The government of Kent County, Michigan, located in the southwestern part of the state, with Grand Rapids as its largest city, is in the midst of a plan to reduce the waste it sends to landfill by 90 percent by 2030.

That ambitious goal, along with a recycling ethic among many of the 650,000 people there, has kept material flowing into the material recovery facility (MRF) operated by the Kent County Department of Public Works. Nic VanderVinne, resource recovery and recycling manager for the department, says its Recycling & Education Facility runs six days per week, with processing lines most often running 12 hours per day, though “occasionally with a late-night extended shift during the busy time of the year.”

The busy processing lines at the MRF sort steel and aluminum cans, old corrugated containers (OCC), old newspapers (ONP), mixed paper, and plastics #1 through #7, separating plastics into PET, HDPE natural, HDPE colored, film and mixed #3-#7 grades. After all those materials are sorted, most of them head into a Centurion T200 two-ram baler supplied by Georgia-based Harris.

VanderVinne credits Harris and its regional distributor Sargents Equipment for providing the right baler and critical support to allow material flowing into the Kent County Recycling & Education Facility to be baled and prepared for shipment at the tail end—thus keeping the entire MRF humming.

“The Centurion has performed flawlessly for us,” states VanderVinne. “We have had the baler for a little over two years; it has around 6,600 hours on it now, and we have had zero downtime with it.”

The Harris baler replaced one built by another manufacturer that VanderVinne says “gave us continual trouble; we would have issues several times a week. I wanted a reliable, well-built, machine that would stand up to the demanding schedule we run it.” He adds, “Output has been great. As fast as you can feed it, it will bale it.”

The fast pace at the Kent County MRF means the Centurion’s ease of operation also has come into play, says VanderVinne. “The baler’s control platform is very user friendly, easy to learn and laid out very well,” he comments. “The wire tier Harris puts on the Centurion was another big factor for me. Our old tier gave us constant fits, and this is night-and-day different.”

Harris and Sargents Equipment also have combined to provide fantastic support to Kent County. “Harris and Sargents have been great to work with,” says VanderVinne. “Parts availability was a huge factor in my decision, and the fact that Harris makes a large majority of its own parts in-house was a huge factor in my decision. I can’t afford downtime, and having the ability to ship parts the same day or even manufacture the needed part was a huge selling point.”

Two-ram Harris Centurion balers have become the baler of choice for recyclers seeking a reliable, automated high-volume machine. More information on the heavy-duty models can be found at