California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Diversion Study Guide

Key Steps in Conducting a Diversion Study

The key steps for conducting a diversion study and submitting a request to the CalRecycle for a new base year are listed below and are also discussed on the following pages.

1. Determine if a new base-year study is needed

  • Waste stream has significantly changed; need to identify programs.
  • Existing programs are not effectively impacting the waste stream.
  • Diversion rate does not reflect program implementation efforts.

2. Design the diversion study

  • Determine the goal of the diversion study.
  • Identify amount of time needed to conduct the study.
  • Identify available resources to conduct the study.
  • Assess the characteristics of the community, e.g. residential vs. non-residential.
  • Identify where to capture diversion data, (e.g. haulers, recyclers, non-residential sector generators, etc.).
  • Determine overall data collection approach.
  • Identify the CalRecycle Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP)  recipients in your jurisdiction.
  • Consider conducting a regional diversion study to include other neighboring jurisdictions.
  • Establish whether surveying generators will require the use of extrapolation method(s).
  • Determine appropriate sampling method; e.g., random vs. stratified.
  • Develop collection data tools; e.g., phone, mail, on-site survey forms.
  • Address restricted wastes.

3. Conduct the diversion study

  • Prepare quality control procedures for the study; e.g., test survey method and forms, and train staff.
  • Contact the service providers--e.g., haulers, recyclers, processors; then collect the available data.
  • Collect data from generators: verify the residential and non-residential sector generators and collect diversion survey data.

4.  Analyze data and calculating diversion

  • Evaluate, analyze, and perform quality control checks of data collected.
  • Make comparisons of data sources to avoid double counting.
  • Reference and use appropriate conversion factors: Appendix I includes guidance regarding the use of appropriate conversion factors to determine weights.
  • Compile and calculate diversion and disposal data.
  • Compile the data for service providers and generator sectors by diversion activities.
  • Gather Disposal Reporting System data and report any suspect issues to the CalRecycle local assistance staff. compile disposal data by generator sectors (residential and non-residential). If an alternative method was used, please complete the CalRecycle Reporting Year Modification Certification form.
  • Calculate total generation amount and diversion rate.

5. Preparing and submitting a new base-year request

  • When using the CalRecycle Base-Year Modification Request Certification sheet, data should be identified by the generator, type of diversion activity and material type (e.g. city government paper source reduction, bakery food reuse, retail cardboard recycling, supermarket food composting).
  • Describe diversion calculation methodology used.
  • Provide a detailed summary of the nonresidential sector surveyed.
  • Provide new base-year generation study calculation details.
  • Explain how restricted wastes were addressed.
  • Provide list of conversion factors used, and identify source documents.
  • Please submit all necessary information to CalRecycle's local assistance staff.¬†Your local assistance staff representative will work with you to prepare for your appearance before CalRecycle.

Questions? Contact your local assistance staff representative.

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Last updated: March 19, 2000
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