Shredded Paper Is Difficult to Recycle

Shredded paper is a recycling conundrum! It is technically recyclable, but because of how tiny it is, it’s easy for it to slip through the paper separator at a recycling facility.

Shredding paper also shortens its fibers, which reduces the paper’s potential for future use. Shredded paper fibers are almost too small to be useful or valuable to recyclers. It’s also possible for shredded paper to contaminate the recycling process by slipping past the paper-making screens.

So how do you make sure shredded paper gets recycled? The most effective way is to pack it into a paper bag and staple the bag shut. You can also add your shredded paper to your home compost instead of recycling it.

Ultimately, the best way to solve the shredded paper conundrum is to limit how much paper you shred in the first place. Only shred the portions of papers that contain sensitive information.

The Next Time You Go Camping, Skip the Trash — Here’s How

There’s nothing like a trip into the great outdoors to help you unwind, reset and reconnect with Mother Nature. Unfortunately, a camping trip can also create a lot of waste, which isn’t so good for her.

In Yosemite National Park alone, visitors generate 2,200 tons of garbage annually. That’s the pound-for-pound equivalent of about 15 blue whales.

The good news is that you don’t have to give up on your time in nature to reduce the waste you leave behind. Instead, try these tips to reduce your footprint the next time you’re venturing outdoors — you’ll even save money in the long run.

1. Leave excess packaging at home. Bring as little packaging on your trip as possible. Toss as much as you can before you leave home — this way, you won’t risk accidentally leaving it behind as litter. You can also reduce the amount of packaging waste you generate in the first place by avoiding single-use items such as water bottles, and opting for products that come in bulk or that use minimal packaging to begin with.

2. Refill as much as you can. Bring reusable and refillable items on your trip instead of disposable ones. Reusable bags, travel mugs, cookware, food containers and utensils will all save on waste. You can even refill cooking gas canisters. Find a retailer such as Ace Hardware or REI who will refill your gas canisters through the Refuel Your Fun program.

3. Recharge as much as you can. Choose electronics that run on rechargeable batteries instead of ones that require disposable batteries. Lanterns, flashlights and headlamps tend to come in both varieties, and it’s easy to pack portable chargers to keep them running instead of relying on fresh batteries that will soon need to be tossed.

4. Pack out trash. This is easier said than done. A lot of folks are tempted to leave some item or other on the trail or in the wilderness that won’t biodegrade quickly — or ever. You can avoid this by packing a couple of bags to collect your trash and recycling, and remember not to feed leftover food to wild animals.

5. Dispose of items correctly. Rules for recycling and disposal are different in every area, so either check for information on a local website or look for clear signage at disposal bins. Otherwise, you can always bring your waste home with you to dispose of correctly there.

6. Donate unwanted gear. Some people will leave unneeded gear roadside when they don’t need it after a camping trip. Even if there are items that you can’t bring home with you due to flight restrictions or other reasons, consider donating them to a local organization instead of abandoning them outside. You can avoid this problem in the future by renting gear you don’t want to keep instead of buying it.

What Is Plastic?

Everyone has been talking about plastic lately, but how well do we actually understand plastic? Learn what plastic is and how it’s made by watching this video by National Geographic.

Old Dishes Are Not Recyclable — Here’s How to Get Rid Them


At some point in time, we all end up with dishes and glassware we don’t need. Some things break, others get lost, people move and needs change. Whether they’re family hand-me-downs or an incomplete set, here’s what you can do with unwanted dishes:

Toss all broken items. If dishes are broken, or have bad chips, cracks or stains, toss them. Wrap any sharp edges or pieces in newspaper, place them in a plastic bag, label them as “broken glass,” and throw them away. Broken glass is never recyclable because it’s a hazard for sanitation workers to handle it.

Glassware and Pyrex can be donated or tossed. Glassware and Pyrex are not recyclable. They have different melting points than regular glass jars and bottles, and they can contaminate an entire batch of recycled glass. Donate any items that are reusable. Otherwise, be sure to toss them.

Ceramic items can be donated or tossed. Ceramic items cannot be recycled at most facilities, though sometimes facilities that recycle bricks and concrete will recycle ceramics. If your ceramic dishes are reusable, donate them!

Vintage china can often be sold. Try selling your china to an organization such as International Association of Dinnerware Matchers or Replacements, Ltd.

Upcycle! There are dozens of ways to upcycle old dishes. Check out Pinterest for inspiration.

June Is the Last Month Yard Waste Will Be Collected in Green Bags

Make yard work wheel fun

This is the last month for Truckee residents to put out green bags for yard waste! Beginning July 1, 2018, you will no longer be able to dispose of yard waste in green bags. This is part of our commitment to prevent up to three million plastic bags from being landfilled over the next 10 years. You can dispose of yard waste going forward in any of the following three ways:

1. If you have opted into the New Service Changes, you will receive your yard waste carts during the beginning of June, and your Yard Waste Cart Service will start in July. If you haven’t opted in yet, make your cart selections here. If you have already reserved your new yard waste cart, find out when it will arrive.

2. You’ll have the option to rent six-yard dumpsters at a discounted rate. These dumpsters allow residents to remove waste efficiently. Dumpsters must be reserved in advance. Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal will drop off a dumpster at your house and pick it up after one week. This program has been so successful bins have been selling out. The new contract will increase the number of dumpsters available to residents to make this option more accessible.

