California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Local Government Central

Goal Measurement FAQs

Following are waste management and waste diversion questions most frequently posed to CalRecycle by local government solid waste officials.

Overview | Compliance | Credits | Measurement | Reporting | Statewide

Overview

Compliance

Credits

Measurement

Reporting

Statewide

Overview

What are the benefits of the new system?

Under the old system, calculating diversion rates was a time-consuming and lengthy process, and rates could not be finalized for several years after the fact. Diversion rates also were based on estimates of generation that often were inaccurate. The new system allows jurisdictions to see their progress in a timely manner. 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.

What is the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target?

The 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target is the amount of disposal a jurisdiction would have had during the base period if it had been exactly at a 50 percent diversion rate. It is calculated using the average of 2003-2006 per capita generation for each jurisdiction. It then divides this generation average in half to determine the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target.

How do I explain to elected officials that “diversion rates” will no longer be used by CalRecycle?

Remember that disposing less generally means that you are diverting more! So now, you should be thinking that if your per capita disposal rate is less than your target, then that means you're doing a great job with your programs and that is great news! Under the old system, the objective was to be at or above a 50 percent diversion rate. Under the new system the objective is to be below your jurisdiction's 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target. In cases where disposal does increase above your target, CalRecycle will work with you to determine the cause(s) of disposal increase.

What is compliance based on now?

SB 1016 does not change the 50 percent requirement in AB 939--it just measures it differently. Compliance is the same under the new system as it was under the old system, except that the emphasis on program implementation is more explicit now. Under both systems, the most important aspect of compliance is program implementation. To evaluate compliance, CalRecycle will look at a jurisdiction's per capita disposal rate as an indicator of how well its programs are doing to keep disposal at or below a jurisdiction's unique 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target. But this number does not determine compliance. Compliance is based on CalRecycle evaluating that a jurisdiction is continuing to implement the programs it chose and is making progress in meeting its target.

Can I compare my number to another jurisdiction?

Remember that each jurisdiction is unique! Each one has its own 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target, different demographics and industrial bases. You may be used to comparing your diversion rate with other jurisdictions in the region, but because the per capita disposal calculation is unique to each jurisdiction, it is impossible to compare targets and disposal rates across jurisdictions.

Compliance

Will CalRecycle determine compliance with AB 939 based solely on an annual per capita disposal rate?

No. SB 1016 actually codifies how CalRecycle historically has been reviewing jurisdictions' compliance by focusing on program implementation. The law states that an annual per capita disposal rate is not determinative of jurisdiction compliance. It is one factor CalRecycle will use to evaluate diversion program implementation. CalRecycle Local Assistance and Market Development (LAMD) staff will continue to review the implementation of those local programs that the jurisdiction has chosen, to determine if the jurisdiction has met the requirements of AB 939. In doing this, CalRecycle will continue to rely on Annual Reports, staff jurisdiction visits and other information that the jurisdiction deems relevant to local program work. Furthermore, CalRecycle will use each jurisdiction's per capita disposal rate to determine which cycle, either a four-year or two-year cycle, that each jurisdiction is in for the next CalRecycle review.

Is a "Compliance Order" automatically assessed if my jurisdiction's annual per capita disposal rate is more than its calculated 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target?

No, the law states:

"It is the intent of the Legislature that CalRecycle shall not consider a jurisdiction's per capita disposal rate to be determinative as to whether the jurisdiction has made a good faith effort to implement its source reduction and recycling element or its household hazardous waste element." (emphasis added)

In cases where disposal does increase above your target, then CalRecycle will work with you to figure out why. Compliance is based on CalRecycle evaluating that a jurisdiction is continuing to implement the programs it chose and is making progress in meeting its target.

Did SB 1016 change the frequency of CalRecycle review cycle?

In some cases, yes.

For those jurisdictions that were below 50 percent in 2006, but were approved by the Board as having made a good faith effort in the 2005-06 Biennial Review, the review cycle remains on a two-year cycle. The next CalRecycle review for these jurisdictions will be conducted in 2010 and will cover the program reporting years of 2007-2009. Note: Due to the implementation timing of the legislation, the 2007 reporting year is included in the first two-year review cycle.

