California’s 2013 Per Capita Disposal Rate

In 2013, California’s statewide disposal was 30.2 million tons and population was 38 million residents. This resulted in a per resident disposal rate of 4.4 pounds/resident/day calculated using SB 1016’s measurement system. The “diversion rate equivalent” for 2013 was 65 percent.

The 2013 per employee disposal rate was 10.6 pounds/employee/day, and the per employee “diversion rate equivalent” was at 66 percent.

Almost all (99 percent) of California’s 30.2 million tons of disposal were landfilled in California, while approximately 1 percent was exported to landfills out of state. An additional 0.86 million tons were transformed at three permitted waste-to energy plants in California, but not included in the disposal rate estimate because of provisions in the law that allow limited diversion credit for transformation.

According to the California Department of Finance, labor markets, real estate markets, and construction, continued to steadily improve in 2013 though they remained well below pre-recession peaks. As the economy continues to recover and more people find work, solid waste generation will continue to increase. If diversion programs are not in place to handle additional waste then we can expect higher amounts to be landfilled in the future. 2013 has shown the first increase in disposal since 2005. If we do not want this to continue then outlets other than landfills must be found.

While California as a whole remained well above the 50 percent diversion mandate set for local jurisdictions, the statewide recycling rate for 2013 remained unchanged at 50 percent in the effort to achieve 75 percent recycling by 2020. In calculating the recycling rate, CalRecycle removes from the equation certain materials and activities currently counted as diversion, such as alternative daily cover and solid waste used as fuel.

Note: Chapter 476, Statutes of 2011 (Chesbro, AB 341) declared that by 2020 the state of California will source reduce, recycle, or compost no less than 75 percent of solid waste generated. While similar to the state’s 50 percent waste diversion mandate for local jurisdictions, the 75 percent recycling goal does have some key differences.

Previous Years’ Statewide Disposal Rates

For more information contact: Local Assistance & Market Development,