The Kent County Department of Public Works issued a request for proposals for an anchor tenant at its future sustainable business park.
The RFP is the next step in implementing the Sustainable Business Park Master Plan, which was approved in fall 2018 and intends to reclaim or convert a significant portion of the 2.1 million cubic yards of waste landfilled by residents and businesses in Kent County each year.
The park is planned for 250 acres adjacent to the South Kent Landfill in Byron Center.
“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% of trash from the South Kent Landfill by 2030,” said Emily Brieve, chair of the Kent County Board of Public Works.
The DPW has been working with an advisory team consisting of The Right Place Inc.; Fishbeck; Gershman, Bricker & Bratton Inc.; Sustainable Research Group; and Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications.
The DPW is looking for a company that has 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, organic and other materials will be further processed into new products like engineered fuel, compost, building materials, aggregates and other usable materials.
The DPW recently completed a site and infrastructure analysis and developed preliminary cost estimates of $17.5 million and identified potential state and federal funding mechanisms for infrastructure improvements like utilities, roads and preservation of open space.
According to an annual report by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Kent County had a 2% increase in the amount of waste buried in landfills over the past year. The DPW processes over 1 billion pounds of waste each year and estimates 75% of that waste could be reused, recycled or converted. Currently, only 6-8% of total waste is recycled.
“The Right Place, DPW and GBB spent the past year evaluating waste processing facilities around the country to learn best practices,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place. “These tours highlighted the need to focus on an anchor tenant facility as a first step. This anchor tenant will kick start our landfill diversion efforts and move DPW in the direction of achieving 90% diversion by 2030.”
The RFP specifies the anchor tenant facility must be designed, built, permitted, operated and maintained by the company. Kent County will be a partner in ensuring there is adequate infrastructure, material available to process and will handle residuals that cannot be processed.
RFP respondents must demonstrate they can convert at least 50% of the inbound waste materials.
The deadline for responding to the RFP is 2 p.m. Sept. 9. Questions are due via email by 5 p.m. July 22.
RFP submission details and qualifications requirements are available online.