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.

How to Dispose of Amazon Packaging

amazon packaging

With the holidays around the corner, package deliveries are ramping up around the country. According to one set of numbers, during last year’s holiday rush, deliveries in the U.S. nearly doubled from an average of 45 million to 95 million packages per day.

Even without the holiday surge, online shopping generates massive amounts of packaging waste. It isn’t just cardboard anymore — over the past couple of years, Amazon has increased its reliance on lightweight plastic mailers. About half of all e-commerce transactions take place through Amazon, so how Amazon chooses to ship its products has a big impact on what ends up in our landfills.

The new plastic mailers take up less space than bulky boxes, which allows Amazon to pack more of them into delivery trucks and planes. However, plastic mailers can’t be recycled as easily as cardboard. Like plastic bags, the plastic mailers tangle up sorting machinery at recycling facilities, causing expensive delays.

How can you recycle Amazon mailers?

If the mailer is plastic on the outside with a layer bubble wrap on the inside, or if it is flexible plastic (like a plastic bag) with no layer of bubble wrap: Bring it to a plastic bag drop-off. Just remove the paper label first, since the paper and adhesive can contaminate the plastic film recycling. If you aren’t going to take it to a drop-off, toss it in the garbage.

If the mailer is paper on the outside with bubble wrap on the inside: Because it’s made of mixed materials, it can’t be recycled at all. Reuse it or toss it in the garbage.

How does plastic bag recycling drop-off work?

Certain big box stores and supermarkets put out bins for plastic bag collection near the front of their stores. Once collected, all of the plastic film is melted down and turned into materials such as composite lumber, which is used to make decks, playgrounds and park benches.

Ready to recycle those plastic mailers? Find your closest drop-off location.

How to Fix Christmas Lights

christmas lights

It’s the moment of truth every Christmas tree decorator has to face each year: When you unpack your Christmas lights, will they turn on?

If half your string of Christmas lights won’t light up, or worse yet — the entire string — don’t worry. Repairing Christmas lights is actually super easy! Watch these videos to find out how, no matter what type of lights you’re working with.

Remember: Always unplug your string lights before you start working on them! And if your string lights aren’t salvageable, here’s how to get rid of them.

How to Replace a Fuse on Any String Light (And Avoid Blowing More Fuses)

If your entire set of lights won’t turn on, or the string turns on briefly before going out, it’s likely you’ve blown a fuse. This is a super easy fix!

How to Repair Incandescent String Lights

A simple non-contact voltage tester will help you quickly find a bad bulb.

How to Repair LED String Lights With Removable Bulbs (No Fancy Tools Required)

If individual bulbs on your LED string are removable, you can use a pair of pliers to check the bulbs by hand. Because LED string lights have a different type of wiring, a regular voltage tester won’t work on them, but it doesn’t matter — broken bulbs are easy to identify when once you’ve pulled them out.

How to Repair LED String Lights With Permanent Bulbs (And a Faster Method for LED Strings With Removable Bulbs)

If you want a tool to quickly find where the current is failing, the only option currently on the market is a tool called the LED Keeper. The LED Keeper is a good tool for you if:

  • You have a lot of LED string lights to repair;
  • Your LED string lights have 100+ lights in them; or
  • The bulbs in your LED string lights are not removable.

The LED Keeper gives you a way to find and bypass any broken bulbs in your LED string.

Paper Egg Cartons Are Recyclable

paper egg carton

Paper egg cartons are recyclable!

To recycle your egg cartons, make sure they are clean and dry. If you place eggs back in the carton after cracking them, the carton is no longer recyclable due to the food residue. Food residue will contaminate the recycling process.

Paper egg cartons are a more eco-friendly choice than either plastic or foam egg cartons. Why? Not only are they recyclable, they’re also made from paper that has already been recycled. They are biodegradable, too!

Learn more about paper egg cartons.

10 Ways to Cut Pounds — of Waste! — This Thanksgiving

thanksgiving pie

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and we all know how labor-intensive preparing the big meal can be. But we’re not always aware of how much extra waste we create!

On average, household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the EPA. We become so busy during the holidays, it can easily become a time to think less and waste more.

This Thanksgiving, try out these tips to keep some of those extra pounds of waste out of the landfill.

1. Remember to bring your reusable bags when grocery shopping, including reusable produce bags.

2. Choose products that have minimal packaging, or packaging that can be recycled. It’s easier to avoid waste by shopping from fresh produce sections, bulk bins and farmer’s markets. Also, food cans are more eco-friendly than plastic packaging, but they aren’t as green as fresh produce brought home in a reusable produce bag.

3. At home, skip the aluminum pan and use a roasting pan instead. A roasting pan will last for a long time, and the aluminum trays getting tossed around the nation add up quickly.

4. Break out your reusable dishes and silverware for the holiday instead of using disposable plates.

5. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins — you’ll add elegance and reduce waste at the same time.

6. When serving beverages, opt for tap water over bottled water — you can add some lemon or cucumber slices to jazz it up. You can also make holiday beverages like apple cider, spiced wine or sangria in bulk, instead of serving individual beverage containers.

