Our network

A look through Grand Rapids' garbage | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

A look through Grand Rapids' garbage

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Trash, waste, garbage -- whatever you call it, it's something we don't think a lot about, but there is more to garbage than just a trip to the landfill, and there is one tour group that will show you where your trash is going.

The Greater Grand Rapids Garbage Tour is run by Sara Yob, a professor at GRCC.

"We had a great response last year," explains Sara, "and it was information and knowledge that people in the Grand Rapids area didn't have."

This year's tour was made up of area manufactures wanting to learn more about the process, and some representatives from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel looking to become greener.

"Last time we had people come here for a date," explains Sara.

The tour started at the Waste to Energy facility on Market Ave. SW in Grand Rapids, where participants learned that Grand Rapids' garbage gets burned for power.

"What the plant does is it takes waste, incinerates it and energy is recovered in the form of steam and converted in to electricity," explains Bill Allen, Waste to Energy division director.

The plant produces 100,000 megawatt hours of electricity which is enough to power the city of Walker and Grandville for a year.

Because the trash is burned the volume of trash is reduced by 90%. This means you won't need as big of a landfill in the long run.

The ash is then shipped to the South Kent Landfill where special pits keep any waste from getting into the water system.

More than four million tons of trash have been burned since the plant opened nearly 23 years ago.

The tour also visits area recycling plants to get a complete picture of Grand Rapids' waste. If you are interested in knowing more about the tour, visit its website.