Talking Truckee trash | SierraSun.com

Talking Truckee trash

Penny Watne

Can you answer these five questions? What kind of bags are used for gathering up your recyclables? What number plastics can you put in your recycle bags? Is Styrofoam a recyclable? If you dont recycle, will they separate it out later? Where is our trash taken?Not so sure about the answers? Most residents arent. Yet, we rely on this fundamental service to relieve us of our refuse each and every week. While it may be out of sight, it should not be out of mind. Our local transfer station on Cabin Creek Road off Highway 89 is state of the art, and is improving almost daily. Did you notice I didnt call it a dump? Thats because the trash is not dumped there. It is only the first stop in our garbages travels. When it arrives at the transfer station, it is taken to the appropriate sorting area (warehouse), put on a conveyer belt and gone through to collect any additional recyclable items. For residential, and the majority of businesses, the refuse is put on the same belt and the bags are cut open and gone through to find recyclable items residents have neglected to put in recycle bags. So, what is an acceptable recycle bag? They must be a transparent blue bag that is sturdy enough to hold glass and other heavy items. Hefty and Glad make these. Acceptable bags are available at local Safeway, Albertsons, Longs, and hardware stores. If youd like to purchase them in bulk (100 for $24.50) they are available at Truckee River Supply Company 587-8658.Items that can be put into these bags are: Number 1 and 2 plastics (these would include: milk jugs, soda bottles, and detergent-type bottles). The number is located on the bottom of every plastic container. Aluminum cans (not foil, or foil pie tins , etc.) Tin cans Glass (all colors) Cardboard (if too large, just bundle together and place next to recycle bags) Paper (newspaper, copy, mail, and office-type)Residents are not charged for collection of these bags, so if you are currently paying for three or four cans each week, you can reduce your costs dramatically, possibly down to one can. All trash arrives at the transfer station intermingled and the recycle bags are separated out during the day as they are placed on the belt. The belt is slowed down at 2 p.m. each day and the recycle bags are then gone through. Currently, upwards of 90 percent of qualifying material is recovered. At this time, plastics with numbers 3-7 are not able to generate even enough revenue to cover the labor costs involved in recovery. The plastics with numbers 1-2 are highly recyclable in part due to government subsidies. Citizens input could change this situation and influence product manufacturers practices in the future. All refuse that can not be recycled is trucked off to Lockwood, Nev., as is Sacramentos, much of Californias, and two other states. This is because current environmental restrictions regarding landfills make them virtually impossible to establish in California. Nevada has more lenient guidelines.Our transfer station has recently upgraded the construction materials warehouse to make it more efficient. In fact, our transfer station currently recycles 30 percent of the refuse that passes through the facility, and by this summer that number will rise to 40 percent. The state requires only 18 percent, so kudos to Todd Miller and all of the employees of Tahoe Truckee Sanitation District for creating such an efficient and exemplary operation.Now that you are better informed, I hope this has inspired you to helpour community. Be a trendsetter for the rest of the state and protect our precious planet for our childrens and grandchildrens future. Penny Watne is the editor of the Tahoe Mothers Club newsletter and a resident of Carnelian Bay.