As part of its long-term vision to implement Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) strategies, Kent County, Michigan, has set a bold goal to divert 90% of County-generated trash that goes to landfills by 2030. Building a sustainable business park is an essential part of reaching that goal, helping to significantly reduce trash buried in landfills and attract investment and jobs from companies that can convert waste into usable products. The GBB-led team was selected by the County to develop the Master Plan for the 250 acres of property to convert waste materials into marketable products. Joining GBB for this key assignment as planning partners are Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc., a local Grand Rapids-based Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Architecture, and Construction Management firm; Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, a local stakeholders engagement communications firm; and PFM, the nation’s largest independent financial advisor to public entities.
It’s envisioned that this property will house facilities to recover discarded materials, to reuse and recycle the recovered material, and to convert non-recyclable material into intermediate products or to recover the energy value of those discards.
This project is currently underway. So far, the GBB Project Team conducted stakeholders’ meetings; performed waste stream and market analyses. The team also evaluated proposed technologies following a Request for Information (RFI) process that generated twenty-three (23) responses from interested businesses. In the summer of 2018, a Master Plan was delivered to the County that addresses the design and construction of the public infrastructure; funding sources; and how the services provided by the sustainable business park tenants might interact with Kent County’s existing waste management infrastructure.
It was formally approved on October 4, 2018 by the Kent County Board of Public Works.
“I’m pleased to report that the Kent County Board of Public Works has approved the advancement of the Sustainable Business Park Master Plan that GBB developed. This is a pivotal moment for organizations, like Kent County Department of Public Works, who operate integrated solid waste management systems as we all begin to consider how to shift our dependence away from landfilling and towards sustainable materials management strategies.
GBB’s comprehensive approach to the development of this Master Plan will allow us to move seamlessly into the implementation phase. Your agency’s collective industry experience and willingness to bring local engineering consultants alongside the process has proven to be invaluable as we explore the variety of technologies in use across the world to help us reach our goals of reducing waste going to landfill by 90% by 2030.
Please extend my appreciation to all the GBB staff who helped us get to this point in our path. Your expertise and excitement for this project was critical in our success thus far.”
— Darwin J. Baas
Department of Public Works Director
Kent County, Michigan
Visit Kent County’s Reimagine Trash website to learn more about the ambitious project!
Below are regularly updated links to the latest news and information about the Sustainable Business Park:
- From disposal to development
April 2019 – Resource Recycling
- Building Something Sustainable
April 2019 – Waste Today
- Partnership Hopes to Convert Portion of Landfill Into Sustainable Business Park
March 11, 2019 – WGVU
- Kent County, Michigan, Moves Forward with Sustainable Business Park Plan
March 7, 2019 – Waste Today
- Interview: Kent County Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
November 28, 2018 – WKTV in Focus
In a 12-minute interview, Dar Baas (Director of the Kent County Department of Public Works) discusses details of the Sustainable Business Park Master Plan.
- Creating an Industrial Ecosystem – Building a circular economy starting with what was supposed to be a landfill expansion
January-February 2019 – MSW Management Magazine
- Board of Public Works Approves Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
October 4, 2018 – Kent County Department of Public Works Press Release
- Energy Recovery in Resource Recovery Parks: The Kent County, MI Project
October 4, 2018 – Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council Bi-Annual Conference
Presentation made by Steve Simmons, GBB Senior Vice President
- Kent County unveils hands-on exhibit to encourage more recycling
September 10, 2018 – Grand Rapids News
- Draft Sustainable Business Park Master Plan
August 2, 2018 – The draft Master Plan was presented to the Kent County Board of Public Works during a regularly scheduled board meeting.
- Recovery Park: The Power of Collaboration – The Kent County, MI Project
June 20, 2018 – Maryland Recycling Network / SWANA Mid-Atlantic Conference
Presentation made by Lori Scozzafava, GBB Senior Vice President, Operations Officer
- Kent County Sees “Sustainable Business Park” as a Way Out of the Landfill Business
Includes 8-minute radio interview with Dar Baas, Director of the Kent County Department of Public Works
May 22, 2018 – Michigan Radio
- Making Space for Sustainability: A Kent County Case Study
May 16, 2018 – Michigan Recycling Coalition Conference
Presentation made by Jennifer Porter, GBB Senior Project Manager and Kristen Wieland, Kent County Department of Public Works, Communications & Marketing Manager
- Sustainable Business Parks – A Circular Economy
May 8, 2018 – Virginia Recycling Association / SWANA Old Dominion Joint Solid Waste and Recycling Conference
Presentation made by Chris Lund, P.E., GBB Senior Vice President
- RFI for Kent County, Mich. ‘sustainable business park’ draws many responses
May 1, 2018 – Waste Dive
- 23 respond to Kent County’s call for ‘sustainable’ garbage proposals
April 30, 2018 – MLive
- Circular Solutions to a Growing Recyclables Market Problem
April 18, 2018 – Waste Today
- Firms probe Kent County on request for garbage-fueled innovations
April 2, 2018 – MLive
- GBB Assisting Kent County, MI with Innovative Sustainable Business Park
March 6, 2018 – Public Works Magazine
- Firms sought for sustainable business park near Kent County landfill
March 6, 2018 – Grand Rapid News
- Kent County Department of Public Works issues request for information
March 5, 2018 – Waste Today
- GBB Assisting Kent County, MI with Request for Information for Innovative Sustainable Business Park
March 5, 2018 – GBB Press Release
- Turning Trash Into Money is Going to Take a Community Effort
February 8, 2018 – Rapid Growth Media
- Reimagining Waste in Kent County
January 2018 – County Presentation
- Reimagine Trash Sustainable Business Park
November 2017 – 3-minute stakeholder video
- Kent County, MI Upgrading MRF and Planning ‘Sustainable Business Park’ to Save Landfill
November 22, 2017 – WasteDive
- Landfill or Sustainable Business Park? Michigan County Considers the Question
November 20, 2017 – Environmental Leader
- Michigan County Considers Building Sustainable Business Park
November 17, 2017 – Associated Press
- Sustainable Business Park at Bryon Center Landfill Could Be ‘Long Term Solution’
November 15, 2017 – WGVU News
- Sustainable Business Park Planned in Shadow of Kent County landfill
November 9, 2017 – Mlive
- Kent County Public Works Staff to Meet with Community About Plan to Reduce Waste
November 9, 2017 – Michigan Radio – NPR
- GBB to Develop Master Plan for Kent County, Mich.’s Resource Park
August 18, 2017 – Waste360
- Kent County Report: Review of Opportunities for Zero Waste to Landfills for Industries
August 27, 2015 – Report prepared by GBB
“In 2016, we set a roadmap to achieve 20% reduction in landfilled waste by 2020, and 90% by 2030, to bring Kent County closer to a circular economy system. A key component of that strategy is the successful establishment of the Resource Park.
The GBB Project Team has proven that it’s up to the challenge with the combination of a clear understanding of our vision, a sensible project approach, past success stories, strength of the project team, and recent projects performed for the County.”
Director Kent County, Department of Public Works
“As evidenced by China’s recent waste import ban, America’s recycling future is highly dependent upon the development of domestic outlets for its recovered materials.
Resource Parks, such as the one envisioned for Kent County, can play a vital role in the development of that domestic capacity while providing green collar jobs for local communities.”
GBB Senior Vice President