The Commercial Climate Calculator, (sometimes known as the C3) helps businesses assess the financial, climate, and environmental benefits of reducing waste generation and recycling their discarded materials. This calculator can handle a wide variety of inputs applicable to most California businesses and multi-family residential complexes. The C3 is a tool to help businesses reduce the amount of money spent on waste hauling services, lower their greenhouse gas emissions, and keep reusable and recyclable material out of landfills. It was developed by the Cascadia Consulting Group as part of the Cost Study on Commercial Recycling. A frequently asked questions page about the commercial climate calculator is available.

In addition to the C3, a number of other free online tools and resources can help businesses improve their sustainability:

  • Cool California Carbon Footprint Calculator for California Small Businesses, offered by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), addresses a range of business operations--from energy efficiency to transportation to materials management. It is a Web-based application that allows users to calculate their current carbon footprint and select activities to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also displays climate actions that can qualify businesses to take part in the California Green Business Program below.

    CalRecycle collaborated with ARB on development of their calculator tool. ARB also worked with various partners to develop free tools available on the CoolCalifornia.org website, with the mission of empowering all Californians to protect the state’s environment and natural resources. Cool California’s Small Business Carbon Footprint Calculator incorporates portions of the CalRecycle calculator to address waste and recycling as part of a business’ complete footprint. The CalRecycle and Cool California tools complement each other by providing flexibility and ease of use.

  • Businesses pursuing Green Business Certification through the Department of Toxic Substances Control's (DTSC) California Green Business Program measure progress toward reducing environmental impacts in solid waste and recycling, energy consumption, water consumption, and pollution prevention. The same on-line California Green Business Program toolkit integrates applying for certification, tracking status, and monitoring progress. The toolkit offers an easy-to-use searchable database of California Green Businesses to promote participating businesses and generates a report card of environmental benefits over time (e.g., per year, since enrollment).
Comparison of Calculators/Tools
 Commercial Climate CalculatorCoolCalifornia's Small Business Carbon Footprint CalculatorCalifornia Green Business Program Database
FromCalRecycleARBDTSC
Designed for/toCommercial Recycling Planning Benchmarking & Tracking Carbon FootprintCertifying Local Green Businesses
Tool objectivesEvaluate financial, climate, and diversion benefits of reducing and recycling discarded materialsEstimate carbon footprint and identify cost saving and long term sustainability GHG reduction activities for a range of business operations from transportation, facility operations (including waste reduction & recycling) to procurementMeasure progress to reduce environmental impacts in four major areas: solid waste/recycling; energy consumption; water consumption; and pollution prevention
Target audienceFor any business, institution, and multi-family complex (open to public)Any businesses (open to public)Businesses (in 17 industries), typically small to mid size businesses that are pursuing Green Business Certification (open to only businesses in the counties with the Green Business Program)
Possible suggestion for usageTo evaluate options for waste management practice and to see how much green house gas (GHG) emissions you'll reduceTo take an initiative to reduce your carbon footprint and lower your costsTo consider applying for a Green Business Certification
Default dataRegional and business sector California specific dataCalifornia specific and national dataCalifornia specific data
MetricAvoided disposal cost ($/yr), GHG emission reduction (MTCO2E/yr) and waste reduction amount (tons/yr)GHG emission reduction (MTCO2e/yr), Cost saving ($/yr)GHG emission reduction (CO2 lbs/yr), Water saving (gal/yr), Energy saving (kWh/yr), Waste reduction (lbs/yr), Hazmat reduction (lbs/yr)
Application input is saved toExcel DownloadableWeb-basedWeb-based
Store users' data for future data analysisUsers may “save as” individual files to preserve inputs and results YesYes