Counting Class II Waste

To: Interested Parties

March 13, 2000

This letter is a follow-up clarification regarding the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery’s (CalRecycle) position concerning how local jurisdictions should treat waste that is going to “Class II landfills.” It is CalRecycle’s interpretation of statute that designated waste entering a landfill that handles “Class II waste” is solid waste and is intended to be included in the AB 939 goal measurement process. This is consistent with the ongoing treatment of this waste stream as supported by current disposal reporting regulations and the appropriate action taken by most landfills throughout the state.

While creating a hardship for some jurisdictions that did not include waste to Class II landfills in their base-year assessments, the counting of materials going to “Class II landfills” has had minimal impact on the vast majority of California’s jurisdiction’s diversion goal attainment. Some of the state’s 532 cities and counties, however, have been impacted by a significant decrease in their 1998 diversion rates as a result of this waste stream.

For those jurisdictions that have been negatively impacted by the disposal of this waste stream, CalRecycle has the authority [1] to consider its impact when evaluating a jurisdiction’s compliance with the Act. This flexible approach has already been undertaken by CalRecycle as part of its 1995/96 Biennial Review process. For example, the following is an excerpt from the Martinez agenda item heard in September 1999:

“The City of Martinez has implemented a significant number of its SRRE selected programs. The City of Martinez has large disposal fluctuations in Class II Specialized Waste material.  The fluctuation is expected to continue as companies update their industrial manufacturing processes. There is also anticipated Class II Special Waste tonnage with Caltrans’ upcoming Benicia Bridge and toll plaza replacement and retrofit projects that started in August 1999. Class II waste from local industries cannot be used as ADC due to State Air Resources Board standards…

CalRecycle staff has determined that the method used to calculate the revised diversion rate has been adequately documented and is generally consistent with previous CalRecycle standards for accuracy… Therefore, staff recommends that the request to correct the reporting year by granting a Class II Special Waste disposal correction be approved…”

In this particular case CalRecycle acknowledged the hardship that the City of Martinez was experiencing as a result of this waste stream and made an appropriate adjustment.  However, CalRecycle would also like to emphasize that, as current practices demonstrate, this waste type can be diverted in significant quantities and has actually resulted in a number of jurisdictions being positively impacted by its diversion.

The determination of whether a particular waste stream must go to a “Class II facility” is ultimately made by regional Air and Water Boards and may vary from region to region, depending upon circumstances. As highlighted in the Martinez example, the diversion potential of particular waste types may also be determined by other state agencies.

Although 1997 and 1998 are not goal years, the upcoming streamlined biennial reviews for these years presents an opportunity for CalRecycle staff to correct disposal numbers for those impacted jurisdictions. As part of its biennial evaluation process CalRecycle staff will request that jurisdictions negatively affected by waste going to “Class II landfills” provide information that justifies why a particular waste type should not be counted as part of the measurement system. The information provided to CalRecycle may include, but is not limited to, circumstances such as a directive from the regional Air or Water Boards.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding this letter please contact your local assistance staff representative at (916) 341-6199.


Ralph E. Chandler,
Executive Director

[1] California Public Resources Code, sections 41031-41331,41850

For more information contact: Local Assistance & Market Development,