Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Following are waste management and waste diversion questions most frequently posed to the Board (now known as CalRecycle) by local government solid waste officials.

How do I find my jurisdiction’s diversion rate?

The Jurisdiction Diversion Rate Summary gives the diversion rate performance and biennial review status for jurisdictions from 1995 to present. Data Central is a portal that provides quick access to a variety of CalRecycle and other data sources and tools relating to California’s solid waste stream, waste disposal and recycling facility infrastructure, materials flow, recycling, and much more. Under the new disposal measurement system jurisdictions’ diversion rates will no longer be calculated by the CIWMB (now known as CalRecycle). 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. A jurisdiction can also check its diversion rate progress through 2006 by searching our Countywide, Regionwide, and Statewide Jurisdiction Diversion Progress Report page.

How can I compare the per capita rate, CalRecycle jurisdiction review status and program implementation data for every jurisdiction in a county, in a region, or statewide? jurisdiction in a county, in a region, or statewide? jurisdiction in a county, in a region, or statewide?

Easy! Just use the CalRecycle new Countywide, Regionwide and Statewide Jurisdiction Diversion Progress Report, which provides both summary and detailed information and can be customized by report year, or by review status.

My jurisdiction isn’t going to make its 50 percent per capita generation target. Are we going to be fined?

Not necessarily. CalRecycle considers every jurisdiction’s unique situation when evaluating diversion performance. CalRecycle looks closely at each jurisdiction’s efforts to implement its solid waste planning documents, to implement waste reduction and diversion programs, and even looks at its finances to find evidence of a “good faith” effort to meet the 50 percent diversion goal (Public Resources Code [PRC] Section 41850 (b) and (d)). Please see the enforcement guidelines to learn about the criteria CalRecycle uses when conducting performance evaluations and considering fines.

What happens after the year 2006? Do jurisdictions still have to file annual reports and divert 50 percent of their waste in 2007 and beyond? 

On Sept. 28, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1016. SB 1016 builds upon AB 939 by implementing a simplified and timelier indicator of jurisdiction performance that focuses on reported disposal at CalRecycle-permitted disposal facilities. Each jurisdiction will have its disposal indicator within 6-9 months instead of 18-24 months. This will allow jurisdictions to address program performance earlier.

My jurisdiction already filed its annual report. Why do we need a Department review?

The annual report is a jurisdiction’s self-evaluation of its performance (PRC Section 41821). The Jurisdiction review is CalRecycle’s evaluation of the jurisdiction’s performance (PRC Section 41825). CalRecycle may come to a different conclusion than the jurisdiction, based on its evaluation of all the evidence.

Can’t we just correct our old base year?

With the implementation of SB 1016, CalRecycle 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, CalRecycle will not review it for compliance determination.

Where do the adjustment factors for a jurisdiction come from, and how do I look at the ones for my jurisdiction?

Though adjustment factors and diversion rates are no longer required to determine a jurisdictions compliance, CalRecycle gets adjustment factor data from other State and federal agencies which collect demographic and economic data. Our adjustment method factors page explains it all. To locate the numbers for any jurisdiction, just go to our Default Adjustment Factors query page.

How do I find the base year for a jurisdiction?

Use the Diversion/Disposal Rate Summary for report years prior to 2007. After selecting your jurisdiction, click on the jurisdiction review status or the diversion rate calculator and it will show the base year.

How do I count transformation in the year 2000 and beyond?

Beginning in report year 2007 with the implementation of SB 1016 jurisdictions that deliver solid waste to a CalRecycle-permitted transformation facility (but do not host the facility), may receive a credit for transformation. The calculation under the new system maintains the credit from transformation. However, the way the credit is calculated has changed. Under SB 1016, jurisdictions can claim no more than 10 percent of the average (2003 through 2006) calculated per capita generation tonnage. This credit can count toward a maximum of 10 percent. Material delivered for transformation, but salvaged before transformation, may be subtracted from waste tonnage delivered. None of the ash resulting from combustion of the waste is assigned to a “deliverer” jurisdiction as disposal or diversion. For a more detailed explanation, please download the CalRecycle Agenda Item.

My jurisdiction’s five-year review is coming up. Do we have to rewrite our SRRE?

Only if your Local Task Force (LTF) determines that your Source Reduction and Recycling Element (SRRE) is outdated or inadequate. State law requires jurisdictions to review their SRRE five years after CalRecycle approval of the jurisdiction’s original planning documents (PRC Section 41770). The outcome of the LTF’s SRRE review, whether or not changes are recommended, should be reported to the county or regional agency and to CalRecycle. In July 2000, the Board (now known as CalRecycle) sent a memo to all jurisdictions regarding the five-year revision process. Furthermore, CalRecycle is developing a model SRRE for those jurisdictions contemplating a major revision. Check with your representative in the CalRecycle Local Assistance and Market Development staff for more information.

What are the benefits of forming a regional agency?

The most tangible benefit is that by combining their reporting obligations, jurisdictions forming a regional agency reduce their collective paperwork and regulatory burdens (PRC Section 40970). Combining many agencies into one decreases the complexity of disposal reporting and reduces the chances of DRS waste allocation errors. Other benefits may be even more substantial. For instance, jurisdictions joined in a regional agency may be more inclined to work together to solve regional problems and build a viable regional waste reduction infrastructure. Also, regional agencies can offer economies of scale not available to smaller jurisdictions. Last, but far from least, some jurisdictions may experience a decrease in per capita disposal as a result of joining a regional agency.

Does CalRecycle track per-capita waste generated and disposed for jurisdictions?

Per capita disposal measurement is the basis of SB 1016. Information about per capita disposal can be found in Data Central and information about the new goal measurement system is described in CalRecycle’s Goal Measurement: 2007 and Later web page. Due to the complexity of local waste streams and California’s goal measurement system, determining per capita generation and disposal is complicated.

Where do I find out about grants that may be available for my jurisdiction?

CalRecycle’s Web site specifically addresses the many types of grants which are available.

How can I get a list of the jurisdictions operating a certain type of program?

Check our Diversion Program database. The report is called “Statewide Occurrence of Operating Diversion Programs.” Selecting the type of program and the year generates a list of subcategories and numbers. Selecting the number gives the names of the jurisdictions operating those programs.

I need help filling out CalRecycle forms, understanding the Integrated Waste Management Act, or implementing programs. Who can help me?

Your Local Assistance and Market Development staff can either help you, or find the correct CalRecycle staff to respond to your questions or concerns.