California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Grow Your Business: Financial and Market Development Assistance

Financial Resources and Economic Incentives

Economic incentives are mechanisms that provide financial rewards for reducing environmental impacts or penalties for increasing them. Some economic incentives provided by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) includes grants, payment loan programs to address household hazardous waste, used oil, and tires. In addition, CalRecycle’s Recycling Market Development Zone Loan Program combines recycling with economic development to fuel new businesses, expand existing ones, create jobs, and divert waste from landfills.

Financial Economic Incentives

The following categories are financial economic incentives and disincentives that are either currently applied or could be applied to increase diversion of organics and other recyclable materials. These categories focus on incentives and programs that are not offered by the CalRecycle or the Department of Conservation.

Funding: Grants, Loans, and Bonds

Grants are a sum of non-refunded money given by a government agency for specific purpose.

Loans are money borrowed from a government agency.

Bonds are certificates issued by a government or public company promising to repay money at a fixed rate and specified time.

Tax Credits

Tax Credits reduce business tax liability.


A rebate is an amount paid by way of reduction, return, or refund on what has already been paid or contributed.

Tradable Permits and Tariff Contracts

Tradable Permits are market-oriented environmental policy that sets a ceiling on the quantity of pollution allowed, and give marketable or tradable permits to emit pollutants up to a cap.

Tariff Contracts are guaranteed contracts that provide predictable revenue streams over a specified term, with specified operating conditions.

Tipping Fees and Other Local Financing Mechanisms

  • Local Disposal Tipping Fees provide funding for diversion programs administered by CalRecycle and local jurisdictions. Tipping fees are generally used to fund daily operational and closure costs of a landfill, but may also be used to fund recycling programs, litter abatement, public education efforts, and other programs. A local tipping fee can act as an incentive to encourage certain practices or disincentive to discourage other practices. For example, the disposal tipping fee for compostable organic materials can be set at a much higher rate than that set by the composting facility. This would act as an incentive for haulers to bring these materials to the compost facility rather than the landfill.
  • Integrated Waste Management Account Disposal Tipping Fee. CalRecycle’s current maximum tipping fee of $1.40 per ton took effect on July 1, 2001. State law [AB 1220 (Eastin) Chapter 656, Statutes of 1993] caps the tipping fee at this level. The current fee of $1.40 per ton is so low as to offer little disincentive to landfilling. In the past, attempts to raise the tipping fee have been defeated (e.g., AB 1610, Nunez). In the event the tipping fee is increased, one option for these funds is developing a grant program that would provide new incentives for diversion activities.
  • This 60-page report ”Landfill Tipping Fees in California” (PDF, 1.1 MB) discusses complexity and variation in local, regional and statewide landfill tipping fees based on posted “self-haul” rates and compares California to other states and the European Union. Comparison are made for both MSW and green waste fees.  Report also provides spatial analysis for California MSW tipping fee data by region, by ownership (public/private), disposal tonnage, rural/urban location and proximity to other landfills.  Although the report was published in March 2015, much of the information was presented during the October 2014 Monthly Meeting.
  • Differential Fee structures (PDF, 189 KB) can be used to incentivize products and manufacturing processes.
  • As part of California's 75 Percent Initiative, CalRecycle sponsored a series of webinars, hosted by the Institute for Local Government, to explore the traditional and innovative ways that cities and counties across the state are funding local recycling programs.
    • November 4, 2014 webinar explores effect of Propositions 26 and 218 on the financing of community solid waste and recycling programs.
    • December 2, 2014 webinar presents an overview of funding mechanisms used in California including: user fees, franchise fees, tipping fees and sales of recyclable materials, and; Kern County case study.
  • Additionally, as part of a CalRecycle-approved contract , the Institute, in conjunction with CalRecycle and contract advisory committee members from throughout the solid waste industry, published Financing Recycling Programs and Facilities: Understanding Options and Resources. This document offers an overview of the current methods that local agencies use to fund their recycling programs and how the public and private sectors are financing recycling facilities. Connecting the Dots: Recycling Climate and Economic Development discusses how increasing recycling can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and creating the facilities for that recycling and use of recycling materials will promote economic development. These documents, and others, are available on ILG’s Recycling Resource Center which also includes many resources, webinars, and case stories to help local governments finance and site recycling projects and programs in their community. Other topics include: anaerobic digestion, permitting requirements, and CEQA compliance.
  • Multiple workshops co-sponsored by CalRecycle with HF&H Consultants to explore managing rates related to collection, processing and disposal of discards.

June 2009 Economic Incentives Workshop

  • An Economics Incentives Workshop held in June 2009 included discussion about economic incentives that could be used to assist jurisdictions and businesses in diverting material from the landfill and using more organic and recyclable materials. This information is helped CalRecycle continue to achieve strategic directives regarding organic materials and development of additional processing and manufacturing infrastructure in the state.

Grow Your Business: Financial and Market Development Assistance

Last updated: June 29, 2015
Business Assistance,
Local Assistance & Market Development, (916) 341-6199