Old Valentine’s Flowers Can Go to the Compost Drop-Off


Ready to toss your Valentine’s Day flowers? Don’t throw them away! Take them to the compost drop-off at Truckee Town Hall or put them in your backyard compost instead!

When you take flowers to the compost drop-off or put them in your backyard compost, they’re composted to create healthy new soil. Healthy soil plays a lot of important roles in our environment, including absorbing and filtering water, as well as transferring nutrients to new plant life. Remember that only natural items go into the compost drop-off — no plastic bags, rubber bands, or other items that may come with your flowers.

Year-Round Compost Drop-Off Location:
Truckee Town Hall
10183 Truckee Airport Rd.

Want to Keep Your Flowers Longer?

Take good care of the stems. First, give your flowers some type of sugar for nutrition. Put a little bit of sugar in the vase water, whether it’s the plant food packet that came with your flowers, a little granulated sugar from your cupboard, or some honey or maple syrup. Any amount between one teaspoon and two tablespoons will do. Second, change the water every other day, or anytime it begins to look cloudy, and trim the ends of the stems at the same time so they can continue to absorb the water and nutrients.

Dry or press your blooms. Keep the memory of a special day alive by preserving your bouquet. To dry flowers naturally, hang them upside down in a dark, dry spot, such as an attic or closet. You can also dry flowers by pressing them. Place the blooms between heavy books, such as dictionaries or encyclopedias, with a paper or cardboard lining to absorb moisture. Check the flowers’ progress once a week, and change the liner each time. Both drying and pressing flowers takes roughly 2-4 weeks. Find more tips for creating beautiful dried flowers — without using chemicals or creating extra waste — from Wellness Mama.

Buy potted flowers instead. Keep the Valentine’s Day vibe strong all year with a live plant. With proper care, not only can it brighten your home — and mood — for years, it can even clean the air for you. After all, what’s more romantic than watching your love grow?

National Battery Day: Did You Know It’s Dangerous to Throw Batteries Away?


Batteries: A standardized and portable source of power that can bring electricity anywhere you want to go. From starting your car in the morning to powering a flashlight during an unexpected power outage, their convenience is undeniable. However, batteries can also be very dangerous if not disposed of properly. Here is what you need to know.

Batteries, especially the lithium-ion rechargeable type that come in most portable electronics, pose a very serious fire risk when disposed of improperly. When batteries end up at a trash or recycling facility they often get punctured or crushed, which can damage the separation between the cathode and anode, causing them to catch fire or explode. These fires can have devastating consequences, such as the fire at San Mateo’s Materials Recovery Facility in 2016, which burned the entire plant to the ground. Batteries — and devices that contain them — need to be disposed of as e-waste or hazardous waste so they can be carefully handled to prevent these fires.

In addition to the fire danger, batteries can also contain toxic chemicals, including lithium, cadmium, sulfuric acid and lead. If disposed of improperly, these toxic chemicals can leach into the soil and contaminate the groundwater.

For these reasons, it is illegal to put batteries in the garbage or mix them in with the rest of your recycling. Luckily, recycling batteries is easy. Follow these links to our Recycling Guide to find out how to easily dispose of each type of battery.

When storing used batteries prior to recycling, please use caution to keep batteries from short-circuiting, overheating or sparking.

You can either:

  • Place each battery in a separate clear plastic bag, or;
  • Use clear packing tape, electrical tape or duct tape to tape the ends of the batteries to prevent battery ends from touching one another or striking against metal surfaces, then place the batteries in a clear plastic bag.

Avoid storing batteries in a metal container.

Looking to save some money? Try using rechargeable batteries in place of single-use alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries will work in almost all the same applications, provide similar battery life, and can be recharged hundreds of times — making them far more cost-effective and eco-friendly than single-use batteries. Just make sure to use single-use batteries for emergency devices such as smoke detectors.

Happy National Battery Day!

Single-Use Reduction Report

Over the last several years, the Truckee community has expressed interest in policies to limit single-use straws and polystyrene (Styrofoam). In response, Keep Truckee Green has done extensive research and received community feedback on the best strategies to make a positive impact in our community. As it turns out, single-use foodware strategies are not as simple as a Styrofoam or straw ban. Keep Truckee Green has compiled a report to provide information on this complex issue to Truckee community members and business owners.

