Frequently Asked Questions


Assembly Bill (AB) 75, the State Agency Model Integrated Waste Management Act (Strom-Martin, Chapter 764, Statutes of 1999), took effect on Jan. 1, 2000. The Act mandated that state agencies develop and implement an integrated waste management plan that outlines the steps to be taken to achieve the required waste diversion goals.

Current statutes require all state agencies and large state facilities to divert at least 50 percent of their solid waste from disposal facilities on and after Jan. 1, 2004. The law also requires each state agency and large facility to submit an annual report to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) summarizing its yearly progress in implementing waste diversion programs.

This FAQ page is intended to help state agencies complete their required State Agency Waste Management Annual Report. The questions are broken down into the following categories:

    1. Regulations
    2. Annual Reports
    3. Disposal Target
    4. Diversion Programs and Documentation
    5. Disposal and Employee Data
    6. AB 1826 Mandatory Organics Recycling

A. Regulations

1) Did SB 1016 (2008) supersede the requirements of AB 75 (1999)?

The 50 percent waste diversion mandate originally enacted by the State Agency Integrated Waste Management Act (AB 75, Strom-Martin, Chapter 764, Statutes of 1999) has not changed. However, the Per Capita Disposal Measurement System Act ( SB 1016, Wiggins, Public Resources Code Section 42920-42927, Statutes of 2008) changed the way state agencies measure their progress toward meeting the statutory waste diversion mandates. This Act did not change the 50 percent waste diversion requirement. However, state agencies and large state facilities now have an individual disposal target (expressed as pounds per person per day) to represent their 50 percent diversion equivalent. This is one indicator of their progress toward meeting the mandate. The Per Capita Disposal Measurement Act (2008) also changed the annual reporting deadline to September 1. The report deadline changed again in 2012 per AB 341 (Chesbro, Chapter 476, Statutes of 2011) to May 1. More Information is available on CalRecycle’s State Agency Laws and Regulations webpage.

2) Does SB 1016 (2008) apply to state agencies already compliant under AB 75 (1999)?

The Per Capita Disposal Measurement System Act (SB 1016, Wiggins, Chapter 343, Statutes of 2008)  applies to all state agencies. Even if your agency was compliant under AB 75, all agencies must be compliant under SB 1016 based on the new measurement system. This Act changed the measurement system from an estimated diversion rate to an annual per capita disposal rate (based on the amount of trash disposed and expressed in pounds per person per day). This disposal rate is only one factor used to determine an agency’s compliance. Every year, each agency must report its diversion programs and explain its efforts to reduce waste, recycle, reuse, and buy recycled.

3) What is a “modified” report?

Agencies submit a “modified” report if the agency has fewer than 200 employees and generates less than 100 tons of disposal in a calendar year. If you believe your agency qualifies to file a “modified” report, contact your CalRecycle liaison.

4) Did AB 341 change the reporting requirements or the mandated diversion rate for state agencies?

No. State agencies and large state facilities must file an annual report to CalRecycle. However, the bill did change the report due date from September 1 to May 1. (For example, the 2015 annual report is due May 1, 2016). All state agencies are still required to achieve 50 percent diversion, and compliance is measured in part by whether the annual per capita disposal rate is lower than the per capita disposal target. State agencies are still required to report on how waste reduction, recycling, composting, and buy recycled programs and policies are implemented each year. Currently, although district agricultural associations and community colleges are not required to submit an annual report, each entity must still adhere to all other guidelines and maintain applicable programs.

5) Does AB 2396 (2016), change the reporting requirements or the mandated diversion rate for state agencies?

No. State agencies and large state facilities must still file an annual report to CalRecycle. AB 2396 (McCarty, Chapter 466, Statutes of 2016) clarifies that mandatory commercial recycling (AB 341) (see question 4 of this section) and mandatory organics recycling (AB 1826 Mandatory Organics Recycling) are a part of the waste diversion programs that agencies must include information on in their annual reports.

6) Our agency has excess furniture, supplies, and equipment that are state property. How can we remove these items from our workspace?

