Lake Tahoe, California Labor Day Cleanup Removes Thousands of Pieces of Trash

Steven Agar |, keep tahoe blue, california, Lake Tahoe, trash, pickup
Beer bottles and cans are common among the recyclables collected. Credit: Maggie Mayer

Another holiday, another cleanup operation was required on the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Sadly, it’s to be expected. In fact, there’s a whole group of volunteers who organize the cleanup beforehand, so sure are they that they’ll need to clean up after lazy revelers.

This year, more than 70 volunteers from KeepTahoeBlue donated their day to pick up the litter left along a 6.2 mile stretch of shoreline of the lake in California.

“It’s amazing to see so many dedicated community members show up early on a holiday morning to help protect Lake Tahoe,” said Marilee Movius, League to Save Lake Tahoe community engagement manager. “Even though the fireworks and crowds out to enjoy them eventually disperse, the plastic trash left behind would remain forever if not for the efforts of these inspiring community members.”

keep tahoe blue,

The cleanup operation, which ran from 8:30 am to noon at Commons Beach, resulted in 224 pounds of litter being removed. Of which 2,064 were cigarette butts and 1,520 were pieces of single-use plastic (yes, these were all individually counted). The cigarette butts are shipped to a company on the East Coast that upcycles them into new plastic products, according to a release from the league, but the rest of the plastic pieces, unfortunately, end up in landfills.

“While it’s great to get this trash off our beaches the real solution is to not create the trash in the first place,” said Movius. “Almost every one of these small plastic pieces of trash have a reusable and sustainable alternative and we encourage everyone enjoying Lake Tahoe to bring reusable items and ‘Keep Tahoe Blue.'”

The 224 pounds picked up after Labor Day is nothing compared to the 1,500 pounds after an average 4th July weekend, but it is still a significant amount. Come on people, leave no trace…, keep tahoe blue, california, Lake Tahoe, trash, pickup
Cigarette butts are one of the most common items found and can contain toxins like heavy metals. Credit: Maggie Mayer

Previous Lake Tahoe Trash Cleanups

2015 – 2,300 Pounds of Trash Left on Tahoe’s Beaches This 4th of July

2016 – Lake Tahoe Trashed Over 4th of July Weekend | 7,738 Cigarettes Picked Up on Beaches

2017 – 1,676-Pounds of Garbage Left on Lake Tahoe Beaches on 4th of July, 2017

2018 (spring cleanup) – South Lake Tahoe Spring Cleanup Collects 2,500 Pounds of Trash

2018 – Annual Fifth July Trash Pick-Up at Lake Tahoe Yields 1,500-Pounds of Leftover Garbage

For more information, and to be kept up to date on how you can volunteer your time, visit

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