As of Monday, Jan. 3, Grand Rapids-area businesses and residents alike are required to pay a bit more to properly dispose of their waste and recycling. The Kent County Department of Public Works passed an increase of 35% for “tipping fees” last November. What are “tipping fees”? The term refers to the price per ton of municipal trash and recyclables that are brought to Kent County facilities for processing.
Kent County’s Waste to Energy Facility is one of four facilities in Kent County’s integrated solid waste management fleet. In 2020, it marked its 30th year of operation serving Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Walker, Kentwood, Wyoming, and Grandville. As of the end of 2019, there have been more than 5.5 million tons of refuse processed in this facility since it first opened in 1990.
The Kent County Waste to Energy facility is critical to Kent County’s integrated solid waste system:
- It generates electricity for 11,000 homes — about the number of residences in the city of Walker.
- It’s a baseload energy source, diversifying Michigan’s renewable energy portfolio.
- It has recovered more than 136,000 tons of scrap steel that would otherwise not have been recycled.
- It has preserved 10 years of South Kent Landfill airspace, extending the life of the landfill.
- It provides good jobs for 50 employees.
- It generated 96,048 KWh of electricity in 2019.
Kent County’s Waste to Energy Facility is recognized by MDEQ as a Clean Corporate Citizen.
Waste to Energy’s incinerator rate has moved from $56.68 to $75.68 as of 2022 (a 35% increase), while the Recycle Center — as well as both the North and South Kent landfills — have each gone up $5 per ton for the new year. As the Kent County Department of Public Works explained last fall, haulers not only cover these increases within their charged customer rates, but they also include the costs associated with the driver, the truck, and labor/ materials per company. Business and industrial trash will likely be impacted the most by these changes, due to the sheer volume of materials they produce — although residents, too, will see a rise in the overall price of their curbside collections.
The Kent County Department of Public Works has published more on this topic here.