An agency must submit to the State and Federal Property Reuse Program Office a Property Survey Report (STD. 152) requesting direction and approval prior to disposition of any state-owned personal surplus property. More information can be found on the Department of General Services (DGS)  California Surplus Property System (CSPS) Webpage  or review the Surplus Property presentation given by DGS at the State Agency Green Employee (SAGE) Quarterly Meeting in October 2016.

B. Annual Reports

1) What information do state agencies need to submit in their State Agency Waste Management Annual Report?

For each annual report year, state agencies need to report total disposal tons (the amount of trash disposed in the landfill) and the total number of employees. If applicable in past years, an agency will also report the number of visitors/students/inmates/patients as a separate population. Agencies are also asked to verify facility locations; to confirm current waste reduction and recycling programs; and to provide details about how those programs are implemented.

2) Is the information submitted for the annual report based on a fiscal year or calendar year period?

The State Agency Waste Management Annual Report is based on the previous calendar year (January 1 to December 31). All activity reported should have occurred within this time frame. The annual report is due May 1 of each year (changed from September 1 per the passage of AB 341).

3) When will an agency receive its “User Name” and “Access Code” for the State Agency Waste Management Annual Report login?

Beginning in 2012, an email with the “User Name” and “Access Code” will no longer be sent. This is because a new reporting database has been developed, and access is based on secure WebPass access (like SABRC and other CalRecycle databases). All Recycling Coordinators were sent email notices to create a WebPass account and to create a password. If a Recycling Coordinator is also a SABRC reporter, then his/her SABRC WebPass password will work for the waste management annual report as well. If you are a new Recycling Coordinator and need to set up access, please contact Your agency’s contact and facility information may be updated at any time during the year.

4) I don’t know how or where to get a “WebPass” account and password to access my report.

All existing Recycling Coordinators were sent email notices to create a WebPass account and to create a password. (If a Recycling Coordinator is also a SABRC reporter, their SABRC WebPass password will work for the waste management annual report as well. Contact to be added to the waste management reporting database). If you are a new Recycling Coordinator and need to set up access, please contact your CalRecycle liaison  as well as to Please do not use a group email account for the WebPass. If multiple Recycling Coordinators or staff members work on one report, then each person needs their own WebPass. Please contact  for more information.

5) When can an agency view its 50 percent Equivalent Disposal Target and its Annual Per Capita Disposal Rate?

State agencies can view this information, in their current year annual report, once the appropriate disposal and employee data has been entered and saved. This information can be viewed from the Summary tab as well as from the Disposal tab. As of 2012, state agencies can access their report summary for the current year or for a past year at any time after signing in using their WebPass password. There is also the option to print/save a copy of the report. Reports from previous years can be viewed in PDF upon sign-in and by selecting a report year from the drop-down menu.

6) How do I edit my agency information during the middle of the year?

You may log into the reporting database any time of the year with your WebPass password and update agency information, contacts, and facilities. Select My Agencies from the left-hand navigation menu, then look in the upper right for the “Agency,” “Contacts,” and “Facilities” navigation tabs. When the new reporting cycle begins, your new report will use your updated information in the “Agency,” “Contacts,” and “Facilities” section.

C. Disposal Target

1) What is an agency’s per capita disposal target? How is it calculated?

The per capita disposal target is expressed as an agency’s 50 percent diversion equivalent (based on previous disposal and employee data reported). The target represents the pounds per person per day, if an agency were at exactly 50 percent diversion and 50 percent disposal. This target is already calculated and does not change from year to year. This is the benchmark to which the annual disposal rate is compared. For the target, the total 2006 waste generation (disposal + diversion = generation) was converted to pounds; divided by the number of employees; divided by 365 days; and divided by two (assuming 50 percent diversion and 50 percent disposal). The written calculation is: ((Total Waste Generation Tons x 2000) ÷ Population ÷ 365) ÷ 2 = 50 percent Equivalent PPD Target. Also see Understanding SB 1016 Solid Waste Disposal Measurement Act of 2008 for State Agencies.

