In July of 1993, yes 1993, a few of us had a vision to create a recycling site at the Presidio of San Francisco. Earlier, the President of the United States had issued an Executive Order in 1991, mandating that all Federal Agencies have in place a Recycling Site by 1994 at the latest.
Towards this end we chose building 1243 on the Presidio and in the Fort Scott area and began to rehabilitate the building. We fixed the roof, built a ramp to accommodate the physically challenged and a rest room too, fixed the patio, and a few other things to the tune of $80,000.
Building 1243 is very large so we decided that for the time being we would rehabilitate just the Southern Side of the building. The rehabilitation was complete by the end of 1996. The National Park Service chose not to use the building and in doing so not to follow the Executive Order that mandated a Recycling Site. After all the Presidio is over 1,400 acres, has over 600 buildings and over 1800 housing units. These facilities all generate various materials that could have contributed to the Recycling Site.
In the mean time, against great odds we fought to have an agreement with Haight Asbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) to service several accounts on the Presidio and collect recycling materials. These materials were transported to the various HANC sites all over the City and County of San Francisco.
Today HANC is also known as San Francisco Recyclers (SFC) and continues to operate several recycling sites all over the City and County of San Francisco. They also operate a huge recycling site near 3rd Street and Evans where one can purchase building materials, salvaged from deconstruction projects and other sources.
Since 1995 San Francisco Recyclers (SFC) and the National Park Service have been negotiating to run the southern portion of building 1243 as a recycling site. The negotiations went no where until the Trust appeared on the horizon. The Trust which assumed full authority over most of the Presidio of San Francisco in 1994, agreed in principle to modify the on going agreement and permit SFC to run the recycling site on the Presidio of San Francisco.
An important part of the negotiation and agreement is the Educational Component. Initially, two entities, it was agreed would operate the Recycling Site. SFC would operate the actual operation and collect all recycling materials just like they did before but they would have a site on the Presidio of San Francisco. They would also have an office at building 1243.
Protect All Lifeforms (PAL) a non-profit organization that has had a long experience teaching youth and others about recycling materials would run the educational program. The educational program would deal with the practical aspect where objects would be made of recycled material. Art and art forms would be encouraged. Puppetry would play a important role with the youth.
Shane Eagleton, belongs to PAL and is an international artist. His huge healing poles, wood blocks, and other works of art are well known and appreciated. It was agreed that Shane would help as an instructor.
Francisco Da Costa who was instrumental is signing the first agreement with HANC way back in July of 1993, would head the Educational Program and would use computers to help the youth and others understand Recycling and other waste management issues. Towards this end computers and other materials were lined up and most everything was in place end of 1997.
July of 1999, at last a green signal was given by the Trust and now for the first time we can enter building 1243 to start our recycling projects. Today, the entities that once wanted to work as a team have changed. PAL no longer is fully interested in the present venture. Francisco Da Costa has patiently stood his ground and will head a group of enthusiastic artists and recyclers and hopes to accomplish his vision.
A new entity has been added to the equation. The San Francisco Conservation Corps (SFCC). SFCC hopes to help SFC and operate the Recycling Site on the Presidio. SFCC also hopes to help in the recycling educational programs. Time will tell.
It has taken us too many years to get where we wanted to be a long time ago. Again and again we have stated that recycling is important. It is a shame to waste. Yet some how materialism and waste goes hand in hand. Today society encourages waste. This is a fact.
The Industrial Revolution fostered production, some times too much production in the name of Greed. Today, most sensible people are realizing that it is a shame to waste. Many of us are learning to respect Mother Earth. Earth Day celebrations remind us that we should conserve and respect Mother Earth by not polluting the waters, the earth, the skies, treating trees with respect, birds and animals, in short learning to live in harmony.
Toxic wastes from many sources have come to haunt us. Even the computer industry generates tons of toxicity. Our land fills are full of materials that could have been recycled. How ever our society fosters materialism as a way of life and for many throwing things out is a way of life. We call it out dated and try to keep up with acquiring the latest models and things on the market.
We have a vision and we hope to make things happen at building 1243. As you all see this has not been an easy journey but we have waited patiently. In a couple of months we hope to settle down and be productive. Many have encouraged us and we thank you all for supporting us.
There is much talk about sustainability and recycling on the Presidio of San Francisco and in general. Most of it has been just talk. Today, it is a fact we do not have one single building that is fully sustainable on the Presidio. Till a few weeks ago we did not have a Recycling Site. Today we have a Recycling Site but we have yet to operate and attain a standard that the Nation is proud of.
The Presidio of San Francisco is a special place. We hope to make our Recycling Program and especially the Educational Program of our Recycling Center the best in the world.