Tahoe garbage outfit says it will stop pine needle practice | SierraSun.com

Tahoe garbage outfit says it will stop pine needle practice

Jeff Munson
Sun News Service

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ” A way of making shortcuts along some South Tahoe Refuse garbage route stops has been a source of concern from at least one homeowner, with the company in charge of picking up waste saying they will put an end to the practice.

According to South Shore resident Richard Kahn, there has been a practice among some garbage collectors of putting pine needles inside bear-proof trash containers in front of vacation homes.

The practice, Kahn contends, is a method where trash collectors see the pine needles as a “flag” and therefore won’t stop along the route to check the container because the pine needles would tell them there’s no garbage in the bear box for pick up.

The practice is ripe for thieves who wish to burglarize homes, Kahn says.

“Vacation homeowners would be leery of putting a bear box in if it is only going to tell criminals houses are vacant,” Kahn said.

According to Tahoe Truckee SIerra Disposal, North Shore drivers in Truckee and Tahoe City have been disciplined if they used such “I’m not home” marks, including “Yes” or “No” signs that had been used in areas like Tahoe-Donner, where many second-home owners live.

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Kahn said he noticed the South Shore practice while going on routine neighborhood walks.

Management at South Tahoe Refuse has been made aware of the complaint and the practice has ended, said Bob Rockwell, route supervisor.

“South Tahoe Refuse has addressed the problem and will check every enclosure every week,” Rockwell said. To be sure, Rockwell said he now personally checks all routes to make sure there are no pine needles left in bear boxes.

“My drivers got wind of the concern and now check every enclosure every week,” he said.