In 2017, California landfilled or exported for landfill 37.8 million tons. To calculate California’s recycling rate we add an additional 6.6 million tons of “disposal-related” materials, for a total of 44.4 million tons disposed. With California’s population at 39.5 million residents, this results in a per resident disposal rate of 6.2 pounds/resident/day calculated using AB 341’s measurement system and a recycling rate of 42%.
According to the California Department of Finance, labor markets, real estate markets, and residential construction, continued to grow steadily in 2017. As the economy continues to grow, solid waste generation will continue to increase. If diversion programs are not in place to handle additional waste then we can expect higher amounts to be landfilled in the future. Disposal in 2017 has continued to increase since 2012. If we do not want this to continue then outlets other than landfills must be found.
CalRecycle also calculates California’s statewide per capita disposal using SB 1016’s measurement system, which does not include “disposal-related” tonnages as disposal. Under this system, California had a per resident disposal rate of 5.2 pounds/resident/day and a “diversion rate equivalent” of 58 percent. The 2017 per employee disposal rate was 11.9 pounds/employee/day, and the per employee “diversion rate equivalent” was at 62 percent.
On February 19, 2019 California’s per capita disposal, diversion, and recycling rates were presented at the CalRecycle public meeting.
Please see the Disposal Reporting System (DRS) for the most current tonnage data.