This report will be presented and discussed at the Truckee Town Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 11 at 6 pm. Please join us to learn more and provide feedback to the Town Council. 

Public comment can be submitted in person at the meeting, or electronically here (for Agenda Item #7.1). Town Council Meetings can also be viewed live at this link. 

View a One-Page Summary Fact Sheet

View the Full Report

Ask the Experts: How to Recycle Peanut Butter Jars — A Sticky Subject

Peanut Butter Jars
recycle questions

Have a tough recycling question?
We’re here to help! Ask the Experts »

Q: How do I recycle my peanut butter jars?

A: We’ve all been there. You’ve just spread the last scoop of peanut butter on your PB&J sandwich only to be confronted with a challenge: a recyclable container that is too dirty to recycle. Don’t stress — we’ve got you covered. Read over these three simple steps to get that sticky jar recycle-ready.

1. Check the Number

If your peanut butter came in a glass jar, it can be recycled once you’ve completed the following steps. If your peanut butter came in a plastic jar, make sure it has a recycling symbol with a #1 or #2 on the bottom before proceeding. Plastic jars with any other numbers can’t be recycled, don’t need to be cleaned and go in the trash.

2. Scrape

Using a spatula or other utensil, remove as much peanut butter from the jar as possible. Alternatively, if you have a dog, consider letting them lick the leftover peanut butter out of the jar in lieu of scraping it out.

3. Soak & Shake

Fill the jar one-third of the way full with warm water and a drop of soap, then replace the cap and let it soak for five minutes. Shake vigorously for twenty seconds, drain and rinse. At this point, only a small amount of oily residue will be left in the jar.

4. Dry

Set the jar upside down in a drying rack or on the edge of the sink to drip dry. Once the jar is dry, replace the cap and it is ready to recycle. If your peanut butter jar is made of glass, recycle the lid separately from the jar.

Not a peanut butter person? These steps will also work for other nut and seed butter jars, as well as most other hard-to-clean jars.

What to Do With All That Meal Kit Packaging

So it’s 2020 and you’ve resolved to make this the year you start cooking more and eating better. You’ve signed up for your first meal kit and made some tasty dishes, but now you’re wondering what to do with all that packaging. Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered with this quick guide on how to properly dispose of all your meal kit packaging.

Paper and Cardboard

The cardboard box your meals are shipped in, cardboard dividers, paper trays and recipe cards are all made of paper. These pieces of your meal kit can be placed in the recycling. However, if these items become wet or food-soiled on their way to your house or while you’re cooking, they should be tossed in the trash.

Ice Packs

These guys do a great job of keeping your food from spoiling while it’s shipped to your home, but they also require some attention to be disposed of properly. To dispose of an ice pack, start by checking whether the ice pack is just frozen water or something else. If the ice pack contains anything other than water, thaw it, cut it open and then squeeze the gel into the garbage. Afterward, rinse out the plastic film, dry it and bring it to a plastic bag drop-off. Gel from ice packs will cause bad clogs in your drains, so make sure this gel doesn’t get washed down a sink or flushed down a toilet. If your ice pack is just filled with water, cut a corner of the pack and place it in a sink to thaw. After the water has melted and drained, dry the empty pack and drop it off with other plastic bags.

If you aren’t going to take the plastic film to a drop-off, you can toss your ice pack in the garbage.

Or, better yet, reuse your ice pack! Stick the ice pack back in your freezer, and then toss it in a cooler to chill drinks or food whenever you’re camping, tailgating or hosting. That way you won’t have to buy as many bags of ice at the store.

Plastic Bags

Often containing vegetables, spices and sauces, these bags should be dropped off with other plastic bags once they are clean and dry or tossed in the garbage.

Plastic Clamshells, Jars and Bottles

This is where things can get a bit tricky. Luckily, most, if not all, the plastic containers in your meal kit will be clearly labeled with a plastic resin number to help you identify the type of plastic. From there you can use our Recycling Guide to find out how you should dispose of each type of plastic. Keep in mind, items smaller than the lid on a standard peanut butter jar are too small to recycle and must be put in the trash. Have some plastic that’s not recyclable? Upcycle it! Check out this video by Purple Carrot for some fun ideas.

