It’s time to separate fact from fiction.

TRUTH: Blue bags often sit for days before being sorted. Food waste creates mold and odor which will contaminate the whole bag.

TRUTH: Our local transfer station can only recycle blue bags with accepted materials — not Styrofoam, not textiles, not plastic film. Placing wrong items in the blue bags reduces our recycling success rate by up to three tons per year. Plastics #3-#7 are not recycled in Truckee and are destined for landfill.

FACT: Only plastics #1 and #2 are recycled in Truckee. Consume consciously by considering the packaging and not just the contents. When you shop, check the number.

FACT: Any mixed material packaging like milk containers with a plastic spout or soup containers with foil liners are not recyclable. If a paper container holds liquid, it is infused with plastic, which is not recyclable.

FACT: Recycling costs just as much as trash to collect and sort. Monthly trash collection costs most U.S. households only a fraction of what they pay for other utilities. Let’s not forget what a vital service it is.

FACT: Do not place waxed cardboard in the cardboard dumpster or blue bags. It is not recycled here and will contaminate regular cardboard recycling.

FACT: While all of our landfill materials go to Lockwood Landfill outside of Reno, the collected recyclable materials get baled and trucked to Sacramento. From there, all materials get shipped to Asia except for aluminum, which gets sold and recycled domestically.

FACT: We had a landfill in Truckee, but it has been closed for decades. The Cabin Creek landfill location now functions only as a transfer station to redirect materials to other locations.

FACT: Our environment and geographic location create unique challenges, which prevent broad recycling and composting as is done in the Bay Area. We are constantly evaluating our systems and researching new technologies and options for our area.

FACT: Public sector investment in local recycling programs pays great dividends by creating private sector jobs. For every job collecting recyclables, there are 26 jobs in processing the materials and manufacturing them into new products. Recycling creates four jobs for every one job created in the waste management and disposal industries.