2) What do you suggest when an agency does not know how the employee number was calculated for the last reporting period?

An agency should do the best it can in determining the number of employees. It is important to use a consistent method from year to year. However, if you cannot determine how the number of employees was determined in the past, we suggest the count be based upon full-time-equivalent employees. Your human resources, accounting, or payroll department may help determine this number. The annual report includes a question regarding how you determined the number of employees; be sure to provide sufficient detail so the method used to count employees is clear and may be followed for subsequent reports.

3) In the case of a veterans’ home, do you count the residents and visitors in the employee count?

The primary importance is for a reporting agency to be consistent. If an agency included both residents and visitors in its employee count for the 2006 Waste Management Report, then that is what it should continue to do. If not, then documentation needs to be recorded in the annual report to reflect the method(s) used to determine employee count. If there is no history of how the employee count was determined, the count should include only the number of employees working full-time (or full-time equivalents) at the veterans’ home. Check with your human resources or payroll office. Moreover, residents/patients are usually considered an additional (non-employee) population and are used in a separate per capita disposal calculation. Your report may already have a separate box to enter the total additional (non-employee) population. If your annual report does not have separate box for this, please contact

4) How does an agency account for students, visitors, inmates, and patients?

Students, visitors, inmates, and patients are considered an additional (non-employee) population. If an agency feels that an additional population has a significant impact on the amount of waste generated, then CalRecycle can provide an additional separate box to enter the total additional population. The annual report would then calculate a per capita disposal rate (pounds per person per day) so an agency can see the impact this population may have on the agency’s waste stream. Providing the additional data does not affect an agency’s employee per capita disposal rate. For accuracy, it is important that the method used to account for this additional (non-employee) population is consistent for each report year.

D. Diversion Programs and Documentation

1) Is a state agency or large state facility still required to keep track of the number of tons diverted through its agency diversion program?

Your agency is responsible for retaining source documentation related to disposal tons reported to CalRecycle. In addition, although CalRecycle does not require agencies to report the amount of materials diverted from landfills through activities such as recycling, composting, and source reduction, each agency should maintain source documentation related to these activities.

2) How long should an agency or large state facility keep backup documentation for the report?

It is suggested for a reporting agency to keep backup documentation of their disposal numbers and diversion programs as far back as 2006 since this is the reporting year in which the per capita disposal rate/target is based. Following the passage of the State Agency Integrated Waste Management Plan statutes (PRC 42920 et sec), the Department has relied on several sections of the Government Code (including but not limited to the State Records Management Act sections 12270–12279 and State Records section 14740–14746) and the State Administrative Manual (SAM) (Chapter 1600) as the cornerstone for guiding all reporting state agencies and large state facilities in answering the records retention question. The State Agency Integrated Waste Management Plan statutes did not provide the Department with any authority to deviate from the existing records management (retention) laws. It is recommended that each state agency or large facility follow its departmental policy for reports and records retention.

3) Do the number of hits to a website or use of paperless transactions count as diversion?

Using a website or using paperless transactions are examples of an education and outreach program and a source reduction program respectively, which are considered in determining compliance with the mandate. Per SB 1016, the measurement system changed from a largely estimated diversion rate to a more realistic annual per capita disposal rate. Although the annual report no longer collects source reduction, recycling, or other diversion tonnages, agencies are responsible for maintaining related documentation. In the report, you will indicate the programs you are implementing. Also, in your narrative responses in the report, please describe efforts to provide outreach/education, reduce waste, recycle, and reuse, as well as to buy recycled content products.

4) Our agency has non-rechargeable AA, AAA, D, C, and 9-volt batteries, and we are having trouble finding a recycling location as most only accept them from local residents.

As referenced in the DGS Statewide Administrative Manual Chapter 1930.15, batteries are considered universal waste, and agencies should ship their universal waste to another handler, a universal waste transfer station, a recycling facility, or a disposal facility. A state agency should not expect to use a residential drop-off location for batteries. At the Cal/EPA Headquarters in Sacramento, approximately 300 pounds of batteries are collected from its departments every few months and delivered to a local battery recycler that charges a fee to receive the batteries. Resources, recycling locators, and other potential solutions for agencies are listed on CalRecycle’s Waste Prevention Information Exchange: Batteries webpage. Agencies can also check with their local jurisdiction to find out what to do with used batteries.

