South King County’s new recycling and transfer station under construction

The state-of-the-art facility in Algona is expected to open in 2026.

King County has plans to replace an aging South King County recycling center with a “state-of-the-art” upgrade in Algona.

Earlier this year, project construction began on the new facility (35101 West Valley Hwy S.) and designs for the project promise many upgrades and innovative features.

Karen Herndon, capital project manager with the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Solid Waste Division, said the need for the new facility is largely due to the age of the old Algona Transfer Station, which she said is roughly 60 years old.

Herndon said the current station has limited recycling and hazardous waste processing ability, despite being one of the busiest transfer stations in the county.

“There is a squeeze on services there,” Herndon said. “It is really [at] the end of its useful life.”

With changes to the recycled commodity market in recent years changing the way in which people are able to recycle certain materials, the new facility will reflect some of those industry changes with greater flexibility in how to collect and process different materials, said Joseph Basile, spokesperson for the King County Solid Waste Division.

The nearly 10-acre facility was designed with the county’s sustainability goals in mind, according to Herndon. With a roof lined with solar panels, she said the solar energy collected will help provide roughly half of the station’s power needs, meaning a reduction in the facility’s carbon footprint. It will also have water cisterns to capture and use rainwater from the site.

During the construction of the facility, a stream on site will be realigned out from under the currently existing infrastructure and will be restored with drought-resistant and native plant landscaping.

Artists from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe were also consulted to design artwork to be placed on the building and around the facility. With this project, they are interested in accessing ancestral teachings, translated through design, artwork, and a holistic approach to the site.

According to Herndon, the building will be recognized with a Living Building Certification from International Living Future Institute for its unique, innovative and sustainable design.

The facility is expected to open in 2026 and is intended to serve the cities of Algona, Auburn, Federal Way and Pacific.