Living in and visiting a beautiful area like Lake Tahoe magnifies the importance of environmental awareness and proactive measures to keep this place we love healthy and sustainable. Many local businesses and organizations are very active in working towards keeping the Tahoe area clean, beautiful and environmentally responsible, and have been for years. Tahoe is an area where the population can swell to 5 times its usual size on busy summer and winter periods, so every little local initiative stands to have a big impact regionally.
In 2014, Truckee banned the use of plastic bags at retail shops and grocery stores with the aim to eliminate plastic bag pollution in the area. Three and a half years later, this is just the norm in the area and people are used to bringing reusable bags around with them. The Town of Truckee is currently implementing a program that provides residents with recycling and yard waste carts instead of plastic bags which will prevent an estimated 3 million bags from going to landfills in the next 10 years.
The next hot topic is single use plastics and polystyrene. South Lake Tahoe has recently banned the use of polystyrene which is the most frequently found trash found along Tahoe’s shoreline. Polystyrene is not biodegradable is used in items like foam coolers, plates, clamshell containers, and plastic silverware. The ordinance will take effect in October, and local food providers and business need to stop distribution and sale of these items. There is the hope that the rest of the towns in the Tahoe region will follow suit shortly.
Drink Tahoe Tap has been active in promoting the use of reusable drinking containers and raising awareness around the quality of the local water in an effort to stop the wasteful use and disposal of plastic water bottles. Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows have banned plastic water bottles at their resorts through their Drink Mountain Tap campaign which will keep 28,000 plastic bottles out of landfills annually. Squaw/Alpine have a much bigger vision moving forward with their goal to run solely on renewable energy by the end of 2018.
The Tahoe Fund was formed specifically to preserve the beauty in the Tahoe region and encourage responsible use of natural resources in addition to improving and funding outdoor recreations areas and programs. Ongoing programs such as the Take Care Campaign informs visitors of issues related to the area and reminds them to be responsible stewards while they are here. Bear awareness, appropriate litter disposal and fire prevention are just a few recurring themes. The Take Care Campaign also offers ways for people to get involved in various projects while they are here such as Earth Day events and community cleanup days.
There is a lot going on in Tahoe to keep this place amazing, and this is just scratching the surface. As a simple start, if every resident and visitor would simply use reusable drinking containers and dispose of trash properly the positive impacts to the area would be monumental.
Come by the Tahoe Truckee Earth Day 2018 event at Squaw Valley this weekend to learn more about how to preserve and protect our local resources.
Photos courtesy of Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, The Tahoe Fund and the Town of Truckee.
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