Celebrate Learn About Composting Day

compost

Do you wish there was an easy way to turn your food scraps into something more sustainable rather than throwing them away? Composting is a fantastic way to save food scraps, yard waste and other organics from going to the landfill while reducing your carbon footprint. The practice of composting helps to:

  • Reduce methane emissions from landfills.
  • Reduce the need for harsh chemicals and pesticides.
  • Create healthy soil for growing food and flowers.

Learn About Composting Day on Friday, May 29th is the perfect opportunity to get your hands a little dirty and find out if composting is right for you. Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Make Your Own Compost – Start by checking out our composting page which has all the resources you need to get started with home composting today. Looking for more information on composting? YouTube has tons of videos on more types of composting than you can imagine.
  • Talk with Farmers Market Vendors – Get curious about the food you’re eating and ask what practices farms are using on their crops. Many farmers love to talk about the hard work they put into creating delicious and nutritious produce.

Not interested in home composting? You can still make a difference by keeping organics out of the garbage. See everything that can be composted at the Town hall compost drop-off.

Tossing Takeout Containers — Garbage or Recycling?

takeout box

Ordering takeout from time to time during the COVID-19 pandemic is a great way to eat your favorite food while supporting local restaurants. You will, however, end up with a few containers that need to be disposed of properly. Here’s a simple guide on how to dispose of each type of takeout container in Truckee.

*Only plastic containers #1 & 2 are recyclable. Check the bottom for a number inside a recycling symbol.
**ALL food residue must be removed. Container must be clean and dry to be recycled!

*ALL food residue must be removed. Container must be clean and dry to be recycled!

*Most cardboard containers have a plastic coating which makes them not recyclable.
**Only CLEAN and DRY paper and cardboard can be recycled. If there is food or liquid contamination, this must go in the trash.

*Styrofoam must always go in the trash.

*Only CLEAN and DRY paper and cardboard can be recycled. If there is food or liquid contamination, this must go in the trash.

Need to dispose of plastic bags, plastic utensils or other items not listed above? Check out our handy Recycling Guide.

Green Waste Disposal Options

Green Waste

Creating defensible space is everyone’s responsibility in Truckee to keep our community safe from wildfires. Reduce the fuel by collecting branches, twigs, dead wood, shrubs, pine needles, and pine cones. Once you have created the defensible space, it is important to know how to get rid of this material in an adequate manner.

These four options are available to dispose of wildfire fuel:

  1. Self-Haul to Eastern Regional Landfill
    punch cardERL is now open to the public! Residents can drop off up to 6-yards of green waste for FREE with proof of residency or punch card. Hours are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm. Face coverings are required for entry and only credit card payments accepted. New social distancing measures are in place, please have patience as wait times may be longer than usual.

    NEW THIS YEAR: Address-specific punch cards will be given to residents to track yards dropped off. Proof of residency is required for issuance, including a photo ID and proof of residency (i.e. utility bill). Punch card is required when returning to dump additional yard waste. Punch cards will not be replaced, so store yours safely in your wallet or purse!

    Good news: these cards are transferable! Now you can easily have a contractor, friend, or relative drop-off materials on your behalf for free.

  2. Drop-off Events

    FREE residential yard waste drop-off events will take place on May 22, May 29, June 19, and June 26 at the Truckee Rodeo Grounds. (NOT Glenshire or Tahoe Donner Clubhouse, as previously stated in information mailed out!) Please limit loads to no more than 3-yards per trip. To facilitate unloading, position a tarp on the
    bottom of the truck bed or trailer before loading the material. If material is transported in bags, the bags must be emptied on site and removed by the hauler.

    Acceptable items: residential green waste, biomass consisting of all tree and plant trimmings, weeds, leaves, and branches.

    Prohibited items: commercial green waste, rounds larger than 24 inches, stumps, rocks, boards, and trash.

    Additional details may be found at ReadyNevadaCounty.com/greenwaste

  3. Yard Waste Cart Service
    Cart collection takes place every-other-week, now extended into November. Never miss a pickup: view a service calendar or sign up for email reminders before every pickup.
  4. Dumpster Rentals + Rebate
    Rent a 6-yard green waste dumpster for a week for only $81.28. Bins are delivered to your property on a Wednesday and retrieved full the following Wednesday. Loose material only- do not bag! Call TTSD for availability at (530) 583-7800.Truckee Fire Protection District Defensible Space Rebate Program will reimburse you $75! Simply provide a paid receipt from TTSD. One dumpster rebate per household, until program funds last or until September 1st.

Avoid Food Waste, Save Money

banana

With the COVID-19 pandemic closing many of the places we are accustomed to getting our meals, home cooking is having an unexpected moment. More home cooking means more opportunities to reduce food waste — and save money at the same time. According to the USDA, the average American wastes 238 pounds of food per year — 21 percent of the food we buy — costing $1,800 per year. That’s a lot of cheddar! The good news is that most food waste is avoidable. Plus, many food scraps, like carrot tops or vegetable ends, can be saved and used further to make food like carrot top pesto or vegetable broth.

