What is MRF?


South Tahoe Refuse Transfer Station
& Material Recovery Facility

2140 Ruth Avenue
South Lake Tahoe CA 96150

Hours of Operation
Monday through Saturday
Closed Sundays & Holidays
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Materials Accepted 
All solid waste (garbage, rubbish and trash) typically generated at home as well as commercial and construction solid waste. This includes yard waste, stumps, containers and packaging, metal and appliances, tires, furniture, carpet, electronic-waste, asphalt, concrete, roofing and mixed construction and demolition debris and miscellaneous inorganic wastes. Many of these materials will be recycled through our Material Recovery process. Liquid wastes are not accepted at this facility. See the HHW page for a list of hazardous and universal waste materials accepted under that program.  

During the early 1990s, the South Lake Tahoe Solid Waste Joint Powers Agency (JPA), comprised of elected representatives from Douglas and El Dorado Counties and the City of South Lake Tahoe, reviewed alternatives to address the mandates of AB 939. The JPA reviewed the characteristics of our local waste stream and balanced costs, benefits, practicality, and future planning in making their decision.

The JPA is responsible for directing which recycling programs we implement. After a year of study, the JPA approved a system with the technology and flexibility to meet today’s needs and address our future goals. 

The cornerstone of our local recycling plan is our Materials Recovery Facility, which opened in May 1995. Referred to as the MRF, collected materials are sorted for the larger recyclables, such as wood, steel and tires. The waste is then loaded onto a conveyor belt where glass, aluminum, tin, plastics, and 5 grades of paper are separated, baled, and stored until transported to market. 

Centralized processing of mixed municipal solid waste achieves both a significant reduction in landfill usage and a maximum rate of recycling. The MRF has allowed STR to implement a diverse range of programs addressing both residential and commercial sectors to steadily increase our material recovery rate without increasing traffic in our neighborhoods.

In 2008, STR began a Blue Bag recycling program in cooperation with our local agencies. Blue Bag recycling provides recycling for families who want to recycle at home. It reduces contamination and makes us more efficient. Blue Bag recycling was expanded to all of our schools in 2009 so that children can practice their recycling ethic at home and at school. Blue Bag recycling compliments the MRF system, as materials from the Blue Bags are sorted by type, while resort and other waste streams are still sorted as well. 

The opening of the Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) in 2009 doubled our capacity to recycle wood and yard waste. Selected residential green waste routes and self-haul from contractor and landscapers have steadily increased the volumes recycled. To support fuels reduction projects, green waste from local agencies doing forest and lot clearing are accepted at the RRF at no charge, processed and sent to regional composting facilities or to local soil erosion and revegetation projects. 

STR has developed on-site recycling programs for large volume businesses, particularly for businesses with compacted or “wet” trash. STR provides separation containers for targeted materials to many of our largest generators. Over 300 smaller local businesses reduce their garbage bills by recycling their cardboard at no charge at the Transfer Station and recycling beverage containers at the STR Buy-Back Center. Fees at the MRF and RRF are reduced to clean loads of metal, wood, asphalt and concrete.

The MRF and RRF provide the capability to sort and store materials for markets ranging from glass, aluminum, plastic and paper, to local concrete and asphalt recycling, to composting of wood waste in the Carson Valley. Markets shift, quality specifications tighten and material prices fluctuate. The worldwide economic slowdown has affected both export and domestic demand for scrap material. 

But STR is in the recycling business for the long run. Markets are stabilizing and new technologies will create new markets. Our MRF and RRF provide us with the flexibility to implement the programs that best suit our individual community now and in the future. 

In addition, residents who wish to receive their California Redemption Value (CRV) for glass, aluminum and plastic #1- #7, can redeem those materials, as well as drop off all of our other recyclable materials at the South Tahoe Recycling Center, located down the street from the Transfer Station/MRF facility on Ruth Avenue.