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South Kent Landfill

Kent County, Mich., Approves Sustainable Business Park Master Plan

New master plan provides opportunity for partnerships and innovative approaches to waste management.

The Kent County, Mich., Board of Public Works approved the Sustainable Business Park Master Plan for 250 acres adjacent to the South Kent Landfill in Byron Center. The master plan was created by local and national experts over the course of 12 months and includes details on the necessary improvements, costs, funding sources and implementation schedule for the project.

“We set a bold goal of diverting 90 percent of trash from the South Kent Landfill by 2030, and building a sustainable business park is essential to reaching that goal,” said Dar Baas, director of the Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW), in a statement. “With the approval of the master plan, we have a roadmap for how organizations, businesses, technology developers, startups and nonprofits can help us make progress toward our economic and environmental goals and advance our vision for a circular economy.”

The master plan includes recommendations for how Kent County can transition from a reliance upon disposal of trash in landfills toward a sustainable materials management system where waste materials are either reused in new production processes or products or used in the production of energy.

Building a Sustainable Business Park is part of the Kent County DPW’s solution to decreasing the growing amount of solid waste buried in Kent County’s South Kent Landfill. Kent County DPW processes more than 1 billion pounds of waste each year at its facilities and estimates 75 percent of that waste could be reused, recycled or converted. Currently, only 6 to 8 percent of waste is recycled.

“The Sustainable Business Park is a step in the right direction to finding alternatives to landfilling waste,” said Ted Vonk, chair of the Board of Public Works, in a statement. “By approving this master plan, we are proving Kent County to be a national leader in implementing a practical, innovative approach to managing our waste while creating jobs in our region.”

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