Check out this video for some tips on how to use all your food, and use it well.

A couple easy tips to use it all and use it well:

1. Make a list of groceries in order of which will go bad first so you make sure to eat them in time.

2. Learn storage tips to keep your food stay fresh longer at
https://savethefood.com/storage

3. Use your freezer to save it for later

4. Get creative with your leftovers (like making carrot top pesto or vegetable broth!)

5. Compost anything inedible at the compost drop-off behind Town Hall

Eco-Conscious and Socially Distanced Ideas for Mother’s Day

mother's day card

May 10th offers a chance to show the moms of our lives just how much we appreciate them. Unlike in years past, social distancing is a factor this year. While this adds an extra challenge, it also provides a great opportunity to get creative.

Here are four ideas that are eco-friendly, keep you and your family safe and are sure to make mom smile:

  1. (Face)Time Together – What greater gift than spending quality time together? Since this won’t be possible for most of us this year, try setting up a video call instead. There are a plethora of options for video calls from FaceTime to Google Hangouts — so ask if she has a preference and agree on a time.
  2. Digital Photo Album – Upload a collection of family photos to a digital album or even make a slideshow, then send via email to mom. If you’re already planning on sending a greeting card you could include the photos on a memory card tucked inside.
  3. Greeting Card – Buy a greeting card at the store or make your own at home. Most greeting cards can be easily recycled, and some brands even make recycled-content options – just look on the back of the card to find out. Other eco-friendly options include making a homemade card or sending an eCard. Musical Greeting Cards are not the most eco-friendly option but if you send one remind your mom that they should be recycled as e-waste.
  4. Send a Plant – If you can’t buy flowers due to store closures or are looking for a more sustainable option, consider a potted plant that can be enjoyed for years. Shops on websites such as Etsy have lots of plant and pot options and most are still open because they are operated from home.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

The Compounding Effects of Not Recycling

plastic bottles

With the amount of garbage being generated around the globe every day, not recycling an item such as a soda bottle may not seem like it would make a huge difference. However, every item that doesn’t get recycled has a compounding negative impact on our environment. Here’s how failing to recycle harms the planet:

Landfills Fill Up Faster

When recyclable items are tossed into the garbage instead of the recycling, they eventually end up in landfills. These items take up valuable space that could otherwise be occupied by non-recyclable materials. According to data from Waste Business Journal, American landfills only have about 11-16 years of capacity left. Once our existing landfills reach capacity, new areas will have to be repurposed to create new landfills. These repurposed areas are often rural areas with native vegetation that could otherwise be working to sequester carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In urban areas, creating new landfills is also difficult, because land is at a premium, and no community wants their new neighbor to be a landfill.

Greenhouse Gases Are Released

Plastic items in the landfill release methane and other harmful greenhouse gases as they break down. These gases trap heat in our atmosphere and lead to the warming of our planet. Recycling prevents this by giving these materials a new life and keeping them out of landfills.

Toxins Can Leach Into Soil and Groundwater

In addition to emitting greenhouse gases, plastics can also leach chemicals into the soil and groundwater as they decompose. The long-term health risks associated with these chemicals are still being determined, but scientists have determined that they can significantly alter hormones in animals and humans.

New Resources Are Required

Creating a new item requires a certain amount of material. When recycling is done right, the materials needed to make that item can be sourced partially or entirely from recycled material. When items are thrown into the garbage, those materials are lost and need to be replaced by new material through mining, drilling or other methods of resource extraction. To give this issue a little perspective, think of how much plastic was probably produced between 1900 and 2000. In the ten years from 2000 to 2010 alone, we produced even more plastic than in the entire previous century. With so much demand for plastic, it’s more important than ever to recycle.

The good news? These effects can be easily avoided through recycling! Use our Recycling Guide to find out how to properly dispose of just about everything. Making sure your recyclables are clean and dry ensures they don’t end up in landfill. A little extra effort put into recycling correctly will make a big difference for our planet in the long run.

Our Food: Use it All, Use it Well

For Earth Week, celebrate by learning how you can prevent food waste at home. When food goes to waste, it emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas that heavily contributes to climate change. Besides that, you’re not just wasting food, but all of the time and energy that goes into food production as well.

Watch the video below to learn what you can do to prevent your food from going to waste:

A couple easy tips to use it all and use it well:

1. Make a list of groceries in order of which will go bad first so you make sure to eat them in time.

2. Learn storage tips to keep your food stay fresh longer at savethefood.com/storage

3. Use your freezer to save it for later

4.  Get creative with your leftovers (like making carrot top pesto or vegetable broth!)

5. Compost anything inedible at the compost drop-off behind Town Hall

How to Boredom Clean During a Pandemic

spray cleaner

Odds are you’ve found yourself with a little extra time at home because of the current global pandemic. This extra time might be inspiring you to clean out areas of your home that you just haven’t had the time to for a while — a phenomenon known as Boredom Cleaning. Here are a few things to consider before cleaning out the attic, reorganizing the garage or clearing out the yard.

