California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Local Government Assistance Library

Construction and Demolition (C&D) Diversion Informational Guide

Introduction

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste can be a significant portion of a jurisdiction’s waste stream, and diverting it from landfills can help jurisdictions achieve and maintain their diversion goals established by AB 939. Senate Bill 1374 (Kuehl, Chapter 501, Statutes of 2002) directed the California Integrated Waste Management Board, (now the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, or CalRecycle) to provide information to jurisdictions and general contractors on methods and activities to divert C&D materials. This bill also directed CalRecycle to develop and adopt a model C&D diversion ordinance for voluntary use by local jurisdictions. (Agenda item 13).

Many jurisdictions found that adopting and implementing a C&D diversion ordinance is an effective method for diverting this material from disposal facilities. Both CalRecycle’s model C&D diversion ordinance and existing C&D ordinances that have been adopted by local jurisdictions are useful tools for those interested to establish a C&D guideline. Because each jurisdiction is different, CalRecycle’s model was developed to provide maximum flexibility to prospective users. The model is a composite of the most frequently used components in ordinances currently implemented across the state.

Jurisdictions that choose to adopt CalRecycle’s model ordinance are encouraged to adjust the model to meet local needs and conditions, while being mindful of existing C&D ordinances in their surrounding area. Coordinating with surrounding jurisdictions when adopting a C&D diversion ordinance may help avoid conflicting requirements between ordinances, and achieve a more "level playing field" for contractors who work in these areas.

Jurisdictions that plan to adopt a C&D diversion ordinance should also review the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen). Effective January 1, 2011, CALGreen required the diversion of at least 50 percent of the construction waste generated during most "new construction" projects. Subsequent amendments have expanded upon what types of construction are covered.

Every three years the California Building Standards Commission adopts new and/or updated model codes. Effective January 1, 2014, CALGreen mandates permitted new residential and non-residential building construction, demolition and certain additions and alteration projects to recycle and/or salvage for reuse a minimum 50 percent of the nonhazardous C&D debris generated during the project (CALGreen sections 4.408, 5.408, 301.1.1 and 301.3). New construction and demolition projects with a combined disposal weight of less than 4 lbs/ft2 in low rise (3 stories or less) new residential structures and 2 lbs/ft2 in non-residential and high rise (4 stories or more) residential buildings meet the 50 percent minimum diversion requirement.

Additions to non-residential buildings or structures of at least 1,000 square feet or alterations with an estimated construction cost of at least $200,000 shall divert from landfills at least 50 percent of nonhazardous C&D materials. Additions and alterations to residential buildings that increase the structure’s conditioned area, volume or size are also required to meet the 50 percent minimum diversion requirement.

Enforcing agencies can require contractors to develop and maintain a waste management plan and/or utilize a waste management company that certifies a minimum 50 percent waste diversion. For more information on CALGreen's current waste diversion requirements, visit the FAQ page.

Local jurisdictions with an existing C&D diversion ordinance can choose to amend their ordinance or simply inform their stakeholders about CALGreen, (e.g., provide a brochure when contractors apply for building permit). Each city and county in the state is encouraged to report how CALGreen is implemented in its jurisdiction through the AB 939 Electronic Annual Report that’s submitted to CalRecycle. The following pages will help you develop a C&D diversion ordinance. For ways to encourage the diversion of C&D waste from landfills other than to adopt a C&D diversion ordinance, visit the C&D diversion methods page.

Chapter 501, Statutes of 2002 (Kuehl, SB 1374)

Last updated: March 16, 2017
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