On January 23, 2024, Truckee Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance to prohibit the commercial sale and distribution of single-use plastic water bottles and paper cartons. The goal of this ordinance is to develop a culture of reuse and decrease overall use of single-use packaging in Truckee.

The ban applies to non-carbonated, unflavored water in single-use plastic water bottles and paper cartons less than one gallon in volume. The ordinance will go into effect April 22nd, 2025 (Earth Day).

Exemptions to the ordinance include emergencies, patient care at healthcare facilities, and organizations providing social services who may distribute single-use water bottles to protect the health and safety of community members.

This ordinance is the latest effort by the Town of Truckee to address the local environmental impacts of single-use packaging. According to the League to Save Lake Tahoe, single-use plastic bottles are among the top five types of litter found in the neighboring Tahoe Basin, and are a large contributor to waste and litter in Truckee. Over half of littered single-use plastic bottles collected during Truckee Day, the annual Town-wide litter cleanup, were water bottles. These plastics do not decompose, but instead break apart into harmful microplastics that enter local waterways and can be accidentally consumed by wildlife or the public. As an alternative to water in single-use plastic bottles, high-quality tap water from a pristine mountain groundwater aquifer beneath Martis Valley is readily available to residents, businesses, and visitors in Truckee.

To help with the transition to reusable bottles and provide greater public access to tap water, the Town has implemented a water bottle filling station grant program that will reimburse recipients up to 50% of the cost of publicly available water bottle filling stations to promote the use of reusable water bottles. New and existing filling stations will be listed on a regional map so that filling stations throughout Truckee and the Tahoe Basin can be easily located by both residents and visitors. The Town also plans to make mobile water bottle filling stations available for special events in Truckee.

Extensive community engagement was conducted before bringing the ordinance to Town Council, and the Town will continue working closely with the Truckee community to ensure that residents, visitors, and business owners are prepared for the upcoming transition away from single-use plastic water bottles and cartons, and to provide feedback about any additional support they may need.

To find out more about the ordinance or the water bottle filling station grant program, please visit KeepTruckeeGreen.org/Bottles