Food Scraps

Cooking at home creates food scraps. You can toss your potato peels, scallion ends and other food scraps into your home compost or take them to one of our convenient compost drop-off locations. Remember to avoid putting dairy products, meat, or fats and oils into the compost. If not composting, these items can go in the garbage.

Find something in your meal kit that isn’t mentioned here? Look it up in our handy Recycling Guide.

Food for Thought

Feel like you’re finally getting the hang of cooking at home? Save those recipe cards, or find some new recipes on the web, and try cooking without the meal kit. Plan out your meals ahead of time to minimize food waste and remember to bring your reusable bags and produce bags to the store. Bon appétit!

What Is a Trash Overage Charge?

what is a trash overage charge?

Each resident is allotted one 32-gallon can of trash picked up each week. A two can service is also available for $14.82/month. An overage charge of $5.26 may be received for putting out extra trash or for blue bags that are incorrectly used.

Trash overage charges may be received if:

  1. Materials (trash or blue bags) exceed the height of your can.
  2. An extra can is used — even for blue bags!
  3. Cardboard or additional trash is left outside a can.

overfilled trash and recycling cans

How to avoid an overage charge:

  1. Only put out one trash can that is not overfilled.
  2. Place blue bags NEXT TO your trash can, not inside.
  3. Only put accepted recyclables in your blue bags. Find out what’s recyclable in Truckee.
  4. Tightly secure all blue bags.
  5. If you have extra trash, schedule a FREE overage!

correctly filled trash can

Scheduled Overages

For those days you have more than one can of trash, schedule a FREE overage! A free overage includes up to 3 extra bags or cans of extra waste (96-gallons total, 51 lb. limit per bag or can). Each resident gets four free overages per year. Schedule your overage before your collection day through your TTSD online customer portal under “MY ACCOUNT” at waste101.com. First time users may need to contact TTSD for a customer account number and invoice number. Contact TTSD at (530) 583-7800 for questions.

schedule a free overage

 Learn more about residential trash collection. 

How to Do Takeout the Eco-Friendly Way

takeout food in single-use container

Do you love going to restaurants but hate all the waste created by takeout meals? Make it your New Year’s resolution to try some new local dishes without filling up your garbage. Here’s how:

Join the Reusable Green To-Go Box Program

Get a takeout order or bring home your leftovers in a reusable to-go box from a participating restaurant in Truckee! Participating restaurants include Red Truck, Siam Cuisine, The Station and Stella.

How It Works:

  1. Purchase your first to-go container for $5 at any participating restaurant.
  2. Rinse the box once you’ve finished eating.
  3. Bring the box back to trade for a new one with your next order at any participating restaurant. If you’re picking up a call-in order, be sure to request it in a reusable green box before they box it up for you!

More information can be found on the Reusable To-Go Container Program page.

Bring Your Own Container (BYOC)

Headed to the restaurant down the street? Before you go, check your cabinet for a clean reusable container, preferably with a lid, to take with you. Getting a drink? Bring a thermos or bottle. Restaurants around the country are starting to encourage BYOC and California just signed into law a bill, AB 619, which makes it official: As of January 2020, restaurants are legally allowed to serve food and beverages in consumer-provided reusable containers. Keep an eye out for restaurants that start to offer a discount for bringing your own container.

Bring Your Own Utensils

Eating on the run? Skip the plastic or compostable utensils and bring your own instead. That fork or spoon that doesn’t quite match any of the others in your silverware set is the perfect candidate for your zero waste take-out kit. Keep forgetting your utensils at home? Consider keeping a set in your purse, backpack or car.

Just Say “No Thanks”

When you’re ordering takeout, think ahead about the items you need and don’t need. Ordering food to take home? Skip the utensils, napkins and condiments — you probably have them at home in your kitchen. Now that you’ve cut out all the stuff you don’t need, you might even be able to skip the plastic bag you previously needed to get it all home.

Dine In

Here’s an easy one. Try eating at the restaurant instead of getting your food to-go. In general, restaurants tend to use fewer single-use products for customers dining in. Look for restaurants using reusable plates, silverware and glasses instead of disposables. And don’t forget to bring your own to-go container for the leftovers.

