Today I found out that the recycling center on Breton Rd. in Kentwood will be closing for good on June 30th and I’m really upset about this. As someone who makes a trip to the center at least every 2-3 weeks, it’s so convenient for those of us who live on the Southside. Not only was I upset when I found out about the news but dumbfounded. There’s always people recycling when I go there and the bins are always full… so why take it away?

The director for Kent County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) said in a news release that the reasoning for this is because there has been an increase and improvement of curbside recycling over the past 10 years in the area. In addition, the cost of having a drop off site has increased for the county.

For complexes (apartments, condos, etc) that don’t have a recycling service, the county is offering a grant for those properties. They will provide the recycling bin and education for residences. More info can be found here.

The other two centers, in Grand Rapids (Wealthy St.) and Rockford, will remain open.

However, my issue is that people may stop recycling all together. While there are those who may still go to one of the other locations, the reality is we are a society of convenience and this isn’t convenient. And if we’re being completely honest I don’t see the majority making the trek to the other side of town to recycle. 

I get alerts and notifications from the Nextdoor app and people in the Kentwood neighborhood were discussing the closure and these were just some of the comments left by people on there:

  • Guess more stuff will get tossed vs recycled.
  • This is such a shame. We go here several times a month for our recycling. The other locations are not convenient to where we live.
  • Unfortunately, that will be bad for the environment, because people will now not recycle. It's too far away or costs too much.
  • I wrote them as soon as I heard they were closing. They told me I could take my recycling to Wealthy St I told them no, my stuff would go back into the trash.

After doing some digging, I also found out that one of the main reasons for the closure is due to misuse. Some are using the site to leave their trash while others are putting non-recyclable material in the bins which then has to be sorted through by hand. This is a public service and it frustrates me that there are people who took advantage of it which played a role in the decision.

If you are someone who uses the recycling center and disagree with the county’s decision to close the Kentwood location, contact your commissioner — for Kentwood its District 12 & 13. If you live in a complex that doesn’t have recycling, I encourage you to reach out to management and ask them to take a look at the grant they can receive through the county.

No matter where you live please educate yourself on what can & cannot be recycled and what materials the centers accept. Check out this recycling guide for reference.