Kent County, Michigan, requests proposals to help achieve landfill diversion goals

The request for proposals aims to identify innovative companies with proven track records who use technology to divert and process waste which is currently sent to landfills in West Michigan.

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The Kent County Department of Public Works (DWP) announced it has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for an anchor tenant at the future Sustainable Business Park, which is planned for 250 acres adjacent to the South Kent Landfill in Byron Center, Michigan.

The request is the next step in implementing the Sustainable Business Park Master Plan, which was approved in the fall of 2018, and solidifying its progress toward reclaiming or converting a significant portion of the 2.1 million cubic yards of waste landfilled by residents and businesses in Kent County each year.

DPW has been working closely with its advisory team including The Right Place Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan; Fishbeck, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Gershman, Bricker & Bratton, Inc. (GBB), McLean, Virginia; Sustainable Research Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, East Lansing, Michigan.

“We are seeking a company that has demonstrated they can handle this volume of waste and  be part of a public-private partnership with the Kent County Department of Public Works to assist in our goal of diverting 90 percent of trash from the South Kent Landfill by 2030,” said Emily Brieve, chair of the Kent County Board of Public Works. “We’ve issued the Request for Proposals and anticipate receiving responses from companies across the country and globe that have proven they can help us solve the problem of mounting volumes of trash. Landfills are not the legacy I want to leave for my children.”

The objective of the RFP is to identify innovative companies with proven track records who use technology to divert and process waste which is currently sent to landfills in West Michigan. The desired company will have experience with mechanically sorting materials from the mixture of waste currently delivered to landfills, including residential, commercial and industrial solid waste.

Following the mechanical separation process, the sorted plastic, wood, organics and other materials will be further processed into new products or feed stocks, such as engineered fuel, compost, building materials, aggregates and other usable materials. According to the DWP, this is not only better for the environment than landfilling, but it will also spur additional economic development activity and create more jobs.

Kent County Department of Public Works recently completed a site and infrastructure analysis and has developed preliminary cost estimates of $17.5 million and identified potential state and federal funding mechanisms for infrastructure improvements at the 250-acre property such as utilities, roads and preservation of open space. The implementation schedule is dependent on responses to the RFP and review and approval by the Kent County Board of Public Works and Board of Commissioners.

According to an annual report by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), Kent County had a 2 percent increase in the amount of waste buried in landfills over the past year. Kent County DPW processes over 1 billion pounds of waste each year and estimates 75 percent of that waste could be reused, recycled or converted. Currently, only 6-8 percent of total waste is recycled.

The RFP can be accessed online here.