Base-Year Generation and Goal Measurement

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 Goal Measurement: 2007 and Later web page. With the implementation of this measurement system, the Board will only accept new base year studies commenced prior to June 30, 2008. A jurisdiction may conduct a generation study for internal review purposes; however, the Board will not review it for compliance determination.


Accurate base-year waste generation tonnage is critical to diversion goal measurement, because it establishes a starting point. Overlooked base-year generation results in lower diversion rate estimates in subsequent years.

Initially, a jurisdiction’s base-year waste generation tonnage is described in its solid waste generation study, a component of its Source Reduction and Recycling Element (SRRE). At a public hearing, the Board reviews and approves each jurisdiction’s base-year generation, and makes corrections as needed. Jurisdictions may update their base-year generation by performing a new solid waste generation study. Jurisdictions may correct their base-year generation if the base year is no more than three calendar years old.


    • “Waste generation” means waste disposed plus waste diverted from disposal.
    • “All sources” means any type of generator: single- or multifamily residential, commercial, industrial, military, etc. regardless of who delivers the waste to the disposal facility (includes self haul).

Using Base-Year Generation to Estimate Diversion

    • Jurisdictions must use the Board-approved base-year generation tonnage to estimate their report-year diversion rate.
    • Base-year generation tonnage that is disposed must include all sources of solid waste originating within a jurisdiction’s boundaries and delivered to Board-permitted landfills and transformation facilities.
    • Base-year generation must include all solid waste exported from California. Exported waste counts as disposal unless a jurisdiction shows it was diverted. Waste imported to California (including waste from Indian country) must not be included in base-year generation.
    • Because diversion and disposal are included in base-year generation tonnage, jurisdictions get “credit” for base-year diversion programs, even though only disposal is measured in subsequent years.
    • Prior to its use in the adjustment method, the base-year generation tonnage must be separated into two amounts: residential and nonresidential. Population and economic change (as measured by employment and inflation-adjusted taxable sales) affect these two amounts differently.
    • The CalRecycle has tools to help jurisdictions address inaccurate or outdated base-year generation amounts. These tools are on CalRecycle’s Local Government Central Web site at LGCentral, Forms (These forms have been removed due to SB 1016 after 2006.)
    • A jurisdiction may discuss base-year concerns in its annual report to the Board. If the nature of the production of solid waste changes, or if a jurisdiction finds errors in its original base year, it may want to propose a new base year and base-year generation to the Board by quantifying its diversion and disposal in the new base year.
    • The next step in the diversion measurement process is to use the Board-approved adjustment method to estimate report-year generation.

Legislation, Statutes, and Regulations

(1) Chapter 1095, Statutes of 1989 (Sher, AB 939)
(2) Chapter 145, Statutes of 1990 (Sher, AB 1820)
(3) Chapter 1292, Statutes of 1992 (Sher, AB 2494)
(4) Chapter 1169, Statutes of 1993 (Sher, AB 440)
(5) Chapter 1227, Statutes of 1994 (Sher, AB688)
(6) Chapter 740, Statutes of 2000 (Sher, SB2202)

Statute: Public Resources Code (PRC) Section
PRC 41780, PRC 41781 , Waste Diversion Planning Requirements

Title 14, California Code of Regulations (14 CCR): Chapter 9, Article 6.1, Solid Waste Generation Studies

For more information contact: Local Assistance & Market Development,