Five Reasons Your Kids Need to Tour the Kent Co. Recycling Center

Kids Love This Fun, Free Field Trip

Spend a fun, educational afternoon with your kids at the Kent County Recycling and Education Center. Also, did we mention it’s free?

The Kent County Recycling and Education Center is a surprisingly fun place to spend the afternoon. My kids (ages 8 and 10) agree. What started as a homeschool field trip has turned into a bonafide destination on our list of things to do in Grand Rapids. Why? Because it’s fun, easy, and free.

Homemade paper from recycling center kit


Tours are offered to the public anytime the facility is running, between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday. Groups of ten or more are preferred, but arrangements can be made for smaller groups. Tours are about an hour long, and closed-toe shoes are required. Tours are not offered on holidays. To learn more or schedule a tour, click here.


Now for the fun part – join them on Mondays from 1:00 – 5:00 pm for Imagine Craft Days. Take a tour of the facility, watch the machines do their job, and stay to play games and make a craft. Imagine Craft Days are open house style; feel free to visit for a few minutes or a few hours. Parents or another adult must accompany all children. And again, closed-toe shoes are required.

5 Reasons Your Kids Will Love Touring the Kent County Recycling Center

1 – It’s a Good Lesson for Kids

Teach your kids to be stewards of our community and our planet. They can see the recycling process for themselves, and learn from experts in our city.

2 – Watching the Machines is Fun

It really is. I was surprised by this myself. The machines use a mix of magnets, optical scanners, and puffs of air to sort materials – it’s pretty fun to watch!

At the end of the tour, there are plenty of games to play, all made from recycled materials. My kids played for a good hour.

3 – The Tour Spurs Their Creativity

When we got home from the recycling center, my kids scoured our recycling bin for materials to make their own games. This kept them busy for a good couple of hours.

4 – You can Check out Craft Kits for More Learning at Home

Five different EcoKits (craft kits) are available for you to check out, take home and enjoy. Choose from Composting 101, Musical Recycling, Recycled Crayon Kit, Paper-making Kit, and Steel Can Lantern Kit.

We checked out the paper making kit and had a ton of fun. The kits contain nearly everything you need to make the craft, including instructions, signage (if you’re going to set up stations), materials and all necessary equipment. I was really impressed with how thorough the kit is.

To read more about the kits, or to check one out, click here.

5 – The Tour is Free

To learn more about recycling in West Michigan, including information on how to recycle tricky materials and drop off stations, visit the Kent County Department of Public Works website here.

If you’ve ever wondered how to recycle holiday lights, baby equipment (including car seats), or how to respectfully dispose of a flag, this resource is for you. We encourage you to bookmark it; it really is that helpful.

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