How to Repair a Tear in Leather or Faux Leather

leather bag

Oh no! You’ve got a tear in your favorite leather jacket — or maybe it’s your leather bag. Good news, you might be able to repair it. Watch this quick instructional video to find out how to repair small tears in leather or faux leather.

Recycling Carts Coming to Tahoe Donner

The three-year recycling cart rollout will reach the final Truckee neighborhood this June. Tahoe Donner residents who are signed up will receive recycling carts between May 11 – June 5, and service will begin on June 9, 2020. Residents must order by April 1st to receive a cart during those dates with free delivery. To order, call TTSD at (530) 583-7800. A delivery fee may be charged for orders made after April 1st. Confirmation emails have been sent out to residents who have already ordered a cart. Here’s all you need to know about the new recycling cart program:

1. Carts must be wheeled to the edge of the road by 6 am on your collection day for service. Recycling carts are emptied by an automated arm from the recycling truck and must be wheeled to the street for service. Your cart must be 3-feet away from other objects, with the wheels facing towards your house. Carts will not be serviced next to bear boxes unless a special push-pull service is set up with TTSD.

2. Carts are serviced every-other-week, year-round. The first pick-up day in Tahoe Donner is June 9th. Recycling carts are serviced on opposite weeks as yard waste carts. Never miss a pick-up: set up email reminders or print out a calendar.

3. What do I recycle? Clean and dry plastics #1-2, paper, cardboard, glass, and metal. All materials should be free of any residual food or liquid. Blue bags and other plastic bags should not go in your cart. However, blue bags can still be used for extra recycling and should be placed next to your cart or trash can. Blue bags are serviced with your trash pickup every week. For more info on what’s recyclable, see What’s Recyclable in Truckee or download signs. Also, learn more about how to properly put out your trash and blue bags to avoid extra charges.

4. Additional cart services are available. Residents can order additional recycling carts or wildlife-resistant carts for an additional rate. A push-pull service is also available if you are unable to roll your cart in and out on your service day. Contact TTSD at 530-583-7800 for details.

Lessons From ‘Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale’

thrift store

In his new book ‘Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale,’ author Adam Minter explores the strange (and big!) world of donated items. From thrift stores in Arizona to used good markets in Ghana, he uncovers the various places where everything we donate ends up.

By following these items across the globe, Minter is taken aback by the sheer volume of goods Americans are buying new, using briefly, and then donating to thrift stores. While donating unwanted goods is an eco-friendly move, buying new, inexpensive, non-durable products is not.

In the spirit of Minter’s book, here are a few ways you can reduce your impact by changing up your purchasing habits.

Want vs. Need

As with nearly everything eco-friendly, less is more. Before you purchase a product, consider if you actually need it or just want it. Often the instant gratification of a purchase wears off quickly, leaving you with less money and more unwanted stuff.

Buy Used

Used products do:

  • Save you money
  • Support the local economy

Used products don’t:

  • Require new resources
  • Generate additional pollution
  • Need energy to be created
  • Have additional packaging

Together, these factors make buying used substantially more eco-friendly than buying new. So the next time you need to buy something, consider checking your local thrift store or online marketplace to see if you can find what you need secondhand.

Buy Durable

Can’t find what you’re looking for secondhand? Consider purchasing a durable, well-made product that will last. Oftentimes, buying a slightly more expensive product that functions better and lasts longer is less expensive — and more eco-friendly — in the long run.

Unwanted Sports Equipment? Sell or Donate It!

soccerball

Do you have unwanted sports equipment taking up precious space in your closet or garage? Here are a few ways you can clear out some space and get your gear to someone who will get it back out on the field!

Don’t Recycle

While you may be tempted to try to recycle your used equipment, you shouldn’t. Sports equipment is almost always made out of mixed materials, making it impossible to recycle. In addition, putting these items in the recycling can be damaging to equipment and dangerous for workers at recycling facilities. Instead, try selling or donating used sports equipment that’s still in usable condition. Broken equipment that can’t be reused goes into the garbage. One notable exception is sports clothing, which can be recycled through textile recycling programs if it is in too poor of a condition to sell or donate.

Sell It

Sports equipment is often quite expensive, which creates a large, active secondhand market. Follow these steps to easily sell your gear:

  1. Determine a fair price. This can be done by researching online or checking out similar items in a used gear shop.
  2. Choose a marketplace. Options include websites such as Craigslist, eBay, Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace, used gear shops such as Play It Again Sports, or local consignment shops and swap meets.

Donate It

Donating your used sports equipment can be a fulfilling (and super easy!) way to get rid of your old gear. There are many options for donating items, from our local thrift stores to national mail-in programs like Pitch In For Baseball & Softball and Level the Playing Field. Donating your equipment is an eco-friendly option that can empower others to get into sports that might otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Buy Used

Looking to go even further? The next time you need sporting equipment, use the resources mentioned above to find gear secondhand. Save a few dollars and help the environment at the same time. It’s a win-win!Most sporting equipment isn’t recyclable. Try selling or donating your gear to give it a second life and keep it out of the landfill.

Ask the Experts: What Can Be Recycled With Plastic Bags Through Store Drop-Off?

plastic film types
recycle questions

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

Q: I know that plastic grocery bags can be dropped off at certain stores for recycling. What else can I recycle in those plastic bag drop-off bins?

