Seattle Public Utilities is a national leader in waste management with innovative recycling and composting programs that continually strive to reduce the amount of waste generated within the City of Seattle. The SPU South Transfer Station was an opportunity for the City to begin employing state-of-the-art approaches to waste handling and move one step closer to a goal of zero waste.
The key to waste reduction is the ability to segregate materials with re-use value. As it is impossible to predict what resource-rich loads may appear on any given day and which materials may prove re-use worthy in coming years, an expansive flat-tipping floor allows for flexibility in waste collection and segregation. As one of the few truly industrial facilities the general public uses regularly, waste transfer stations present significant safety concerns. The design of this facility improves safety by identifying distinct areas and traffic patterns for self-haulers, commercial haulers and transfer trailers. This is accomplished through the use of a tunnel for the transfer trailers, which also creates more opportunities for distinct loads to be deposited into trailers from the tipping floor above.
Translucent panels and skylights create variety on the exterior and provide abundant daylight deep into the wide floor plate, allowing for daytime operations to be effective without electric lighting. The massing of the structure encourages ventilation. Overhead doors at the base of the structure bring fresh air in, which is drawn up into high monitors and through exhaust fans. A large public viewing area for educational visits improves public awareness of the significance of proper waste management for a sustainable future.