Single-use beverage bottles make up a large percentage of waste and litter, creating an environmental threat to our region. The Town of Truckee is taking steps to reduce the proliferation of disposable items such as single-use water bottles in our community and encourage a shift to reuse.
On January 23rd, 2024 the Town of Truckee adopted the Single-Use Plastic Bottle and Paper Carton Ordinance. The ordinance prohibits the commercial sale and distribution of non-sparkling, unflavored water in single-use plastic containers and paper cartons under a gallon in size. The ordinance will become effective April 22, 2025 (Earth Day). To read the staff report and ordinance, click here.
For ordinances to be adopted, they must go to Council twice. The first time is to introduce the ordinance and the second time is to adopt it. At the January 9, 2024, Town Council meeting, Town staff introduced the ordinance to ban the sale of single-use bottles and paper cartons. To view the recording and presentation of the introduction of the ordinance to Town Council and see the agenda, please click here. The ordinance went to Council for a second time on January 23rd, 2024 and was adopted. Please view the meeting agenda for more information.
The ordinance is part of a series of single-use water bottle policy recommendations listed below that staff presented to, and were approved by, Town Council on May 23, 2023:
- Develop a comprehensive outreach and incentive program to support a reduction in use of single-use bottles, promote a shift to reusable water bottles, and incentivize installation of additional refill stations in the community
- Prohibit the sale and commercial distribution of water packaged in single-use plastic bottles or paper cartons less than one gallon in volume
- Include exemptions for emergencies, social services, healthcare, and other situations that may impact health and safety
- Report back to Council at least one year after the effective date of implementation of the ordinance and outreach campaign, including impacts on residents and businesses
- Investigate options to expand the ordinance to include other beverages in single-use plastic packaging and provide recommendations to Council for future consideration.
To read the full May 23, 2023 staff report, click here.
Filling Station Grant Program
In anticipation of the single-use water bottle ban, staff have developed a Water Bottle Filling Station Grant Program (approved by council Nov 14th, 2023). The goal is to ensure that water bottle filling stations are in place well before the adopted ban takes effect, and that the Truckee community is prepared for the transition. Click on the “Filling Station Grant Program” tab above to learn more about this program and find application materials.
The above recommendations for reducing single-use plastic water bottle use were developed using input collected via a community survey, a stakeholder advisory group, and a community workshop.
A community survey for residents, visitors, and businesses in Truckee was available online from February 3-20, 2023. The survey was shared online through Keep Truckee Green and Town of Truckee outreach channels, including e-blasts and social media, as well as through partner agencies including Truckee Chamber, Truckee Downtown Merchants Association, and Visit Truckee-Tahoe. Staff also conducted in-person intercept surveys outside Mi Pueblito Market on February 17, where many responses collected were in Spanish. In addition, staff conducted direct phone calls and email outreach to businesses, including grocers and other retail stores, to receive business responses.
Another survey was conducted in November 2023 to get more detailed analysis on plastic water bottle usage among residents. Intercept surveys were conducted in front of Raley’s O-N-E Market, Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Mi Pueblito Market, and Safeway. Surveys were also distributed through Sierra Community House.
Staff hosted an in-person community workshop on February 8, 2023, at the Community Rec Center. The workshop was advertised along with the survey through Keep Truckee Green, the Town, Truckee Chamber, TDMA, and Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s website and social media outreach channels. Attendees heard a brief presentation on the community engagement process and considerations for policies and actions, and then provided feedback on a series of prompts. Most of the 13 attendees were Truckee High School students involved in the Envirolution Club.
Community Stakeholder Group
Staff also convened a group of community stakeholders to provide additional opportunities for input from business representatives and other key local stakeholders. This group was convened twice, on January 26 and March 8, 2023. Town staff provided a research brief in advance of each meeting to prepare members for the topic of discussion. Members discussed potential impacts on their sector of operations, concerns, and provided feedback on potential policy options. Stakeholders included representatives from local businesses, special events, healthcare, emergency operations, and education.