When you do go get takeout food, no matter how much or little waste you prevent in the process, make sure you dispose of everything correctly by looking it up in our Recycling Guide.

New Phone? Don’t Bury the Old One in a Junk Drawer — Here’s Why

Getting a new phone over the holidays? Remember to recycle your old one! It’s easy — in California, stores that sell cell phones are required to take them back for recycling. Oftentimes they’ll even give you credit towards a new device.

If you’re keeping old phones and tablets in a “junk drawer of sadness,” get those precious metals back into action! Phones contain gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium — valuable materials that manufacturers want to reuse.

While it’s great to give your old phone a new life, never put one in your garbage or curbside recycling. Why? The lithium ion batteries can cause terrible fires in waste trucks and sorting facilities.

Find ways to recycle, donate or sell your old phone in our Recycling Guide. Find out more about why they’re so important to recycle by watching this video.

Truckee Christmas Tree Collection

christmas tree

Recycle your Christmas tree! The week of January 13 and January 17, place your Christmas tree next to your trash can for collection. Your service provider will remove the Christmas tree to be properly recycled.

Please note:

  • All lights, tinsel, ornaments and stands must be removed from the trees.
  • If your tree is longer than six feet, it must be cut in half to be collected.
  • No flocked or painted trees will be accepted.

Between December 26 and January 17, drop off your Christmas tree anytime at one of the following locations:

Tahoe Donner Clubhouse
Map & Directions

High School Soccer Fields
Map & Directions

Glenshire Clubhouse
Map & Directions

Truckee Airport (Soaring and Aviation Way- by Truckee Roundhouse & Tahoe Food Hub)
Map & Directions

Place trees inside the TTSD bins. Clean, undecorated trees only, please!

Town of Truckee Wins 2019 Silver Beacon Award

Beacon Award

The Town of Truckee has won a 2019 Silver Beacon Award!

The Beacon Program is a statewide program that honors voluntary efforts by local governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and adopt policies that promote sustainability. To win a Beacon Award, participating agencies are required to demonstrate five separate areas of progress toward sustainability. Each area, if completed successfully, is awarded with a smaller Spotlight Award.

To earn its Beacon Award, the Town of Truckee demonstrated the following:

  • 33% Community Greenhouse Gas Reductions (Platinum)
  • 12% Agency Greenhouse Gas Reductions (Gold)
  • 13% Energy Savings (Gold)
  • 6% Natural Gas Savings (Silver)
  • Gold Level Award in Sustainability Best Practices

Among all Beacon participants, Truckee demonstrated the second highest reduction in community greenhouse gases, earning a Platinum Spotlight Award in addition to its other awards.

Mayor David Tirman stated, “Receiving the Beacon Awards was an incredible honor for the Town of Truckee in recognizing our collective efforts towards environmental sustainability on a Town-wide basis. The awards help to highlight the positive impact we can have on our local environment and remind us all of the importance of continuing to build upon our progress for future generations.”

Truckee accepts Beacon awards

From left to right: Erica Manuel, Executive Director, Institute for Local Government; Kim Szczurek, Town of Truckee Administrative Services Director; David Tirman, Truckee Town Mayor; Anna Klovstad, Truckee Town Council Member; and Jeff Loux, Truckee Town Manager. 

The awards received represent the Town organization’s efforts toward sustainability through increased energy efficiency retrofits of Town facilities and new recycling and waste reduction programs. Also included are activities of other special districts within the town, such as the Truckee Donner Public Utility District (TDPUD), whose electricity is 65%+ procured from renewable sources, which accounts for many of the savings that led to receipt of these awards.

Truckee was among good company, as the other jurisdictions to receive a full Beacon Award included: Burlingame, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Cupertino, Foster City, Brisbane, Carson, El Cerrito, San Rafael and San Carlos.

Learn more about the Beacon Program or the Town of Truckee’s performance here.

For more information on Truckee’s climate-related activities, please visit: https://www.townoftruckee.com/government/community-development/climate-action-activities, or contact Nicholas Martin, nmartin@townoftruckee.com or Erica Mertens, emertens@townoftruckee.com.