South Recycling Center

Project Description

Making recycling easier for Seattle
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is redeveloping the old South Recycling and Disposal Station site, located near the intersection of 5th Ave S and S Kenyon St in Seattle. This 10-acre site, part of the South Park Landfill, will be redeveloped as the South Recycling Center which will include a recycling and reuse center, as well as the existing household hazardous waste facility. The project will provide access to free recycling and hazardous waste disposal and will improve operational efficiencies.


See map above

What's Happening Now?

The project is currently in the design phase. We expect the design process to finish by the end of 2019 and construction to start in 2020. See our project video, also available in Spanish and Vietnamese

Community Benefits

This new facility will allow FREE drop-off of recyclables including mixed recycling including glass, mixed paper, plastic and cardboard. Other materials, like metals, used motor oil, batteries, sharps, bicycles, and reusable household items, will also be accepted. Customers accessing these services will no longer have to wait in line at the South Transfer Station to drop off these materials.

  • The new path along 5th Ave S will extend the existing path north of the site. The path will include landscaping and may include art displays and/or benches.
  • More recycling options will help us reach Seattle's goal of recycling 70 percent of our waste by 2022.
  • More efficient operation and better services provided to all city residents and businesses.
  • The site redevelopment also includes environmental benefits:
    • Capping the old landfill controls any landfill gas emissions, safeguards employees and the public from direct exposure to buried waste and helps meet modern environmental standards. Capping was identified as a proposed cleanup action in the Interim Action Work Plan with the Washington State Department of Ecology.
    • An onsite drainage system will reduce the amount of rainwater soaks through the landfill, keeping the groundwater cleaner.
  • We understand the importance of trees in South Park. The original plan did not allow for planting of new trees on-site due to restrictions by the Department of Ecology (DOE) for the landfill. Based on community feedback, the team successfully negotiated with the DOE, and received exemption to plant new trees in certain locations.
  • Of the existing 72 trees on-site, the project is able to preserve 13 existing trees (including 11 trees from the grove). In addition, we can:
    • Plant 23 new trees onsite
    • Plant 32 new trees in the right of way (streets) nearby
    • Rehabilitate 66 existing trees in South Park
  • The newly planted trees will provide 47,110 square feet of canopy in South Park.
  • Other sustainability features will include:
    1. Repurposing a closed landfill site
    2. Reusing demolition and recycled material
    3. Installing vehicle charging stations
    4. Reducing site energy use
    5. Reducing water use
    6. Reducing off-site light pollution
    7. Installing underground infrastructure to minimize disturbance
    8. Installing solar-ready structures

Community Engagement

SPU is committed to providing timely information and updates on project activities. Updates may be available in multiple formats: the website, emails, and one-on-one briefings. Check back for more information about the project.
Sign up for South Park project updates.

Here are some of the community engagement we’ve done so far: 

  • Meetings and ongoing project updates to project stakeholders
  • Participation in community events to gain input on project elements
  • Drop-in sessions for residential and business neighbors
  • Community outreach for public artwork via Office of Arts & Culture
  • Project video, also available in Spanish and Vietnamese

Past project engagement details

Spring 2019

  • Held drop-in sessions for residential and business neighbors
  • Partnered with Department of Neighborhoods Community Liaisons to engage South Park’s Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking communities and small businesses through seven community presentations, social media, and door-to-door outreach
  • Developed a project video
  • Developed translated project mailer and updated project website

Fall 2018

  • Conducted community outreach for public artwork conducted via Office of Arts & Culture
  • Updated project website and developed translated fact sheet
  • Administered a total of 253 surveys that demonstrated most community members favor open fencing (168) over screened fencing (85), and trees that are green all year (134) over trees that change color (116)

Summer 2016

In August 2016, members of the SPU project team held two open drop-in sessions to share design updates on the project. One session was geared toward local community members. The second drop-in session invited neighboring business and property owners to learn more about the project. Both sessions focused on project updates, including: status on the public art element, the new walking path on 5th Avenue South, street and sidewalk improvements, and operational impacts.
Redevelopment of this site will include a new walking path on 5th Ave S that will connect to an existing path north of the site. The design team is considering different options for benches and other visual interest features along the path, including found art pedestals. To gather input on these elements, project team members attended the Concord Elementary School Carnival on June 17, 2016 to ask people about their thoughts on the proposed wire basket bench (pdf) and found art pedestal (pdf). Read the input we gathered in the outreach update #1 summary (pdf).
Redevelopment of the site will require tree removal from the SPU-owned property, which also sits on the site of an existing landfill. To explore potential tree mitigation locations and options, members of the SPU project team met with Paulina Lopez of DRCC and Linn Gould of JHA on June 29, 2016. Read about existing site conditions, requirements for tree replacement, tree mitigation design approach and meeting notes in the outreach update #2 summary (pdf).

Winter 2016

SPU completed the public comment period on the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Checklist and Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) for the South Recycling & Disposal Station Redevelopment Project Interim Remedial Action.



Stakeholder Group Events

Based on community feedback, SPU convened a project stakeholder group consisting of South Park residents, representatives from community-based organizations, and business owners. The group met four times throughout 2016 to learn about the project, provide input and represent community perspectives. SPU continues to provide ongoing updates on project design to the stakeholder group. Meeting presentations and notes are available below.

Stakeholder Group Meeting #1
Stakeholder Meeting #1 agenda (pdf) 
Stakeholder Meeting #1 presentation (pdf)
Stakeholder Group Meeting #2
Stakeholder Meeting #2 presentation (pdf) 
Stakeholder Meeting #2 summary (pdf)
Stakeholder Group Meeting #3
Stakeholder Meeting #3 presentation (pdf) 
Stakeholder Meeting #3 summary (pdf)
Stakeholder Group Meeting #4
Stakeholder Meeting #4 presentation (pdf) 
Stakeholder Meeting #4 summary (pdf)

Other Project Details


2015 – 2017
  • Options analysis
2018 – 2019
  • Design and permitting
2020 – 2022
  • Construction
  • Anticipated completion


SPU is upgrading and adding recycling capacity to Seattle's two solid waste transfer stations in North and South Seattle. Transfer stations are buildings where solid waste (garbage and recyclables) are temporarily stored and sorted. The waste is eventually transported by train to a landfill, hazardous waste facility, or recycling facility.
The work is part of the 2004 Solid Waste Facility Master Plan and the 2011 revision to the Solid Waste Management Plan. As part of its upgrade, SPU first constructed a new South Transfer Station, which opened in 2013. In 2016, we completed the rebuilding of the North Transfer Station. Now, the South Recycling Center Redevelopment project will add a new site just across the street to support solid waste collection services at the South Transfer Station.
This project is on part of the old South Park Landfill, which closed in 1966. Because the site is being redeveloped, the landfill must be closed under today’s regulations. The City of Seattle and a private developer are under an Agreed Order with the Washington Department of Ecology to do so. The area will have a new cover (“cap”) over the buried garbage, a system to control any landfill gas and a drainage system to reduce rainwater going into the ground. SPU will install these systems while also constructing the new facilities.

Public Art

The Office of Arts & Culture leads this effort along with project artist, Adam Kuby.