Reduce Single-Use Resources

Single-Use Report Reduction

Learn about our Single-Use Foodware Reduction Ordinance process in our other tab!

What’s the deal with single-use foodware in Truckee? Single-use items like plastic utensils, coffee cups and straws are part of our everyday lives. After being used once, these items end up in our landfills, environment, streams, lakes, and oceans forever, since plastic does not biodegrade. Community members, student groups, and our town council members have asked for policies to reduce these disposable items in Truckee.

Can’t we just recycle plastic foodware items? Recycling and composting are not reliable outlets for single-use items. Due to recent regulations in China, the ability to recycle materials has significantly been reduced. In Truckee, we can only recycle clean #1 and #2 plastics, paper, metal, and glass.

What about those “compostable” utensils and cups? Compostable products made out of corn, sugarcane or other plant-based materials are not necessarily sustainable alternatives. In reality, these types of “compostable” bio-plastics or fibers, are not accepted at most composting facilities, including our own, because they would not break down in this composting environment.

41% Materials, 20% Manufacturing, 2% Packaging, 17% Transport, 18% End of Life

Often times we only consider the environmental impacts of disposal — whether items are recycled, composted, or landfilled. But, the impacts from producing and transporting single-use items are actually responsible for a majority of a product’s environmental impact.

We need to always remember the REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE hierarchy. If you must use an item, reusables are always the most environmentally friendly option.

waste management hierarchy

Restaurant Procurement Guide

As a follow up to feedback received during business outreach, we have compiled a procurement guide to help food-related businesses procure takeout items that have a lower environmental impact. There are many factors that decide if a product is more or less environmentally friendly, including, but not limited to the material, weight, and packaging. There is no “best” disposable product, but this guide will help businesses with considerations to make when purchasing disposable products. When possible, reusables are always the better option.

Email signup

If you would like to stay up-to-date on Truckee's sustainability efforts or sign up for trash and recycling pick up day reminders, submit your info here!