Reduce, re-use, replace - Page 2

HANC challenges the city's eviction rationale by adding a community garden to its embattled recycling operation
HANC has followed the city's idea of building community gardens.

Most are located in neighborhoods on the city's edges, with a few in the Outer Sunset and Excelsior, although most are located in Bayview-Hunters Point.

But the commission doesn't seem concerned with potential nuisance to neighbors in directing more traffic to these other recycling centers, or with the difficulty poor recyclers have in getting out there. "The San Francisco Department of the Environment is confident that recyclers that use the facility will take their material to another existing site for proper handling," according to the meeting's minutes.

The commission is, however, concerned about a nuisance that the recycling center creates for Haight-Ashbury neighbors, according to the minutes. The notes cite "neighborhood noise, truck traffic, litter, and public safety concerns as negative impacts related to continuing operations at the site."


But is this really just another case of resentment against people who are poor and homeless?

HANC's Dunn argues that, in fact, much of the material that those who use the center bring in isn't taken from residential waste bins. Besides, it's not technically "HANC's CRV redemption program" that encourages recycling as a revenue source for the less fortunate. State law requires that consumers be able to redeem bottles and cans for cash.

The meeting minutes argue that the recycling center "enables illegal camping and illicit and unhealthy behavior in Golden Gate Parks' eastern end and in neighborhoods in close proximity to the site."

Supposed evidence for the position cites letters to the editor published in the San Francisco Chronicle, a frequent outlet for anger at the homeless. One concerned resident, Karen Growney, asserts that the center "provides no benefit to people living in Haight/Cole Valley."

HANC disputes this, saying that many neighbors use the center. They have beneficial relationships with many nearby businesses, including New Ganges restaurant just across the street. Its website,, shows many smiling neighbors who use the center to recycle.

Notable among them is actor/activist Danny Glover, a Haight resident since 1957. In a video on the website, Glover — interviewed while in his car dropping off recycling at the center — says, "I would be dismayed and not happy if we close this wonderful recycling center down...It would be a tragedy, and a great loss to this city and this community."

In her letter, Growney also laments that her family "had to pay a considerable amount to build a wrought-iron, locked gate to keep people out of our trash." Another letter, written by neighborhood resident Curtis Lee, asks that the city "eliminate the Haight Ashbury Recycling Center," saying that, "It is a blight on the neighborhood and an attraction to rodents and homeless carts."

Of course, those carts come with people. HANC takes issue with the assertion that their services "enable" or "encourage" homelessness, as well as the assumption that the recycling center only serves the homeless.

Dunn says that many of the recycling center' clientele are elderly immigrants, often housed, who contribute to their family income with cash from recyclables.

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