A: Film plastic recycling — often referred to as plastic bag recycling or store drop-off recycling — was developed to deal with the massive quantity of plastic bags being distributed at stores prior to California’s recent statewide ban. Plastic bags and other film recyclables cannot be recycled curbside because they get tangled up in the machinery at recycling facilities, endangering workers and halting the recycling process. Never put plastic bags or film in your curbside recycling bin.

Luckily, there are store drop-off locations and they can take more than just plastic grocery bags! Here’s what you can recycle in store-drop off bins:

Here are a few common items that can’t be recycled in store drop-off bins:

All items must be clean and dry to be recycled. Dirty and/or wet bags can contaminate the whole bin and keep it from being recycled.

Film plastics are recycled into new bags, packaging, or even into durable home products, such as composite lumber used to make decks and benches.

Since the plastic bag ban went into effect, some grocery stores are no longer collecting film plastics. However, Save Mart in Truckee is still collecting them.

Know of other local stores still collecting plastic bags? Send us an email!

Plastic Utensils Go in the Trash

plastic utensils

Don’t toss that plastic fork, spoon or knife into your recycling. Plastic utensils — with or without the recycling symbol — go in the garbage. Here’s why they can’t be recycled and how you can avoid using them.

Plastic utensils aren’t recyclable for two main reasons. The first reason is their small, skinny shape. When plastic utensils end up at the recycling facility, they tend to either fall through or get stuck in the machinery that sorts objects into groups of the same material. Most machinery can’t handle items smaller than 2-3 inches around, and utensils are so skinny that they fall through the equipment. Second, plastic utensils vary in plastic type. They’re commonly made of plastic #1, plastic #5, plastic #6, or bioplastic. Because they are identical in shape and size, the different types of plastic make them very difficult to sort correctly.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to the plastic utensil problem: reusable utensils! That fork or spoon that doesn’t quite match any of the others in your silverware set is the perfect candidate for a zero waste take-out kit. Keep forgetting to bring your utensils? Consider keeping a set in your purse, backpack or car. Every time you use your reusable utensils, you’ll know you’ve kept a plastic fork or spoon from forever existing in a landfill. (Not to mention saving all the resources and energy that go into producing disposable utensils!)

Do you still have some plastic utensils in your silverware drawer or the glovebox of your car? Rinse and reuse them until they break, then dispose of them in the garbage.

The Town of Truckee is currently considering strategies to reduce waste from disposable foodware items. Up for consideration is a policy that would require that disposables like utensils and straws aren’t automatically given out to customers, but only provided upon request. Learn about other policies up for consideration and how to get involved.

The Ocean Cleanup Makes Progress Toward a Plastic-Free Ocean

ocean cleanup

Photo: The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit organization started in 2013 by the young Dutch inventor Boyan Slat. Its mission is to develop technologies to remove plastic from the ocean — a massive undertaking that falls under no single country’s jurisdiction, and thus has largely been ignored until now.

There is no small amount of plastic in the ocean. Although we don’t know exactly how much, scientists have estimated that 8 million metric tons of new plastic enters the ocean each year. That’s the weight of nearly 170 fully loaded Titanics — except in lightweight plastic. In the Pacific Ocean, a lot of this plastic gets sucked into a giant vortex of trash called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The largest of five such ocean patches, it’s roughly twice the size of Texas.

To make matters worse, ocean plastics are an environmental hazard. Not only do they harm over 600 species of marine life, including whales, but they also break down into microplastics, which are difficult to collect and never truly go away. Instead, they work their way up the food chain — from plankton to fish to humans — accumulating in the body. Although we don’t yet know what the effects of microplastics are on humans, we do know that they are toxic to small organisms.

During their research, The Ocean Cleanup found that, by weight, the largest amount of plastic floating in the open seas was large debris. By removing the bulk of the plastic before it breaks down into microplastics, The Ocean Cleanup hopes to prevent a lot of microplastic pollution from happening.

The nonprofit’s ultimate goal is to reduce floating ocean plastic by 90 percent by the year 2040. In the meantime, they are trying to remove 50 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every five years through a fleet of uniquely designed systems. These systems are essentially massive U-shaped floating tubes with attached nylon screens. The ocean currents sweep plastic inside the funnels, where they are held temporarily between the net and floating tube. Every so often, a garbage ship will net the plastic debris and haul it back to shore.

Last year, The Ocean Cleanup launched its first prototype out into the Pacific Ocean. Now, only one year and one prototype later, they have returned home successful with a cache of ocean plastics.

To reduce the amount of energy, cost and manpower needed to run this operation, their design is self-operational, using natural ocean currents alone to collect the plastic.

Ocean Cleanup Diagram

Photo: The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup plans to build and launch an entire fleet of these systems into the ocean, where they can passively collect plastic trash. Once collected, they plan to recycle the trash into valuable items that can be purchased to fund the continuation of the cleanup.

Simultaneously, the nonprofit is attempting to stop plastic pollution where it starts. According to their research, approximately 80 percent of ocean plastic washes out of 1,000 rivers across the globe. They have designed and begun deploying river boats dubbed “Interceptors” that can funnel and collect trash from these rivers before it ever has the chance to enter the ocean. Two Interceptors are already operating in Indonesia and Malaysia. Over the next five years, The Ocean Cleanup plans to build and deploy a full 1,000 Interceptors — one in each of the top polluting rivers. Watch an Interceptor in action below. Still curious? Learn more about The Ocean Cleanup.

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

flowers

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

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