For those jurisdictions that were at or above a 50 percent diversion rate in 2006 and had implemented their programs and were approved by the Board in 2005-06 Biennial Review, they are now on a four-year review cycle. The next CalRecycle review cycle for these jurisdictions will be conducted in 2012 and will cover the reporting years of 2007-11. Note: Due to the implementation timing of the legislation, the 2007 reporting year is being included in the four-year review cycle.

For any jurisdictions that form a new regional agency after 2008, they may be on a four-year or two-year CalRecycle review cycle depending on the individual jurisdiction's review status for the 2005-06 review. For example, if a new regional agency forms after 2008 and if one of the jurisdictions in the regional agency were deemed as being good faith effort in the 2005-06 Biennial Review, then the regional agency would be on a two-year cycle initially. Therefore, their next review would be conducted in 2010. Please contact your LAMD representative to discuss your particular regional agency review cycle.

Credits

Will there still be a Biomass Credit?

Not as a separate calculation. However, because the annual per capita disposal rate is based on disposal tons, any biomass will not be reported as disposal. In other words, there is no cap on the amount of material a jurisdiction can send to biomass . Therefore, sending material to biomass will help to reduce disposal.

Can my jurisdiction still use transformation as a means to decrease its disposal rate?

Yes. The calculation under the new system maintains the credit from transformation. However, the way the credit is calculated has changed, as illustrated below. Under SB 1016, jurisdictions can claim no more than 10 percent of the average (2003 through 2006) calculated per capita generation tonnage.

How the jurisdictions can claim no more than 10 percent of the calculated per capita generation tonnage as transformation credit.

Measurement

What is the measurement?

Starting with the 2007 reporting year, the Board converted each jurisdiction's 50 percent diversion goal into a 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target using a very simple mathematical equation. Then annually each jurisdiction's actual annual per capita disposal rate is compared to their 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target. While the terminology is new and different, the concept remains simple. Under the new system, the objective is to be below the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target. It is important to understand the difference between the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target and the annual per capita disposal rate. See question to understand how this calculation is made.

How will CalRecycle calculate a jurisdiction's 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target rate?

The 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target is the amount of disposal a jurisdiction would have had during the base period if it had been exactly at a 50 percent diversion rate. It is calculated using the average of 2003-2006 per capita generation for each jurisdiction. It divides this generation average in half to determine the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target. For a rural reduction, to calculate, instead of dividing by 2 (same as multiplying by 0.5), multiply by 1 minus the diversion percentage rate (example: 30 percent diversion rate, multiply by 1--0.3 or 0.7).

Note that per capita disposal uses only two factors: jurisdiction disposal and jurisdiction population. Disposal facility reports are provided quarterly to CalRecycle. The Department of Finance reports annually on jurisdiction population.

How will CalRecycle calculate the industry employment 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target rate?

Industry employment will be calculated using the same method as the population 50 percent equivalent disposal target rate. However, since industry employment at the jurisdiction level is not available for years prior to 2005, employment and generation for the years 2005 and 2006 only will be used.

Can a jurisdiction calculate a diversion rate using the Adjustment Method after 2007?

Jurisdictions may estimate diversion rates for internal review purposes; however, beginning in measurement year 2007 the Board will not consider diversion rates. CalRecycle will continue to provide a blank calculator and a link to the adjustment factors for jurisdictions. However, Taxable Sales Deflator Index (TSDI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment factors for the reporting year may not be available for a year or more after the measurement year.

What if a city has typically used its county population for the diversion rate calculation -- would it be able to continue to use countywide numbers in the per capita calculation?

No. It must use jurisdiction specific population, or jurisdiction industry employment.

How would the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target be calculated for a jurisdiction that has a rural reduced goal?

The 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target will be based on the rural reduced goal. For example, if a jurisdiction has a rural reduced goal of 35 percent, its target would be 65 percent of the per capita base generation (see the above question about calculations an example).

What can I do if I believe the annual per capita disposal rate does not accurately reflect my jurisdiction's disposal reduction?

It is important to note that the annual per capita disposal rate is not determinative of jurisdiction compliance. Since the per capita disposal rate is only one factor used to evaluate program implementation, your time and resources may be better spent on program implementation and monitoring activities. Both jurisdiction population and jurisdiction industry employment will be provided in the EAR. Please remember that these are just factors to consider and are not determinative of compliance. Section 41780.05(c), addresses this concern:

“(2) (A) If a jurisdiction is predominated by commercial or industrial activities and by solid waste generation from those sources, CalRecycle may alternatively calculate per capita disposal to reflect those differing conditions.