3. You may drop off up to six yards of yard waste for free at the Eastern Regional Landfill. The New Service Changes will also allow a contractor or friend to drop off yard waste for free on your behalf by providing a unique customer code. Codes will be provided on the new online customer service system.

Volunteer as a Keep Truckee Green Ambassador!

The Town of Truckee is looking for Keep Truckee Green Ambassadors this summer. Volunteers will be educating residents and visitors about recycling and composting in Truckee during Truckee Thursday events. They will be positioned around the event near waste stations to help ensure that all participants know how to sort their waste at the event and at home. All ages can participate; volunteers under 18 will must have a waiver signed by their parent/guardian. 

Truckee Thursday runs from June 14 through August 23 and each evening is divided into two shifts: 4:45-7:00 and 6:45-9:00. Volunteers can sign up for shifts HERE

Questions? Email 

El Pueblo de Truckee busca embajadores de Keep Truckee Green para este verano. Los voluntarios van a enseñar residentes y visitantes sobre el reciclaje y compost en Truckee durante Truckee Thursdays. Serán posicionados cerca de los estaciones de desechos para asegurar que los participantes soben como clasificar sus desechos en Truckee Thursdays y en casa. Todos pueden participar; voluntarios menores de 18 años necesitan una forma firmado por un padre/guardián.

Truckee Thursdays comienzan el 14 de junio y terminan el 23 de agosto. Cada noche está dividida en dos partes: uno 4:45 a 7:00 y 6:45 a 9:00. Registra para turnos AQUÍ.

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Nonprofit Tackles the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit, hopes to have most of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch removed in the next 20 years.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating patch of swirling plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean. It’s the largest hub of plastic debris in our oceans, approximately twice the size of Texas. While plastic floats in the ocean, it breaks down into microplastics and is eaten by wildlife. Slowly, these microplastics work their way up the food chain and into our bodies.

The Ocean Cleanup’s CEO, 23-year-old Boyan Slat, started working on a plan to remove plastic from the ocean as a teenager. After a scuba diving trip where he realized just how much plastic was in the ocean, he began working on a prototype for a high school science project. Now, with $40 million in funding, Slat plans to launch his first open ocean test from the shores of Alameda, Calif., in July 2018.

The strategy of the cleanup is to drop large, U-shaped floating tubes into the Pacific Ocean to act as trash funnels. The tubes will be 2,000 feet long and have attached nylon screens. The ocean currents will sweep plastic inside the funnels, and every two months, a garbage ship will net the plastic debris floating inside the “U” and haul it back to shore. These tubes are net-free and designed to retain plastic debris without harming wildlife.

The Ocean Cleanup estimates they will be able to collect as much as 50 percent of the plastic debris in five years, and 90 percent in 20 years.

Learn more about The Ocean Cleanup in this video from ABC7 News, or learn more about how to reduce plastic waste.

Driving Fast Costs More Than You Think

You might think that since driving faster saves you time on the road, it saves you gas as well. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

The EPA has found that every car has a peak fuel efficiency around 50 mph. When you drive over — or under — 50 mph, you aren’t getting as many miles per gallon. Instead, you’re paying more to drive the same distance. According to, a site run by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy, there’s a different way to evaluate your fuel costs.

For the average Californian, every 5 mph over 50 mph is essentially costing you an extra $0.25 per gallon. At 70 mph, you are spending about $1 extra per gallon of gas. As if that weren’t enough, speeding, rapid acceleration and rapid breaking could cost you an additional $1 per gallon. Driving slower than 50 mph costs more per gallon, too. Use this simple tracker from to find out how much it costs to drive your specific vehicle at different speeds.

Consider driving at a relaxed pace on the highway and walking or bicycling if you’re traveling around town. Not only will you save money, you’ll also help the environment. Reducing gas consumption reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions. Learn other simple ways to improve your fuel efficiency with this list of tips from

Do You Have the Right to Repair Your Own Electronics?

Apple, Microsoft, Verizon and a host of other tech companies all have something in common: They don’t want you to repair your damaged devices on your own. You might think that buying a TV or a smartphone gives you the right to fix it — or at least to bring it to a knowledgeable, independent repair shop. Currently, however, that isn’t how most tech companies see it.

From a manufacturer’s perspective, providing you or your repairperson the parts and information needed to repair your devices is an act of leaking valuable intellectual property. It may make them vulnerable to hackers interested in exploiting this knowledge or stealing data from users. Unfortunately, the result of such policies is that manufacturing companies now have a monopoly on repairs. With this kind of monopoly, repairs are typically more expensive or unavailable, forcing consumers to replace old devices at a rapid rate. The unnecessary electronic waste this policy creates is extensive. Additionally, independent repair shops that used to thrive are now struggling to stay open.

Across the country, legislators are proposing bills that would grant the “Right to Repair.” If these laws pass, they will require electronics manufacturers to offer any necessary tools, parts and repair guides for all of their products. Consumers will have more affordable repair options, and the amount of devices tossed each year could decrease significantly. In California, a Right to Repair Act has been introduced by Assemblymember Susan Eggman of Stockton. Learn more about this ongoing issue from Consumer Reports.