E. Disposal and Employee Data

1) How do I calculate my agency’s disposal tons?

There are a couple of methods to determine your agency’s disposal tonnage. Compiling weight tickets from your waste hauler will provide information in order to calculate the actual weight of your disposal. Another method is to extrapolate disposal tonnage based on surveys of waste dumpsters, or information provided by building/facilities management. It is important to be consistent and use the same method for every report year, and to document this method in the annual report. For assistance, please consult with your CalRecycle liaison.

2) Are weight ticket receipts for documentation of disposal still required for submission of the State Agency Waste Management Annual Report?

CalRecycle does not require submission of actual weight tickets of disposal tonnage, but each agency is responsible for maintaining such documentation. The data provided in the annual report is used to calculate the report year’s per capita disposal rate, and to illustrate disposal trends over time. You will use the weight tickets to add up the annual disposal tons to provide in the report. If you are unsure about how to read the weight tickets or how to read a spreadsheet provided by your hauler, please contact your CalRecycle liaison for assistance.

3) Do you count confidential shredded materials as part of disposal?

If the shredded materials are sent to a facility for recycling or composting, they are not considered disposal and should not be included in your agency’s disposal number. However, any other materials, including confidential shredded materials that are disposed of at a landfill or are not recovered at a secondary facility (such as a materials transfer station), would be included in your agency’s disposal number.

4) Who should be counted as employees, and who should be counted as non-employees?

Employees are the total number of employees working at your agency during the report year. This is typically full-time employees or full-time-equivalents. Contact your human resources, accounting, or budgeting/payroll office to acquire this information. Contact a relevant department within your agency concerning a non-employee population (such as students, visitors, inmates, residents, contractors, and patients). This is the additional population that significantly contributes to the amount of waste created at your agency/facilities.

5) How do I know if my agency is meeting its 50 percent diversion mandate?

If an agency’s report year/annual per capita disposal is less than their 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target, AND the agency is adequately implementing diversion programs, the agency would be considered in compliance. For example, if an agency’s annual disposal is more than their disposal target, that means the agency is not diverting at least 50% of its waste, and the agency would be considered out of compliance and would be reviewed further to determine if adequate diversion programs are being implemented. Understanding SB 1016 Solid Waste Disposal Measurement Act of 2008 for State Agencies.

6) My hauler doesn’t provide weight tickets. How do I calculate disposal?

Do you know how disposal was calculated for the annual report in the past? If so, follow that same method. If you do not know, estimate the disposal tonnage based on surveys of waste dumpsters, the size of dumpsters, how full are they at pickup, and how often the dumpsters are emptied by your hauler. You hauler might be able to assist you with an estimated tonnage conversion. CalRecycle staff can also help review the proposed estimate. It is important to be consistent and use the same method for every report year, and to document/explain this method in the annual report. For assistance, please consult with your  CalRecycle liaison.

F. AB 1826 Mandatory Organics Recycling

1) What is organic waste?

Organic waste as defined in the law includes the following material: food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste (see Question 10 under General on the main AB 1826 FAQ for definition of food-soiled paper). These categories represent the largest subsets of organic waste that is currently disposed in California. There are other forms of organic waste such as textiles and manure that can be recycled at organic recycling facilities, but those materials are not specifically covered in the legislation.

Examples of food-soiled paper that are typically mixed in with food waste include uncoated products such as napkins, paper towels, tissues, formed paper packaging such as egg cartons, and some paper plates and cups. Coated paper products–such as food-service wrappers, to-go containers, pizza boxes, cardboard boxes, and similar materials can contain liners made of polyethylene or other synthetic grease/water resistant components. It is difficult to visibly discern whether those additional materials are compostable. This does not apply to food packaging or service-ware certified and labeled “compostable.”

