GRAND RAPIDS –– The Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW) has taken a step forward in its goal of exiting the landfill business over the next decade.
The county department announced on Monday morning that it’s issued a Request for Information (RFI) to seek “potential tenants and complementary technologies” for a proposed Sustainable Business Park on about 200 acres the DPW owns in Byron Township and Allegan County, adjacent to its South Kent Landfill, as MiBiz has previously reported.
“We set a bold goal of diverting 90 percent of trash from the South Kent Landfill by 2030, and building the Sustainable Business Park is essential to reaching that goal,” Kent County DPW Director Dar Baas said in a statement. “We are sending a Request for Information to organizations, businesses, technology developers, startups and non-profits across the country to inform our Master Plan and continue progress toward our economic and environmental goals and advance our vision for a Circular Economy.”
The RFI seeks to engage potential, interested users about qualifications and present waste processing and conversion technologies.
The deadline to respond is April 26.
The DPW has retained McLean, Va.-based waste management consulting firm Gershman Brickner & Bratton Inc. to lead the RFI and master planning process.
The amount of landfilled materials in Kent County has grown steadily in recent years, according to a January report from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). In 2017, the amount of waste buried in landfills increased from 1.8 million cubic yards in 2016 to 2.1 million cubic yards in 2017. Building a Sustainable Business Park to transition away from landfilling is Kent County DPW’s solution to decreasing the growing amount of solid waste buried in landfills.
Economic developers in the region tout the county’s proposed solution and pivot toward greater sustainability.
“Instead of increasing the amount of trash buried in landfills each year, we should be looking at alternatives to landfilling waste, and the Kent County DPW’s Sustainable Business Park is a step in the right direction toward doing just that,” Rick Chapla, vice president of strategic initiatives at Grand Rapids’ The Right Place Inc., said in a statement. “Rather than sticking with old, outdated practices for waste management, the Kent County DPW is taking a new, innovative approach to economic development in our region and The Right Place looks forward to partnering on this project.”