Most of Kalamazoo County's solid waste services are handled by a combination of private companies and out-of-county facilities. There are no landfills in Kalamazoo County for Type II municipal solid waste. The last Type II landfill, a county-owned facility, was located at KL Avenue. This was ordered closed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in May 1979. Poor geological and hydrogeological conditions restrict placing Type II facilities in the county. Most of the County's solid waste is hauled, by private operators, to landfills in adjacent counties. Currently, waste is taken to St. Joseph, Berrien, and Calhoun Counties. Under the 1994 Solid Waste Management Plan Update waste can be exported to Calhoun, Berrien, St. Joseph (Michigan), Washtenaw, Jackson, St. Joseph (Indiana), Toledo (Ohio), Allegan, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. Ionia County will take special waste which includes construction and demolition debris, sand, sludge, contaminated soils, fly ash, agricultural waste, etc.

There are three Type III landfills in Kalamazoo County. Type III landfills handle inert materials such as demolition and construction debris, and paper sludge from mills. The Type III landfills are privately-owned. These facilities are operated by paper mills in the area. Only waste from the paper mills is allowed. Because of short expected life spans on the current Type III landfills, the paper companies in the area have agreed to develop a new site to share among them. Again only waste from the paper mills will be allowed. Other Type III waste, construction debris for example, will have to be hauled up to 25 miles to a landfill out of the County.

The three private Type III landfills in Kalamazoo County are owned by the James River Corporation, the Allied Paper Company, and the Georgia-Pacific Corporation. The James River Corporation landfill is in Cooper Township. Approximately 150 tons per day (TPD) are placed into the landfill. The Allied Paper Company's landfill is in the City of Kalamazoo. Approximately 50 TPD are placed there. The Georgia-Pacific Corporation's landfill is in Kalamazoo Township. Approximately 150 TPD are placed into this landfill. The materials that go into these landfills primarily consist of residuals, mostly clay and wood fiber, from each of these company's wastewater treatment processes.

 The County requires pickup of residential waste at least once a week. It is estimated that approximately 80 percent, 325 tons per day, of municipal solid waste (MSW) is exported to landfills out of the county. Around 75 tons per day, 20 percent of MSW is recycled. Of the waste that is exported around 80 percent is processed through a transfer center and 20 percent is carried directly to landfills. At transfer centers waste is often exchanged from small to large trucks to make trips to landfills more economical.

Municipal solid waste that is exported to landfills outside the county make up about 30 percent of the total solid waste stream. Type III solid waste, construction debris and paper sludge, make up the majority of solid waste in Kalamazoo County. Nearly 560 tons per day, or 60 percent, of the solid waste stream consists of Type III wastes. Overall there is approximately 960 tons per day of solid waste generated by Kalamazoo County which comes to 8.9 pounds per capita.

In the City of Kalamazoo it was approximated that 401.6 tons per day (TPD) of solid waste were produced in 1990. Of this, 143 TPD was municipal solid waste. In the year 2000, there is expected to be a total of 433.1 TPD of solid waste and 142.2 TPD of municipal solid waste. In 2010 there is expected to be 464.3 TPD of total solid waste and 140.1 TPD of municipal solid waste. In the future it is expected that municipal solid waste will continue to be exported to landfills out of the county and that Type III solid waste from local paper mills will go to Type III landfills within the county.

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