create a plan to make West Michigan a leader in waste recovery.
Kent County DPW engaged local stakeholders, gathered data, conducted site tours, and prioritizing project goals to determine the feasibility of a Sustainable Business Park on 250 acres of land adjacent to the landfill. The Project Master Plan was approved in 2018 and allowed DPW staff to refine what we learned about the necessary improvements, costs, funding sources and a work toward an implementation schedule.
As part of the plan, the DPW is actively working with the business community to attract potential tenants and complementary technologies to minimize the gap between planning and implementation. The first tenant has been recommended and, if approved, would provide secondary and tertiary tenants with feedstock to build circularity within the Park and within West Michigan.
If you are interested in being a tenant of the Sustainable Business Park, please let us know by filling out the contact form below.
Project Master Plan
The FINAL Sustainable Business Park Master Plan was presented to the Kent County Board of Public Works on October 4, 2018 during a regularly scheduled board meeting. The BPW approved the Sustainable Business Park (SBP) Master Plan and authorized the Director to form a business development team to advance proposals for development of the SBP.
- Kent County Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
- Executive Summary of Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
- Appendices A-M, Kent County Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
- Presentation to Board of Public Works (8/2/18)
On November 27, 2018, Kent County presented an overview of the recommendations to a group of interested stakeholders as a conclusion to the master planning phase of the Sustainable Business Park project.
Community members representing a variety of perspectives worked closely with Kent County staff and contractors to provide feedback on the proposed technologies and processes included in the Project Master Plan.
Anchor Tenant Request for Proposals
On September 30, 2020, Kent County received nine (9) responses to a Request for Proposals for the ‘anchor tenant’ at the Sustainable Business Park. The anchor tenant would receive a large fraction of mixed waste currently being delivered to Kent County DPW facilities or leaving the county to area landfills, process the waste to separate the components and begin to move the waste into markets for reuse or recycling.
The request for proposals (RFP) for an anchor tenant was a key step in identifying a company with the proven technology to convert a significant portion of the 654,000 tons of municipal solid waste being landfilled by residents and businesses each year into raw material for new products and kicks off the economic development process to attract additional tenants. With potential tenants at the ready, investments in critical infrastructure are needed to secure this project as the success story for changing how we look at discards – from disposal to development.
Community members representing a variety of perspectives worked closely with Kent County staff and contractors to provide feedback on the proposed technologies and processes included in the Request for Proposals.
At their September 2, 2021 meeting, the Board of Public Works received the recommendation for an anchor tenant at the Sustainable Business Park. At their October 7, 2021 meeting, the Board of Public Works voted to authorize the DPW director to negotiate terms of a Project Development Agreement (PDA) with Kent County Bioenergy Facility, LLC. This PDA defines the respective roles and responsibilities under which Kent County DPW and the anchor tenant would jointly continue to develop, design, permit, equip and maintain the proposed facility and related infrastructure – including schedule, development of the site plan, project capital costs and financing. It would also contain provisions for default, termination and termination payment should either party choose to terminate the PDA.
At their March 3, 2022 meeting, the Board of Public Works approved the PDA with Kent County Bioenergy Facility which is led by Anaergia, a global leader in resource recovery and anaerobic digestion. Simultaneously, a Sustainable Business Park Stakeholder Advisory Group, made up of local municipal and industry leadership, was initiated to walk alongside the PDA process and provide input, feedback and recommendations on a countywide waste solution.
- Recommendation for Anchor Tenant at Sustainable Business Park (ppt) – August 2021
- Community Perception Survey on Landfill Alternatives – August 2021
- Introduction to CM+A (ppt) – November 2021
- Board of Public Works Work Session: Project Development Agreement (video) – January 2022
- Board of Public Works Work Session: Project Development Agreement (ppt) – January 2022
- Board of Public Works Action Request – Project Development Agreement – March 3, 2022
- Project Update for Area Waste Haulers (Sept. 7, 2022)
Watch videos on similar Anaergia projects:
Part of the innovative public-private partnerships taking shape at the Sustainable Business Park require infrastructure improvements to enable tenants to chart a timeline for their investment in West Michigan’s new approach to disposal. Initial support from Michigan Economic Development Corporation enabled Kent County to bring the 250-acre property closer to “shovel-ready” status by evaluating its unique assets, development potential, and proximity to existing utilities. Infrastructure investments still necessary to prepare the site for development include water, sewer, electric, gas, stormwater and roads. By leveraging external funding opportunities, the local dollars utilized will be exponentially and extensively invested for the benefit of West Michigan.
