Kent County Recycling Center upgrades installed

Kent County Recycling and Education Center
The Kent County Recycling and Education Center. (Nov. 28, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Recycling Center is reopening earlier than expected after being shut down for weeks for equipment upgrades.

New technology allows for automated sorting of paper cartons and corrugated cardboard, which means the center can now process empty creamer, soy and almond milk containers; juice boxes; milk cartons; and boxed water containers. Additionally, new optical scanners can separate items based on the type of plastic coating.

The center on Wealthy Street SW shut down Nov. 28 for the new equipment to be installed and was initially scheduled to reopen Tuesday. But in a Sunday statement, Kent County Recycling Manager Nic VanderVinn said the equipment had been tested and was working properly, so the center would start taking deliveries Monday morning.

“Adding cartons to the recycling stream will address a type of packaging that is growing in popularity but was previously not recyclable in West Michigan,” VanderVinn’s statement continued.

The county spent $1.5 million on the upgrades, $400,000 of which came from a private grant that required they be implemented before the end of the year.