(C) CalRecycle shall calculate the per capita disposal rate for a jurisdiction subject to this paragraph using the level of industry employment in a jurisdiction instead of the level of population in a jurisdiction.

(3) If CalRecycle determines that the method for calculating the per capita disposal rate for a jurisdiction provided by paragraph (1) or (2) does not accurately reflect that jurisdiction's disposal reduction, CalRecycle may use an alternative method of calculating the per capita disposal rate that more accurately reflects the jurisdiction's efforts to divert solid waste.”

Additionally, to address situations where the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target cannot be accurately determined or if the target is no longer representative of a jurisdiction's waste stream, LAMD staff will evaluate trends in the jurisdiction's per capita disposal rate. In the rare cases that these factors are not representative of changes in your jurisdiction, please explain other factors to your LAMD representative. In collaboration with the jurisdiction, LAMD staff will evaluate other per capita factors and the impact these have on the per capita disposal rate.

What can I do if landfill disposal data is flawed and impacts my per capita disposal number?

To ensure that jurisdictions may address misallocation issues, SB 1016 continues to allow verified disposal deductions. Jurisdictions should work closely with landfills and haulers to encourage accurate disposal reporting, and to put systems in place that discourage misreporting. In addition, some jurisdictions have formed regional agencies to eliminate misallocation problems that cannot be overcome in any other way. If misallocation issues continue, please discuss options with LAMD staff

Can a jurisdiction submit a new base year/generation study?

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.

If a jurisdiction established a new base year in 2004, which years does CalRecycle use to calculate the equivalent per capita disposal rate?

In this case, the jurisdiction's equivalent per capita disposal target will be calculated by using the average of 2004, 2005, and 2006 per capita disposal rates.

What about new cities and new regional agencies?

CalRecycle will modify the method of calculating the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target for a jurisdiction to accommodate the incorporation of a new city, the formation of a new regional agency, or changes in membership of an existing member agency. This analysis is done on a case by case basis as is allowed by statute. Please contact your LAMD representative to discuss any new cities or regional agencies.

If a Regional Agency changes its membership, how is the base calculation adjusted?

SB 1016 specifically cites this instance as a special case. The calculation may use 2003-2006 generation numbers (using the base-years for all current members) and/or the year that best fits the current membership. A jurisdiction in this situation should contact its LAMD representative to discuss the options.

Reporting

Can my jurisdiction submit an alternative population (or employment) factor?

Under the provisions of SB 1016, as of January 1, 2009, only the population numbers issued by the California Department of Finance and the employment numbers issued by the California Employment Development Department can be used to determine a jurisdiction's per capita solid waste disposal rate. A jurisdiction is not permitted to submit alternative population and employment factors for this purpose. However, the per capital disposal rate does not, in itself, determine compliance with Public Resources Code (PRC) Section 41780; it is only a factor to be used in determining the level of CalRecycle review of a jurisdiction's program implementation. (See PRC Sections 41780.05(b)(2) and 41825(e)(5)). If desired, the jurisdiction may submit alternative employment, population, or any other information to CalRecycle which it believes describes its good faith effort to implement its programs. (See PRC Section 41821(c)(6)).

How will the 2007 Electronic Annual Report (EAR) differ from prior reports?

The primary change is a disposal per capita calculation rather than a diversion percentage calculation. The EAR will provide the 50 percent equivalent per capita disposal target and calculate per capita disposal based upon industry employment and population for each jurisdiction. Other minor EAR changes will be posted with an explanation on the web. Additionally, webinars will be held to demonstrate how the EAR works. NOTE: It is important to continue providing venues and events recycling information.

Do jurisdictions need to provide diversion data for their owned-and-operated diversion programs listed in the EAR?

This remains optional; it has never been mandatory to provide this data.

Can a jurisdiction submit a reporting year disposal modification request?

Yes. The disposal modification process is unchanged. Disposal modification requests should be submitted at the same time as the EAR or no later than the EAR submittal deadline.

Do I have to update my SRRE or HHWE if program changes take place?

