Methods to Encourage C&D Diversion

There are several methods a jurisdiction can use to encourage the diversion of construction and demolition (C&D) waste from landfills. These include providing information on the following topics:

  • C&D Waste Management Plan. A Waste Management Plan is essentially a form that estimates how much C&D debris will be generated by the project and describes how the materials will be managed. This requires the building contractor to estimate how much C&D material will be generated and to consider how, where, and how much they will divert.
  • Educational Outreach. Inform contractors about alternatives to landfill disposal of their C&D waste.
  • Policy. How to implement a policy for diverting C&D waste.
  • Specifications. Incorporate specifications into local building projects.
  • Building Green. How to use of recovered and recycled C&D materials.
  • Incentive Programs for Waste Haulers. Encourage waste haulers to increase diversion of C&D materials.
  • C&D Diversion Ordinance. How to develop, adopt, and implement a C&D diversion ordinance.

C&D Waste Management Plan

Most C&D diversion ordinances include a requirement that a waste management plan (WMP) be completed and submitted prior to the beginning of a project. A WMP is essentially a plan that estimates how much C&D debris will be generated by the project and describes how the materials will be managed. This requires a project applicant to estimate how much C&D material will be generated and to consider how, where, and how much they will divert. For samples and more information on what a WMP entails, visit the C&D Guide’s Waste Management Plan page.

The California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) instructs local jurisdictions to require contractors to develop and maintain a waste management plan, among other things, to verify a minimum 65 percent waste diversion. CALGreen further specifies for the WMP to be updated as necessary and shall be available for examination during construction. Sample WMP is provided in the actual CALGreen code publication under the Compliance Forms and Worksheets section. The California Department of Housing and Development’s website also provides sample WMP for residential C&D projects.

Educational Outreach

A simple method to help divert C&D waste is to provide general contractors with educational material and information about alternative facilities that take C&D waste. This could be as simple as providing a brochure listing the C&D diversion facilities in the region, with hours, location, cost (if any), and material types accepted. Information on building green could also be included in your educational material.

You might also consider adding a page or more to your website regarding C&D diversion that includes a list of C&D diversion facilities in your region. An example web page is the City of San Jose Environmental Services website that includes a list of certified C&D diversion facilities.

Providing information on reuse opportunities, such as exchange programs, can also be useful. Below are links to exchange programs and other information on C&D materials that you could include on your web page or in a brochure with general information regarding C&D waste diversion:


The U.S. EPA’s C&D Debris website provides information and links to extensive resources and organizations covering the characterization, reduction, reuse, recycling and management of C&D debris.

Oregon Metro

The Oregon Metro is a regulatory agency that helps protect the quality of Oregon’s environment, including managing the proper disposal of hazardous and solid wastes. Oregon Metro’s Construction and Demolition Debris Salvage Program web page provides information and tool kit on C&D Salvage programs.

Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA)

The ACWMA provides information on:

  • Jobsite Recycling Case Study
  • County Model Ordinance
  • Information on Green Building
  • New Construction, and Home Remodeling Downloadable Guides
  • Downloadable Builder’s Guide to Reuse and Recycling


A C&D diversion policy is an informal advisory document or a program that strongly encourages the diversion of C&D materials, but does not provide a local jurisdiction with the same level of enforcement authority as an ordinance. Such policies or resolutions do not have the force of law within a jurisdiction but are simply expressions of opinion or preferences. In this context, the purpose of a policy would be to encourage C&D diversion without actually requiring it.

A policy can:

  • Serve as a viable alternative to an ordinance when a jurisdiction does not have the time and resources necessary to fully implement an ordinance.
  • Be used as a “stepping stone” in the ordinance process. While there may be a need to establish some kind of a C&D diversion program, a jurisdiction may first want to try alternatives to an ordinance. A policy can be a useful tool in “testing the waters” if used as a first step in establishing a C&D diversion program. Once a policy is in place and a C&D diversion program is established, a jurisdiction can determine over time if an ordinance would be more effective, or if a policy is adequately achieving diversion of C&D waste.
  • Also provide a jurisdiction with more flexibility than an ordinance, since ordinances require a more formal process to revise.

Model Deconstruction Policy

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency works to improve our environment through partnerships, technology transfer, technical assistance, education, research, and matching grants. Their website illustrates an example of a resolution establishing a model deconstruction policyPDF download.


Another method for encouraging C&D waste diversion is to include C&D waste diversion requirements/procedures into project specifications. Because specifications are a major communication tool to convey the requirements of a construction or demolition project, specifications that contractors are required to follow could also include the conditions and requirements for diverting C&D materials. If the conditions are not met, the contractor could be held accountable.

Sample specifications are available from several resources, some of which are listed below.

CalRecycle Specifications

King County in Washington State

In Washington State, King County’s Construction Recycling website includes information on:

Triangle J Council of Governments in North Carolina

The Triangle J Council of Governments in North Carolina website has a free, downloadable document regarding building specifications for reference: “WasteSpec: Model Specifications for Construction Waste Reduction, Reuse, and RecyclingPDF download.”

Building Green

To generate demand and promote the reuse of C&D materials in their present and recycled form, you may want to require the use of recovered and recycled C&D materials. Useful links to building green information include:

  • CalRecycle’s Green Building and Construction web page contains information on issues such as economic benefits of building green, occupant safety in green buildings, programs and partnerships, and case studies.
  • U.S. Green Building Council A coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.
  • Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) offers building green information including resources for C&D reuse and recycling.

Incentive Programs for Waste Haulers

You may want to investigate the possibility of establishing an incentive program that would encourage waste haulers in your jurisdiction to increase their diversion of C&D material. This could include establishing a franchise agreement with the C&D material haulers in your area, and providing incentives for C&D diversion through commensurate franchise fee decreases or rebates (or establish disincentives with commensurate fee increases for disposal versus recycling of C&D waste). It is important to note, however, that contractors in your area may prefer to not be limited to the hauling services provided by a franchise hauler.

Many local jurisdictions currently require their municipal solid waste (MSW) haulers to secure a franchise agreement as a condition of their hauling permit. Sometimes, C&D material (hauled in roll-off boxes) is included within a larger exclusive refuse hauling franchise, while at other times C&D is included in multiple, nonexclusive franchises or not regulated at all. If C&D haulers are not currently included within the scope of the permit/franchise requirement, the solid waste code and/or ordinance can be amended to embrace them, as well. The franchises, in turn, can contain an incentive program that will encourage the diversion of C&D material.

Providing such an incentive could also work in a jurisdiction that has open market competition, and nonexclusive commercial and residential franchises. A C&D hauler can execute the commercial refuse services franchise but commit to providing only C&D roll-off services.

However, there is a “budget” caveat with a franchise rebate alternative—when establishing a franchise rebate program, you must carefully project anticipated franchise revenues and calculate the amount thereof that you would need to fund the cost of your budgeted solid waste programs. This will allow you to know exactly how much rebate you could afford to pay back to the haulers.

Also, Monterey Unincorporated offers increased revenue if haulers exceed their preset minimum diversion requirements, so each year there is a certain percentage for the diversion requirement. If haulers exceed the requirement, they can get paid more. C&D is part of the materials that are recycled. Also, the converse is true. If the diversion requirement is not met, haulers are subject to decreased revenue. Language is for all divertible materials, including C&D. Monterey Unincorporated language can easily be adapted to cite C&D only.

C&D Diversion Ordinance

Ordinance description and C&D diversion ordinance issues to be considered are located in the Developing a C&D Ordinance section.

For more information contact: Local Assistance & Market Development,