As a community, South Lake Tahoe has a lake-first mentality, and we aim to be on the leading edge of practices and policies that protect the awe and then some of our gorgeous home basin for generations to come. In October 2022, the city council of South Lake Tahoe took a big stride, by voting in favor of a single-use plastic water bottle ban, which went into full effect on Earth Day, April 22, 2024. South Lake Tahoe is among the first cities to adopt such a ban, followed shortly by Truckee, and Breckenridge, CO.

While it may seem convenient to buy a pack of water bottles for a weekend vacation, the impact lasts far longer than a weekend – try 450 years. And those bottles don’t turn into fertilizer but instead, become harmful microplastics which humans and wildlife alike then ingest. These tiny particles are consumed by wildlife and eventually make their way up the food chain to humans. The single-use plastic water bottle ban sends a strong signal that the people of Tahoe want to model and encourage sustainable choices, protecting the water that we all drink.

What’s more, Tahoe tap is among the finest in the world. Why buy plastic bottled water when the water on tap is 99.99% pure? Of course, it is understandable to be hesitant when not all tap water is as pure. Tahoe tap is far more rigorously tested than anything that comes in a plastic bottle. If you’re planning a trip, make sure to pack your reusable water bottle!

In conjunction with the City of South Lake Tahoe’s new policy, Visit Lake Tahoe purchased USA-made, highly durable refillable water bottles to be distributed to guests and residents alike. Beginning on Earth Day, the water bottles are being delivered to properties that opt in from Zephyr Cove to Emerald Bay. We are also sharing information with hotel staff to educate and encourage guests to drink Tahoe tap.

For the water bottles, we partnered with local non-profit Drink Tahoe Tap and Fill it Forward, a Benefit corporation that provides custom branded, reusable products with a QR code and system for giving back to meaningful causes that are in connection with each brand. In the case of Visit Lake Tahoe, our water bottles will support the following local organizations:

  • Clean up the Lake | Our mission is to activate local communities in taking action to protect the environment. Since 2020 we have removed over 36,000 pounds of litter from Lake Tahoe!
  • Sugar Pine Foundation |  We are dedicated to restoring sugar pines and other white pines in the Lake Tahoe region and beyond.  The Sugar Pine foundation organizes community plantings each year to plant 10,000 sugar pine seedlings and other native trees.
  • The Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) | TAMBA is dedicated to the stewardship of sustainable, multiple-use trails and to preserving access for mountain bikers through advocacy, education and promotion of responsible trail use.
  • Tahoe Rim Trail Association | The mission of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association is to maintain and enhance the Tahoe Rim Trail system, practice and inspire stewardship, and preserve access to the natural beauty of the Lake Tahoe region.

Given that the League to Save Lake Tahoe picked up 20,100 plastic bottles, 31,300 plastic caps and 163,800 unidentifiable plastic pieces from 2014-2023, plastic litter in Lake Tahoe is a big deal. By removing plastic water bottles from stores, we take a big step towards keeping Tahoe pristine for all those who visit to enjoy. One of our goals at Visit Lake Tahoe, is to be among the top 10% of destination marketing organizations known for leading sustainable tourism within the next 10 years, and our team is thrilled to support our city making moves towards a sustainable future for all. Learn more ways you can help protect the awe with our Rules to Lake By.

rules to lake by spring

Keep Tahoe Awesome

The clearest blue water. The brightest green mountains. It’s awe and then some, but all this awesome doesn’t happen by accident. It comes from mutual respect for the South Shore, from locals and visitors alike. That’s why we created Rules to Lake By: five ways to practice responsible tourism at Lake Tahoe, so we can keep this place awesome today and awesome tomorrow.


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