No. Jurisdictions can continue to update their program implementation efforts in the EAR. The EAR contains all of your SRRE/HHWE programs and notes. Additionally, the EAR contains programs that have been added as alternative programs. If programs no longer apply or if new programs have been added, please explain these changes in the SRRE/HHWE Program section of the EAR.

Statewide

What is the latest statewide per capita disposal rate?

Find California's most recent disposal rate information on our Statewide Per Capita Disposal Rate page.

What data was used to calculate the statewide per capita disposal rate?

The following data was used to calculate the statewide per resident disposal rate:

  • Disposal (Calendar Year) from CalRecycle's Disposal Reporting System. Disposal = Landfilled + Export, but not Transformation (due to statutory credit). No correction for inert facility definition changes in the early 2000s. No correction for disaster waste.
  • Population data from the Department of Finance.

Did the slow economy cause the lower per capita disposal rates in 2009 and 2010?

When the economy slows, people produce less, buy less, and dispose of less. So, while the economic downturn has likely been the major driver of the significant drop in disposal, continued implementation of diversion programs has undoubtedly also led to decreased disposal. When the economy rebounds waste generation will increase as well, so if these decreases in disposal are to last, efforts to divert solid waste cannot wane. If the economy recovers rapidly and diversion programs are not in place to handle the increase in disposal, staff estimates the statewide diversion rate equivalent could drop significantly.

Many jurisdictions may face challenges maintaining their current diversion programs given the economy and revenue problems that could impact diversion program infrastructure. In a recovery, generation and disposal may both rebound more quickly than the diversion infrastructure and local programs. Even though times are very tough, now is the time to plan for the diversion programs that will be needed when the recovery comes.

How is the statewide per capita disposal rate calculation different than the old diversion rate system?

Statewide goal measurement from 1995 through 2006 used population, employment, and inflation-adjusted taxable sales to estimate waste generation tons for each measurement year. This waste generation amount was compared to reported disposal tons to calculate an estimated diversion rate.

California's per capita (per resident or per employee) disposal measurement system (SB 1016, Wiggins, Chapter 343, Statutes of 2008) is simpler and faster than the old method, because it now focuses only on disposal and population, two readily available factors.

In either the old method or the new method, reported disposal is the metric, so reductions in disposal drive increases in diversion rates. In the old method, population, employment, and taxable sales were all used to estimate annual generation, which was the benchmark against which disposal was measured. The relative weighting was population (50 percent), employment (25 percent) and inflation corrected taxable sales (25 percent), so population has always been a key component. The inclusion of employment and taxable sales in the old method did introduce some adjustment for economics which are not included in the new method.

However, the per employee disposal rate is an indicator in the new system that may help address concerns since employment does vary more with changes in the economy than does population.

In 2007, the statewide diversion rate under the "old" goal measurement system was 58 percent, but the diversion rate under SB 1016 was 54 percent. Why is there a 4 percent difference?

In order to provide a benchmark that is consistent with the new methodology we require local jurisdictions to use, staff recalculated the 2007 statewide diversion rate equivalent to be 54 percent rather than the 58 percent reported late last year. The difference in rates is due to the base against which progress is measured. The 54 percent rate was generated using the same four-year average (2003 to 2006) for the statewide base that jurisdictions use. Now that we have a standardized methodology, the new methodology will provide results that are more consistent and more comparable from year to year. This change does not affect the official diversion rate for 2007 using the old goal measurement method, so it remained at 58 percent.

Diversion rate trends are available for California's Estimated Statewide Diversion Rates Since 1995.

Will CalRecycle continue to calculate statewide diversion rates under the old system for comparisons?

The diversion rates under the old system were calculated using additional demographic factors, increasing base-year generation over time, different year types (calendar, federal fiscal and state fiscal) and different inputs/adjustments from year to year. These complexities highlight the relative simplicity of the new system. We do not plan to calculate the future diversion rates under the old system because the taxable sales data and the taxable sales deflator index is typically not released by the Board of Equalization for a significant amount of time after the end of the year. This lag time is one of the reasons that we switched methods.

Goal Measurement | Local Government Central

Last updated: July 12, 2011
Local Government Central http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/LGCentral/ 
Local Assistance & Market Development: LAMD@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6199