Nevada has yard waste drop-off sites |

Nevada has yard waste drop-off sites

For South Lake Tahoe residents, getting rid of tree limbs, pine needles and other yard materials is easy. They can put an unlimited amount of trash bags on the street for pickup. South Tahoe Refuse separates the material and recycles the yard waste.

It’s different on the Douglas County side of South Shore, however. What can they do with their waste? Burn the stuff?

Yes, that’s one option. But the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, South Tahoe Refuse and a composting company in Carson Valley are offering another option. From now through June 8, Douglas County lake residents can drop off tree limbs, pine cones, grass or other natural yard materials at one of the local fire stations.

Later this month, prison crews working for the Nevada Division of Forestry will chip the materials. Then South Tahoe Refuse plans to transport the materials to Full Circle Compost in Minden. There, the materials will either be used for mulch or compost.

Some of the recycled yard waste even could make its way back up to Lake Tahoe. Douglas County residents who participate are entitled to 10-percent-off coupons for compost from Full Circle Compost.

“None of our materials will wind up in a landfill,” said Bruce VanCleemput, assistant fire chief. “It’s a fire-hazard reduction into a renewable resource, if you will.”

Removing yard materials reduces the risk of wildfires in the Lake Tahoe Basin. And if residents are not recycling, the other option is – ironically – to burn the waste.

“This is just a better way to reduce the fuel, without creating more fire hazard,” VanCleemput said. “When open burning, you’re trying to reduce a hazard and you’re creating another.”

There are other potential problems with burning. The Nevada Department of Environmental Protection regulates when the fire district can allow burning. VanCleemput said the state agency is concerned with air pollution, and it may eventually stop allowing open burning.

“For some people, burning is the only avenue they wish, and we still offer it,” VanCleemput said. “But I can’t say, with the way the state EPA is, that will always be the case.”

Open-burn dates are scheduled for Douglas County from May 15 through June 8, and permits can be obtained from the district.

The recycling experiment this spring is not a first for the district. The cooperators tried it last fall – for only a weekend. Trash bins, which can hold 33 square yards of material, were housed at each fire station. Over the weekend, they were all filled, and South Tahoe Refuse hauled 8 to 10 tons of waste to Full Circle Compost.

Officials expect much more this spring, and they hope to continue the program for future burn seasons, each fall and each spring.

“Normally about 175 people will apply for burn permits each season. Last fall we only gave out 18 permits. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact (the program) has this year,” VanCleemput said.

“I really feel people are involved in recycling. I think people are really fire-conscious. There’s a community interest in doing this,” he added.

What: Drop-off points for recycling yard waste

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., now through June 8

Where: Kingsbury, Round Hill, Zephyr Cove, Glenbrook and Tahoe Douglas fire stations

Information: (775) 588-3591

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