7. Avoid plastic wrap when storing leftovers by using food storage containers instead.

8. Use natural objects such as gourds, cinnamon sticks, acorns and pinecones to brighten your space instead of shopping for store-bought decor. If you’re feeling crafty, here are some additional ideas from Pinterest:

9. If you’re planning some crafts for the kiddos in your family, recruit them to help make upcycled holiday decor by cutting shapes out of old newspaper, wrapping paper or construction paper.

10. Remember to recycle! If you’re not sure if something belongs in your recycling, just look it up in our Recycling Guide!

As important as it is to reduce waste and recycle, no matter how you choose to celebrate, remember to be thankful for who you’re with and all that you have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

5 Reasons to Recycle for America Recycles Day

recycling

What if you knew there was something easy you could do every day that creates jobs while saving money, energy and water? Actually, there is: Recycling!

To celebrate America Recycles Day, check out these 5 reasons why we should all be recycling, every chance we get.

1. Recycling keeps trash out of the landfill.

According to the EPA, in the U.S. we are currently able to keep 35 percent of our trash out of landfills and incinerators through recycling and composting. In California, we manage to keep 44 percent of our trash out of the landfill. That’s a good start, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. It’s important to keep as much material out of the landfill as possible because all items that we produce are made from valuable and limited resources. We want to hang onto as much of it as we can for future use.

2. Recycling reduces our need for new raw materials.

Extracting raw materials from the environment is expensive. It also uses up a lot of water and energy. When we recycle, we extract less, which conserves many of our precious (and finite!) natural resources, including trees, water, oil and metals. The more we recycle, the more we protect our resources!

3. Recycling conserves energy.

Recycling saves a lot of energy. Every year, recyclers across the country save the same amount of energy it would take to power 14 million homes for a full year. That’s the equivalent of turning off the power for one out of every 10 homes for an entire year.

4. Recycling creates jobs.

In the U.S., recycling and reuse activities provide 757,000 jobs and produce $36 billion in wages each year. Choosing to recycle isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for the economy too.

5. Recycling reduces pollution.

The process of extracting raw materials can produce a lot of pollution. Because more recycling means less extraction, it also means less pollution. Even better, when we recycle more, we send less material to landfills. Material decaying in landfills often emits methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide, so the less of that, the better!

How Can You Recycle Correctly?

It’s important to recycle correctly! Items that don’t belong in the recycling can damage sorting machinery, causing expensive delays. Also, when the wrong materials get mixed in with the right ones (known as “contamination” in the recycling world), it reduces the value of other recyclables that were sorted correctly.

So how can you find out how to recycle correctly? By using our searchable Recycling Guide. Simply look up any item in our Recycling Guide, and you’ll find tips on recycling, reusing and reducing that item.

Happy recycling!

How to Fix a Hole in a Sweater (Video)

Winter is well on its way, but what if your sweaters aren’t ready for sweater weather?

There’s no need to toss a sweater over small holes. Check out this DIY tutorial to see how you can fix them, and by the time you’re done your sweater will be almost as good as new!

Daylight Saving Time: Time to Make Sure Your Smoke Detector Is Working Properly

smoke detector

November 3 is the end of Daylight Saving Time, which means we have to move the clocks back an hour. Daylight Saving Time is the perfect time to maintenance your smoke detectors!

The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. When it comes to fire safety, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

It’s easy to make sure your smoke detector is working properly! Here’s how:

1. Test your smoke detectors once a month. Push the test button to make sure the alarm is working. If it isn’t working, try changing the batteries before replacing the alarm itself.

2. Change the smoke detector battery at least once a year. Find out how to dispose of batteries. If your smoke detector has a lithium battery, you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery. Instead, replace the entire smoke alarm as needed, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Replace your smoke detectors every 10 years. Smoke alarms do not last forever. If you have an alarm that is 10 years old or older, replace it with a new alarm. Find out: Remove each smoke alarm from the wall or ceiling and look on the back to find the date of manufacture. If it is older than 10 years, it needs to be replaced. If it is less than 10 years old, put it back on the ceiling or wall.

What do I do with an old smoke detector?

If you have a photoelectric smoke detector, you can dispose of it as e-waste.

However, most home alarms are ionization smoke detectors, which means they contain a small amount of radioactive material. Dispose of these smoke detectors carefully, as follows:

Toss Those Halloween Candy Wrappers

halloween candy

Halloween is fast approaching, and as you work your way through the never-ending supply of candy, remember that candy wrappers are not recyclable. They need to be thrown in the trash.

Candy wrappers can’t be recycled because they are made of a mix of materials — often a combination of paper, plastic and aluminum — that are difficult and expensive to separate.

However, if you’re organizing a big halloween party, and there’s going to be a ton of candy, consider ordering a TerraCycle Candy and Snack Wrappers Zero Waste Box. This way the wrappers can be mailed in to be recycled through TerraCycle’s special program.