Truckee & North Lake Tahoe's Independent Newspaper | Tahoe News | Tahoe Music | Tahoe Events

Bins Not Bags?

Reads 1671 Comments 0 Printer-friendly versionprint Send by emailemail

Question: Why can’t we use reusable bins for recycling pick-up rather than plastic blue bags?

“The short answer to the bag question is that it was what was developed and agreed to many years ago,” said Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook in an email. “Switching to bins requires expensive new equipment (trucks) and therefore needs to be addressed through a long-term contract.”

This month’s reader question turns out to be very timely, as the Town is in fact looking at the bin vs. bag issue right now. Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal is currently responsible for waste hauling in the Town, but the agreement expires in June 2018. Public surveys done in summer 2016 showed residents would like to shift from using blue bags, so Town Council gave staff direction to investigate options during contract discussions. Bin options are being “actively being explored” in the new contracts, though details cannot be divulged while negotiations are underway, says Erica Mertens, the Town’s recycling coordinator. To stay up-to-date, keep your eyes peeled for upcoming Town Council agendas — the topic is slated to come before the dais some time in May or June, with a tentative date of May 23 as of press time.

Placer County also contracts with Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal to collect garbage and recyclables. Kevin Bell, the county Environmental Engineering Program Manager, reminds residents that they have the option of using blue bags to separate their recycling, or simply tossing recyclables in with the garbage. Then, the Materials Recovery Facility (or, as it’s affectionately known, “murf”) on Cabin Creek Road at Hwy 89 will sort out recyclables and divert them from the landfill.

Even the blue bags are baled and sold to companies that create new items from recycled content, like composite lumber or new bags, Bell says. This process not only simplifies recycling for residents, it’s also easier on the environment. He explains that it’s because it keeps collection routes to one truck for a mixture of materials — rather than separate routes for garbage, recyclables, and green waste — which minimizes our carbon footprint.

“We also consistently far exceed the state’s requirement to recycle at least 50 percent of our waste with this approach,” says Bell, who invites residents to visit the MRF to see how recycling happens in person. Call (530) 889-6846 to schedule a tour.

For those who like to do their own sorting and recycling, the MRF at the end of Cabin Creek Road has a buyback center to redeem cash deposits on CRV beverage containers, and also accepts cardboard, household hazardous waste, green waste, and household appliances. Visit for hours and location, rates, and information on events.

~ Public works puzzle? Roads rumination? Water wonder? Get your burning question answered. Email us at and we’ll track down the answer.

By creating and using an account on Moonshine Ink, you are agreeing to our user terms and submissions policy. Read the complete terms and policy.

Don't Miss the Next Edition

Edition First-Round Deadline Drop-Dead Deadline
July 12 to Aug. 8 June 22 June 29
Aug. 9 to Sept. 12 July 20 July 27

About News

Moonshine Ink brings you Tahoe news straight from the source. Our team of hardworking journalists uncovers North Tahoe and Truckee news stories with in-depth reporting and our authentic “for the community, by the community” spirit.

In our News section you’ll find the facts on everything from politics to the environment to local business. We’re your Tahoe newspaper, delivering stories you can trust.

Subscribe to the feed

Latest Tweets @moonshineink

  • The Grocery Outlet development in Truckee awaits approval tonight, as the planning commission votes on whether or n… 3 months 4 weeks ago
  • Concerned about growth in Truckee? Tune in to discussion on the Town's updates to its 2040 General Plan at 6 p.m. h… 4 months 5 days ago
  • Local developer overlooked twice on the Kings Beach Center development claims lack of county transparency. Placer… 4 months 1 week ago

Look for the latest Moonshine Ink issue on newsstands now.

Look for the latest issue in newsstands now.

Or subscribe and enjoy it hot off the press in your mailbox.

June 14, 2018