This page informs interested parties about the the overall statewide diversion rate calculation for 2002. This information was first released at the February 11, 2002, Board meeting by Mark Leary, Executive Director of the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

2002 Diversion Rate--48 Percent

California’s statewide diversion rate increased to 48 percent in 2002. Many factors played a role in this increase, including a decrease in total disposal and stronger market values for recyclables. Another factor is the many Board-approved new base years reflecting numerous new diversion programs and improved quantification of diversion activity. The new base years show the overall commitment of Californians to divert waste from landfills. Please see the Estimated California Solid Waste Generation and Diversion Rate table representing diversion program performance since 1989.

Each year the Diversion, Planning & Local Assistance Division (DPLA) reports on statewide progress toward the diversion goals of the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989. Prior to 1997 the statewide diversion rate estimate was typically available in late spring. This was due to the Disposal Reporting System (DRS) schedule and availability of information provided by other state agencies. Because concerns were raised about this delayed reporting, starting in 1997 staff made efforts to ensure earlier, more uniform diversion rate estimates. The statewide diversion rate estimates are now based on the Federal Fiscal Year (October 2001 through September 2002) to provide an estimated diversion rate as close to the beginning of each year as possible.

Calculation Methodology

The purpose of AB 939 was to conserve resources and extend landfill capacity, not to penalize jurisdictions for increases in population or economic growth. Thus, when population and the economy grow, jurisdictions will not automatically fail to meet the diversion goals. The impacts of demographic and economic changes on the waste stream must be considered when calculating diversion rates. By incorporating these demographic factors, the Board-approved adjustment method allows valid comparisons between years regardless of the changes in population and economics.

The first step in performing the calculation was to determine the 2002 statewide waste generation tonnage. Generation is the total amount of waste disposed and diverted. To arrive at this number, we estimated the statewide base year (1990) generation tonnage, taking into account new jurisdiction base years. Next, we estimated 2002 generation using the Board-approved adjustment method, which uses changes in population and the economy since 1990 to estimate changes in generation since 1990. Using the Adjustment Method, 2002 estimated statewide generation was approximately 71.8 million tons.

The next step was to determine statewide disposal. Disposal is the total amount of waste that is landfilled, exported out of the state, and transformed. Chapter 993, Statutes of 2002 (Chavez, AB 2308) required the removal of waste sent to inert mine reclamation facilities from diversion rate measurement starting with the 2001 report year. AB 2308 affected 3 such facilities in Southern California: Nu-Way Live Oak Landfill; Peck Road Gravel Pit; and CalMat Reliance Pit. Disposal data for these 3 facilities was subtracted from total statewide disposal. This increased the diversion rate approximately 2 percentage points. Since AB 2308 requires this to be done starting with 2001, we re-calculated the statewide diversion rate for that year as well. As reflected in the Estimated California Solid Waste Generation and Diversion Rate table, the updated 2001 statewide diversion rate is 44 percent.

The Disposal Reporting System (DRS) tracks the amount of waste disposed by each jurisdiction in the state. However, because DRS data has not been received from some counties for 3rd quarter 2002, that data had to be estimated. Because the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) receives a fee for each ton disposed within California, BOE data was used. However, waste exported out of the state and waste sent to Board permitted transformation facilities is not subject to the BOE fee, and therefore has to be derived another way. Export was estimated, while staff contacted the 3 permitted transformation facilities to obtain 3rd quarter 2002 tonnage. After combining the disposal tonnage from these data sources, and subtracting the disposal amounts at transformation facilities and the 3 inert facilities list above, 2002 total disposal is 37.6 million tons - a decrease of approximately half a million tons since 2001. By dividing this number by statewide generation, we arrived at a disposal rate of 52 percent.

To determine the 2002 diversion rate we subtracted disposal (52 percent) from generation (100 percent) to get 48 percent. Approximately 34.2 million tons were diverted from landfills in 2002.

Return to current year diversion rates memo to view previous years' statewide diversion rates.

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