One person’s trash… |

One person’s trash…

When Tahoe Donner Maintenance Manager Al Salas ended up with over 135 leftover light bulbs, he didn’t look to the landfill to trash them. Instead he listed the bulbs on a new Internet clearinghouse for local reusable materials. The move to post the bulbs on Truckee Max could net the Tahoe Donner Association over $100, provide buyers with an inexpensive alternative to new light bulbs, and give the second life to usable materials otherwise destined for the landfill.Those are exactly the goals of Truckee Max, a division of the statewide material exchange program Cal Max. Truckee is the first town in the state to create its own division of the program that places reusable materials that would otherwise be discarded into the hands of homeowners or businesses that can use them.While Truckee Max is just getting off the ground, the broader Nevada County exchange site hawks everything from a 1980 Volvo body to computer monitors – some for a small fee and some for free.

Salas said he plans to use the material exchange Web site, which is also distributed in a classified-style publication, to find a buyer for restaurant equipment from the old Tahoe Donner golf course clubhouse. “We’re going to be putting more things on there shortly,” said Salas.The exchange presents a better alternative to a landfill or recycling yard, where he would get little or no money for the equipment, said Salas.”If we didn’t get a buyer for it we would have to get it disposed of somehow,” he said.Truckee Max was launched about a month ago through the efforts of the Truckee Citizens Waste Advisory Committee, a group that has worked on recycling and waste reduction since 1999. Town Councilwoman Beth Ingalls, who has been a part of the committee since its inception, said the site has the potential to significantly reduce building and remodel waste in town.

“Construction and demolition is a huge part of our waste stream that is hard to divert,” she said.The material exchange site adds a convenient avenue for material reuse that has lately been a part of large projects like the Northstar Village construction. But East West Partners, the developers of the village, had to bring in an outside contractor to deconstruct the old Northstar village and assemble the materials for reuse. The new Web portal provides the opportunity for everyone from large businesses to do-it-yourself handymen to reduce material disposal and cut costs at the same time, said Ingalls.The utilization of Truckee Max could help the town continue a trend of increasing waste consciousness, she said.Salas, also a member of the citizens waste committee, said the main reason people have not caught onto the fledgling material exchange site is because they are not aware of it.

“It could be [popular], if people were to recognize us and know that we are here,” he said. “Not many people know about Truckee Max.”But the site’s anonymity shouldn’t last long once people learn it’s cheaper and easier than hauling reusable materials to the transfer station, and it’s a great place to find appliances, windows or doors for little or nothing.Check it outGo to the Truckee Max site at You can also access the site off of a link from the Town of Truckee’s home page at Check out the larger state site and access the Nevada County and Truckee site through

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