Truckee’s waste stream may draw daily fines in 2001
Truckee must reduce its landfill waste by at least 19 percent by 2001, or the town could face daily fines of $10,000.Passed in 1989, the Integrated Waste Management Act mandates California cities and counties to reduce the waste stream, the total amount of collected waste, by 50 percent by the year 2000.According to the Integrated Waste Management Board, 31 percent of Truckee’s waste stream was diverted or recycled in 1999 rather than buried in a landfill.In 1998 Truckee diverted 30 percent of its waste stream, in 1996-97 the town diverted 35 percent, and in 1995 the town diverted a high 38 percent.According to the board the diversion rate has declined since Truckee incorporated in 1995, which may bode poorly come 2001.However, Truckee’s Citizens Waste Management Advisory Committee reports that participation in recycling programs has increased dramatically, and in some cases doubled.With 2001 drawing near, Town Council will consider several proposed plans in their meeting tonight which may shed light on the discrepancies, and divert a financial disaster.Increase in waste streambelies recycling effortsTown Engineer Dan Wilkins explained that Truckee’s diversion rate is derived from a comparison between landfill deposits in 1995 to deposits in succeeding years.The difference, which is expressed as a percentage, varies according to recycling efforts, which include the blue bag program, composting, aggregate soil recycling and household waste recycling to name a few. It also includes minimizing the waste from simply using less.Wilkins said the reason the diversion rate has decreased in Truckee is primarily attributable to the area’s booming economy and outdated diversion rate methodologies.”The diversion rate appears to be lower because of the level of construction, and because more people have more disposable income. The methodology for reporting takes some of that into account, but not totally,” he said.Wilkins cited the development of more hotels, more tourists and more residents as partial factors for exponentially increased waste stream reports.”You generate a lot of trash when you build a house,” he said.According to Town reports Truckee generated 14,553 tons of landfill waste in 1995, 15,606 tons in 1996, 16,188 tons in 1997, some 17,802 tons in 1998 and a record 19,042 tons of waste in 1999.”There are definitely some correlations between town growth and landfill tonage in those numbers,” Wilkins said.To augment Truckee’s recycling efforts, Safeway’s composting program ships an unknown tonage of old produce to recycling centers. That tonage, along with the tonage generated by other businesses with internal recycling programs is not included in the Town’s reports to the Integrated Waste Management Board.”The Teichert Plant recycled the old bridge in Glenshire, and is using the materiel to build the 267 Bypass,” Wilkins said.In addition, there are simply more people in Truckee today. The greatest amount of expansion and growth, Wilkins added, began in 1998. Some people aren’t aware of recycling programs that are around today.Since 1995, Truckee’s waste stream has increased 24 percent.”For the year 2000 we hope to reestablish what’s going on in Truckee in terms of recycling,” Wilkins said.Town may approve added fundsThe town will vote on a 31 percent increase in funds for improved Source Reduction and Recycling Element (SRRE) programs in their regular meeting tonight.The Town will also consider updating the base year to reflect the current population of the Town.”A lot of the communities are around our diversion rate,” Beth Ingalls, chair for the Truckee Citizens Waste Management Advisory Committee said, “so the Waste Management board has to be realistic. I don’t think they’ve fined anybody yet. There is a clause included in the act that says good faith efforts will be considered to avoid fines.”To step up Truckee’s recycling efforts, the Citizens Waste Management Committee has recommended the town approve the increase in program funding, which is slated at $17,587.Moreover, the committee recommends enlisting the help of the California Waste Associates, a consulting firm the town originally hired to prepare drafts of the Integrated Waste Management Board reports, to implement source reduction programs and household hazardous waste practices.If the funding is approved, the associates will calculate a new base year waste stream that will incorporate the recycling efforts that have “slipped through the cracks,” and to assist outreach and education programs.Cooperative efforts between the citizens committee and the Waste Associates may culminate in plans to release three television advertisements professionally produced by AT&T Media Services to air on local cable channels.In addition, the firm will implement two new themes developed by the citizens committee to augment the successful “Keep Truckee Green” campaign. The two new slogans, “Put your trash can on a diet by watching your waste!” and “Keep Truckee Green by using the Blue” will appear in upcoming months.The citizens committee has also embarked on a program to encourage local schools to get more involved in recycling.Janie Collomb, a professional with years of experience in the recycling field, will work with the local elementary schools on behalf of California Waste Associates to provide information to children of all grade levels in a program titled, “Magical Kingdom of Throw it Away.”Ingalls said it is unlikely Truckee will be fined, due to its size and diversion efforts thus far.”People need to know that our trash is going somewhere else,” Ingalls said. “Recycling is really easy here. It can save money for individuals and the town. It’s really a no-brainer.”Recycling in TruckeeBlue bag recyclable materials– aluminum and metal food andbeverage cans– glass bottles and jars– plastics # 1, 2 and 3– newspaper– cardboard– office paper– magazinesBlue bags are available from– Safeway– Long’s Drugs– True Value Mountain HardwareRecyclable Drop off locations– Glenshire– Sierra Mountain Middle School– Easter Regional Landfill at CabinCreek Road– Behind SafewayThe advantage of presorting curbsiderecyclables– Reduced taxes for fewer landfilltipping fees– Cheaper trash pick-up costs– Decreased man hours for sortingfacilities– More efficient operations– Better return on recyclablesFor a list of locations approved by the state to recycle oil in the Truckee area see http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/usedoil
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