Biomass Diversion Credit

Note: This page contains historical information from CalRecycle’s statewide goal measurement prior to 2007 that estimated a diversion percentage. For 2007 and subsequent years, CalRecycle compares reported disposal tons to population to calculate per capita disposal expressed in pounds/person/day. This new goal measurement system is described in CalRecycle’s Goal Measurement: 2007 and Later web page. Since the annual per capita disposal rate is based on disposal tons, any biomass will not be reported as disposal. In other words, there is no cap on the amount of material a jurisdiction can send to biomass. Therefore, sending material to biomass will help to reduce disposal. A Biomass Facility Diversion Claim Sheet is no longer required for submittal with the jurisdictional Annual Report.


The term “biomass,” when used for purposes of determining diversion credit, is very limited. “Biomass conversion” uses organic materials–such as wood, lawn and garden clippings, agricultural waste, leaves, tree pruning as well as nonrecyclable paper–to produce heat or electricity. Biomass conversion cannot include any other materials; combustion of trash is called “transformation.” Jurisdictions may claim diversion credit for materials sent to qualifying biomass facilities as explained below. This diversion credit, which began in the 2000 report year, may not exceed 10 percentage points (based on estimated report-year generation tons which exclude report-year tons of material delivered to biomass facilities).


    • “Biomass Conversion” means the controlled combustion, when separated from other solid waste and used for producing electricity or heat, of (1) agricultural crop residues; (2) bark, lawn, yard, and garden clippings; (3) leaves, silviculture residue, tree and brush pruning; (4) wood, wood chips, and wood waste; or (5) nonrecyclable pulp or nonrecyclable paper.
    • “Class I Hazardous Waste Facility” means a facility permitted by the Department of Toxic Substances Control to accept and dispose hazardous waste as defined in California Health and Safety Code Section 25141.

Requirements for Jurisdictions Claiming Biomass Diversion Credits

Note: Per SB 1016, Wiggins, Chapter 343, Statutes of 2008 and AB 1126 (Chapter 411, Statutes of 2013, Gordon), completing the following requirements and Biomass Facility Diversion Claim Sheet are no longer applicable. Per SB 1016, the annual per capita disposal rate is based on disposal tons, so any biomass will not be reported as disposal, and Public Resources Code Section 41780.05 (c)(1)(c) states that “per capita disposal” does not include biomass material.

Jurisdictions claiming the biomass diversion credit must:

    • Indicate in their annual reports that they intend to claim biomass diversion credit.
    • Not claim both transformation and biomass credit. Per Public Resources Code (PRC) section 41783.1 (a)(5) there can be no mixture of biomass and transformation claims, nor any type of partial claim for both.
    • Submit a Biomass Facility Diversion Claim Sheet to the California Integrated Waste Management Board. A new claim sheet must be filed each year the jurisdiction intends to claim biomass diversion credits.
    • Document that the material types claimed as biomass in the report year were normally disposed in the original base year: 1989, 1990, or 1991. For newly incorporated cities, the original base year is the same as that of their unincorporated county.
    • Contact your local assistance staff  representative to document the biomass facility meets three requirements:
      • Exclusively burns biomass materials.
      • Complies with all applicable air quality laws, rules, and regulations.
      • Tests its residue (ash) regularly, and if hazardous, sends that residue to a Class I hazardous waste facility.

      Burning material other than biomass, such as hazardous waste, tires, or municipal solid waste, disqualifies a facility for biomass diversion credit. However, burning other materials such as petroleum coke or natural gas to maintain a particular temperature level is permissible.

California Integrated Waste Management Board Requirements

CalRecycle is required to determine at a public hearing that the jurisdiction is and will continue to be effectively implementing all feasible source reduction, recycling, and composting measures [PRC 41783.1(a)(4)].

In addition, local assistance staff will assist any jurisdiction claiming biomass diversion credit to calculate an annual diversion rate that includes biomass diversion credit. “CalRecycle’s online Blank Diversion Rate Calculator that displays diversion information for any jurisdiction is not designed to add a biomass diversion credit to the diversion rate estimate. However, the Electronic Annual Report (EAR) online Diversion Rate Calculator is designed to add the credit.

Calculating an Annual Diversion Rate That Includes Biomass

    • Biomass diversion credit is limited to a maximum of 10 diversion percentage points. The remaining diversion percentage points must come from source reduction, recycling, and/or composting.
    • Compare jurisdiction biomass tonnage sent to a qualifying biomass facility with the  jurisdiction’s estimated report-year waste generation.  For every one percent of estimated report-year waste generation tonnage, an equal tonnage of biomass earns one percentage point of biomass diversion credit up to the maximum allowed. For example:

If the estimated report-year generation (w/o biomass) isAnd the tonnage sent to the biomass facility is:And the diversion rate without biomass is:Then the biomass credit allowed is:And the biomass-adjusted diversion rate is:

100 tons

5 tons (5%)




100 tons

10 tons (10%)


10% (max.)


100 tons

20 tons (20%)


10% (max.)


1,000 tons

20 tons (2%)




Legislation and Statutes

Chapter 1227, Statutes of 1994, (Sher, AB 688)
Chapter 439, Statutes of 1999, (Thomas, AB 514)

Statute: Public Resources Code (PRC) Sections
PRC 40106, Definition of Biomass Conversion
PRC 41783.1, Conditions and Requirements for Claiming Credit

Related documents
Biomass Guidelines