Examples of “food waste” includes solid, semisolid, and liquid food, such as, fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, bones, poultry, seafood, bread, rice, pasta, and oils; coffee grounds and filters and tea bags; cut flowers and herbs; and any putrescible matter produced from human or animal food production, preparation, and consumption activities. Food waste includes food-soiled paper.

2) What is the definition of a business, and which businesses are required to comply with the new law?

The law defines a business as a commercial or public entity, including but not limited to a firm, partnership, proprietorship, joint stock company, corporation, or association that is organized as a for-profit or nonprofit entity, strip mall (e.g., property complex containing two or more commercial entities), industrial facility, school, school district, California State University, community college, University of California, special district or a federal, state, local, regional agency or facility, or a multifamily residential dwelling.

3) Are state facilities subject to the law?

Yes, the definition of business includes public entities such as federal, state, and local facilities. State agencies would be required to divert the material types identified in question “F-1) What is organic waste.” State agencies can comply with the new requirements by taking one or any combination of the following actions:

    • Source-separate organic waste from other waste and subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that specifically includes collection and recycling of organic waste.
    • Recycle organic waste on-site, or self-haul for organics recycling. Subscribe to an organic waste recycling service that includes mixed-waste processing that specifically recycles organic waste.
    • Sell or donate the generated organic waste.
    • Recycle the material on-site through such means as composting, anaerobic digestion, and/or vermicomposting.

State agency representatives can contact their CalRecycle liaison for additional information about the law and resources to help the agency develop its program. State agencies should report programs in their annual State Agency Waste Management Report due May 1 each year.

4) Many large generators subject to the law are state facilities, such as colleges, prisons, Caltrans, and school districts. Local government has no authority over these large generators. For example, state facilities contract separately for garbage service. Will CalRecycle be responsible for ensuring that these generators comply with AB 1826?

CalRecycle recognizes that jurisdictions cannot require state agencies to recycle organics. However, jurisdictions should implement an organics recycling program to meet the needs of these businesses and, just as with Mandatory Commercial Recycling requirements, jurisdictions are to provide annual education and outreach in the form of electronic and print communication as well as direct contact. If any businesses, including state facilities, do not recycle, the jurisdiction is required to conduct annual monitoring and inform these entities annually about the law and how to recycle. Local Assistance and Market Development staff can assist with state facilities, including contacting them to inform them of the law and how they can recycle, setting up a meeting to discuss options for recycling, etc. If CalRecycle finds that a state agency or facility that falls under the AB 1826 requirements is not implementing an organics recycling program, the department would identify those agencies in a list that it releases every two years in a public meeting summarizing state agency compliance with AB 75. Also, CalRecycle would be following up and addressing it in the appropriate context, including identifying agencies/facilities that are not in compliance with a State law on its website, etc.

5) If a jurisdiction has a state agency that meets the definition of a large generator, and that jurisdiction has submitted the required documentation to be exempted from the law, is the state agency still required to recycle its organics, or is it included within the exemption?

PRC section 42649.81(5) provides for an exemption from the requirements of this law to extend to a business that is located in a rural jurisdiction that has submitted a resolution to CalRecycle for an exemption pursuant to PRC section 42649.82(2)(a). However, since this question is about a state agency, it should also be noted that state agencies are subject to other requirements in statute, including PRC sections 42649.2 and 42920-42921.5. More information about the waste diversion requirements for state agencies can be found on the Waste Management for State Agencies webpage.

6) For a venue that hosts events, such as fairgrounds, convention centers, or parks, is the venue or the event responsible for recycling organic material?

Under AB 1826, the responsibility to recycle organics is the venue’s. In addition, there may be specific local requirements for venues to recycle organics at large events.

7) We are a large retailer/agency with multiple locations throughout the state. Must all locations have an organic recycling program in place by April 1, 2016?

