Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council’s recycling center finally closes, but future still murky

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerThe Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council had asked the state Supreme Court to stop its eviction from Golden Gate Park

After 40 years of offering recycling services to the communities surrounding Golden Gate Park, the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council’s recycling center and plant nursery officially closed Sunday.

The site is expected to become a community garden, which has been a goal of the Recreation and Park Department for nearly 10 years.

Recycling center officials could not be reached for comment Sunday, but the facility’s blog said the voluntary closure is in anticipation of the Sheriff’s Department’s intention to evict the operation. The pending eviction and closure comes four months after the California Supreme Court denied an appeal by the recycling center that said it was wrongfully discriminated against.

Rec and Park had originally evicted the center in June 2011 in order to create the community garden. When the center refused to leave, a lawsuit was filed. A final eviction notice came Nov. 29 of this year.

The Sheriff’s Department does not release details and the timing of evictions, citing officer safety concerns. It’s unknown when deputies will arrive to carry out the eviction.

What’s next for the recycling center is unknown. According to California law, if there is no designated recycling location within a half-mile radius of grocery stores, the job will be left to individual businesses, which could become burdensome.

Earlier this month, Kevin Drew, the zero-waste coordinator with the Department of the Environment, told the Small Business Commission that The City needs to work with local businesses to provide recycling locations. In recent years, the number of locations has dwindled from 30 centers to 20.

Additionally, The City would need to work with the state to change the buyback laws for recyclables to allow for alternative options such as a mobile recycling operation.

“We’re working with existing supermarkets and others to look for land, a parking lot or vacant space for either a temporary or permanent site,” Drew told the commission.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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