Avoid Dropping Off Extra Garbage

Sanitation workers have been hard at work keeping garbage and recycling from piling up throughout this crisis. However, the crisis has put an additional strain on the sanitation system. For both your own safety and the safety of the individuals who are hard at work keeping this essential service going, please wait until stay-at-home orders are lifted before doing a non-essential run to drop off garbage.

To protect workers as well as the public, Eastern Regional Landfill is closed to the public until further notice. ERL is only open to Essential Businesses as defined by the Governor’s Executive Order. Find the most up-to-date information regarding ERL’s closure.

Request a Curbside Collection

Although Eastern Regional Landfill is closed to the public, residents may still request curbside services including scheduled trash overages, bulky item pickups, and debris box rentals. Scheduled trash overages include up to 3 extra bags/cans collected with your regular trash. Bulky item pickups include one large item under a 200 lb weight limit. Additionally, for larger clean-ups, debris box rentals are available for delivery to your home. Capacities include 6, 20, and 30-yard bins.

Learn how to schedule a trash overage or bulky item pickup.

To order a debris box, call TTSD customer service at (530) 583-7800.

Reduced rate yard waste dumpster rentals will also be available starting May 1st. Reservations can be made ahead of time also by calling TTSD at (530) 583-7800.

Learn how to properly place your trash for curbside collection to avoid overage charges.

Keep Items Inside the Bins

During this time of heightened health precautions, it’s more important than ever that all the items that belong in the bins go only into the bins. Many boredom cleaners are putting extra garbage in bags or piles next to their bins. These loose materials require garbage collectors to touch additional surfaces, exposing them to unnecessary risk.

Store Hazardous Waste and E-Waste for Now, Dispose Later

If you are cleaning out the garage or shed you may be dealing with hazardous waste and e-waste. It’s important that these materials are stored correctly for now, and disposed of correctly after this current health crisis is over. Eastern Regional Landfill’s Hazardous Waste Collection Events are also suspended until further notice. Items such as antifreeze, aerosol cans, batteries, electronics and small appliances are illegal to put in the garbage or pour down the drain. Remember to store fuels, aerosols and any other combustible items out of direct sunlight in a well-ventilated area until stay-at-home orders are lifted, when they can be properly disposed of as hazardous waste.

Upcycle, Recycle or Donate

Consider using your extra downtime to recycle and repurpose items. That old decrepit wheelbarrow could make a cool new planter bed. That empty pickle jar could be transformed into a neat container for nuts, beans or grains. Websites like Instructables and Upcycle That have an abundance of interesting upcycling ideas — the sky is the limit when it comes to repurposing items. Ready to get rid of an item but not sure how to dispose of it? Check out our handy Recycling Guide. Have items in usable condition that you no longer want? Store them in a bag or container until stay-at-home orders have been lifted and thrift stores have re-opened.

“Flushable” Wipes — and Almost Everything Else — Are Not Flushable

bathroom

Here is a simple truth. Sewer systems were designed to handle two things — human waste and toilet paper. Flushing anything else down the toilet can cause big problems for pipes and wastewater treatment facilities.

Wipes — and yes, even those labeled “flushable” — have been enemy number one of sewer systems for years now. With the COVID-19 outbreak, wipes are flying off the shelves. Flushing wipes increases the chances that your own pipes will get blocked, and causes serious problems for the sewer system in general. So no matter what the container says, please do not flush wipes.

The What Not To Flush list is very long… because it’s everything other than human waste and toilet paper! Here are some commonly-flushed items, as a reminder that none of these are actually flushable:

Egg-cellent Natural Dyes for Your Easter Eggs

dyed eggs

Coloring some eggs for Easter this year? The fewer chemicals we consume, the fewer chemicals end up in our environment and bodies, so here’s some info on how to skip chemical dyes and make the switch to natural.

If you want to do natural dyes the easy way, look for plant-based dye at the grocery store, box store or online. It’s no longer hard to find!

Here’s how you know if the dyes you’re looking at are really natural:

  • They will contain ingredients that are the names of plants or plant extracts, such as beet juice, spirulina or turmeric.
  • They won’t contain any ingredients that are the names of primary colors, such as red, blue or yellow. These are called FD&C colors and they are synthetic, man-made dyes.

If you want to get even more into natural Easter egg dyes, make your own! Watch this video from Kitchn to learn how, or check out their written recipes.

And don’t forget: Whether you’re going with real eggs or plastic eggs this Easter, remember to look up proper disposal instructions in our Recycling Guide.