Every individual location that meets the definition of a business and falls within the covered threshold for that year is required to implement an organics recycling program (see the thresholds and compliance schedule). The organic waste recycling program that will be implemented at each location will depend on the options available. Some jurisdictions may not yet have an organic waste recycling program in place. If separate organic waste collection and recycling services are not yet offered through a local ordinance or a local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement, a business generating organic waste may arrange for separate organic waste collection and recycling services until the local ordinance or local jurisdiction’s franchise agreement includes such services. Outside of collection services offered by a waste hauler, other opportunities for organic waste diversion may exist, such as food donation or animal feed options for food material, landscaping service providers for green waste and landscape and pruning waste, and salvage companies for nonhazardous wood waste. If these types of services are also not available in the jurisdiction, the store site may need to wait until the local infrastructure is developed to address the needs of covered businesses. The jurisdiction will be required to provide education and outreach to covered businesses annually regarding its organic waste recycling program and other organic waste recycling opportunities.

8) Does the threshold of 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week apply as a total from our entire state agency, or from our individual sites?

The thresholds apply to individual sites.

9) Our agency has several work sites that do not typically generate enough waste to fall under the organic recycling requirements. However, the sites periodically have special events, for example construction projects, that would generate enough waste in a given week to meet the minimum thresholds outlined in the bill. Are these sites subject to the law?

During the time period that a site generates an amount of waste that exceeds the minimum threshold (see the thresholds and compliance schedule), the business will need to arrange for organics recycling services. In addition, if each site has individual waste collection, then each site operated by a business or agency would be considered separately in determining whether the law is applicable. (See the next question regarding temporary waste-generating activities).

10) Does the requirement to report recycling and organic waste diversion apply to just the agency itself or does it include reporting of organics generated by our contractors?

The material generated by a contractor and/or subcontractor are included in determining the agency’s threshold, and the material generated by the contractor and/or subcontractor should be recycled. As such, the reporting and the recycling requirements should be made clear in your contracts.

11) Are there any exemptions for temporary waste-generating activities such as filming locations, special events, seasonal store sites, etc.?

No. Businesses and Agencies engaged in temporary activities such as these should contact the local jurisdiction to determine how best to proceed with recycling organic material. Temporary waste-generating activities may already be tracked by the jurisdiction. Special event licenses and filming permits, for example, may be required for operations of this type. Temporary retail sites may also be tracked through the jurisdiction’s business license or tax collection office. The jurisdiction contact(s) tasked with implementing identification, education, outreach, and monitoring efforts in relation to the mandatory commercial recycling program can work with other departments to determine the best way to provide education and outreach to temporary commercial waste generators, including identifying recycling opportunities and monitoring the results of these efforts. It should be noted that some temporary uses, such as filming locations, may have contracts to handle their recyclable organic material through the permanent studio site. Additional guidance regarding recycling at special events and location film shooting can be found on the Venues and Events Waste Reduction page. (Please also see the previous question regarding temporary sites.)

12) Are State Agencies in a building managed by DGS property management or other property management services required to recycle organic materials?

The requirement to recycle in AB 1826 is on the state agency that is in the building owned by DGS. The law requires the business, in this case the state agency, to recycle the organics. However, the agency would need to interact with whoever manages the solid waste collection services for the building, and a new organics recycling collection service would need to be established. We assume that it would be the building owner, in this case DGS, that manages the solid waste collection services for the building. Thus, DGS plays a role in helping to make this happen for the state agency that is located in the building. The law also states that a building owner can require tenants to source-separate organics—this applies to DGS as the building owner. The State Administrative Manual (SAM) states that each state entity that is responsible for the facility– in this case DGS–shall provide adequate areas for collecting, storing, and loading of recyclables, which includes organics. For state-owned and state-leased facilities, each respective state entity responsible for the planning and development of facilities to house state operations shall consider providing adequate, accessible, and convenient areas for collecting, storing, and loading recyclable materials. Also, DGS likely could get a better deal on service costs if they leverage their buildings together when hiring a service provider. DGS might also engage the Division of Recycling (DOR) to collect the material and take it to the building’s loading dock for collection by the service provider.

For more information contact: Recycling Coordinator,, or Buy Recycled Campaign,