(Originally published in the January 2013 issue of the Sunset Beacon newspaper, a community news source serving the Sunset District of San Francisco.)
by Thomas K. Pendergast
The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) recycling center in Golden Gate Park closed on Dec. 27.
The eviction of the HANC recycling center is legally a done deal, but when the center finally shut down it created a situation where small merchants in that area might face the dubious prospect of replacing it by having to directly offer buyback recycling services to the public.
"It looks like as many as 30 retailers, shops that sell beverages, could be impacted … assuming that no new recycling center opened, and a lot of these are smaller stores, so there are certainly legitimate concerns about in-store redemption," says Mark Oldfield, a spokesperson for the California Department of Resources Recovery (Cal Recycle). Cal Recycle enforces the state's recycling laws.
"You have your space concerns and the concerns that perhaps only one person is working at a time. So those are certainly things that we are sensitive to and don't want to burden these businesses with if it can be avoided," Oldfield said.
The HANC recycling center was fighting against several neighborhood associations in the area around the southeast corner of Golden Gate Park and also against the SF Recreation and Park Department (all of whom have been pushing for the eviction), but the recycling center lost its case in court and the Sheriff's Department got a court order to evict it.