2017-2023 Planning Timeline
- September 2017 Master Plan Kickoff
- November 2017 Stakeholder Meetings
- March 2018 Release Request for Information (RFI)
- May through July 2018 RFI Review & Master Plan Development
- October 2018 Master Plan Approval Process
- November 2018 Stakeholder Meeting
- Winter 2018/19 Business Development Team Kickoff
- 2019 Evaluation of Potential Anchor Tenants
- June 2020 Release Request for Proposals (RFP) for Anchor Tenant(s)
- September 2020 – Spring 2021 RFP Response Review & Evaluation
- October 2021 Recommendation for Anchor Tenant(s) Project Development Agreement (PDA) negotiations
- March 2022 BPW Approves Anchor Tenant PDA with Continuus Materials + Anaergia (Kent County Bioenergy Facility)
- March-December 2022 PDA Implementation & Stakeholder Engagement
- Q2/Q3 2023Finalize Financing and Service Agreement
Resources to Learn More
- EPA Sustainable Materials Management
- EPA Sustainable Materials Management Strategic Plan
- US Chamber of Commerce Foundation – Circular Economy and Sustainability
- Ellen MacArthur Foundation – What is the Circular Economy?
- Kent County, Michigan’s Landfill Reduction Plan
- Municipal Solid Waste Characterization Study, 2022
- Michigan MSW Characterization and Valuation, 2016
- Kent County Waste-to-Energy Facility Solid Waste Characterization Study, 2017
- Review of Opportunities for Zero Waste to Landfill for Industries 2015
- Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Annual Reports of Solid Waste Landfilled in Michigan
- West Michigan Recycling & Landfill Diversion Survey Survey Report 2020
- Status of Organic Waste Management in Western Michigan 2021
- Kent County EPIC-MRA Survey Overview 2021
Master Planning Reference Material
- 75 percent of Kent County trash could be recycled study finds (MLIVE)
- No need for new landfill findings support Kent County's future plans (WOODTV)
- Continuus Materials, Anaergia to anchor business park (Recycling Today)
- Study: 465k tons of Kent County waste could be recycled (GRBJ)
- Waste to Energy Reuse Facilty for Kent County gets board OK (WOODTV)
- Anaergia signs PDA to develop MRF project, produce RNG (Bioenergy News)
- It's time america stopped throwing out food waste (Governing)
- Treasure in trash: Kent County's $350M plan to turn waste into a new industry (WOOD)
- Kent and Allegan Counties Sustainable Business Park becoming a reality securing anchor tenants (WGVU)
- After $4 million appropriation, state official tours site of Kent County Sustainable Business Park (WKTV)
- Kent County identifies main tenant for landfill diversion business park (MLive)
- Continuus Materials, Anaergia identified as potential anchor tenants of Kent County's sustainable business park (Waste Today)
- West Michigan one step closer to 90% trash reuse (GRBJ)
- MEDC helps bring 10 sites across Michigan closer to "shovel ready" status (MEDC)
- DPW Draws Global Interest for business park (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- County issues RFP for future sustainable business park tenant (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- Kent County, Michigan, requests proposals to help achieve landfill diversion goals (Waste Today)
- Closing the Material Loop - How Innovators from the Public and Private Sector are Creating Value from Waste
- Partners envision park plan (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- Partnership hopes to convert portion of landfill into sustainable business park (WGVU)
- Kent County, Michigan, moves forward with sustainable business park plan (Waste Today)
- Kent County enlists The Right Place to help develop Sustainable Business Park (MLive)
- Kent County, The Right Place partner on sustainable business park (MiBiz)
- Creating an Industrial Ecosystem (MSW Management)
- Kent County DPW discusses details of the Sustainable Business Park Master Plan (WKTV In Focus)
- Kent DPW approves $500M trash reuse project (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- County board should be encouraged to find agreement on committing to sustainable business park instead of landfills (Grand Rapids Business Journal Editorial)
- Kent trash reuse project worth $500M (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- 23 respond to Kent County's call for 'sustainable' garbage proposals (MLive)
- Firms probe Kent County on request for garbage-fueled innovations (MLive)
- Kent County releases RFI for Sustainable Business Park (MiBiz)
- Turning trash into money is going to take a community effort (Rapid Growth Media)
- County eyes 90 percent waste reduction (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
- West Michigan’s construction industry grapples with diverting waste from landfills (MiBiz)
- KCDPW: Sustainable Business Park at Byron Center Landfill Could Be 'Long Term Solution' (WGVU)
- Sustainable Business Park Planned in Shadow of Kent County Landfill (Reclamation Administration)
- Kent County Public Works Staff to Meet with Community About Plan to Reduce Waste (Michigan Radio)
- Sustainable Business Park Planned in Shadow of Kent County Landfill (MLive)
- GBB to Develop Master Plan for Kent County, Mich’s Resource Park
SBP Newsletter (updates are now part of our General Newsletter)
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