March 12, 2024 | AD & Biogas, Composting, Markets

State Of Disposal And Recycling In California

Top: Summary of findings in 2022 State of Disposal and Recycling Report. Graphic courtesy CalRecycle

CalRecycle released its 2022 State of Disposal and Recycling Report last month, which estimates that California’s overall waste generation from residents and commercial businesses in 2022 was about 76 million tons. Of that total waste generation, 45.1 million tons (53%) went to disposal and disposal-related activities, including about 40.5 million tons sent to landfill. This equates to a statewide per capita disposal rate of 6.3 lbs/person/day. Of the remaining waste generated, 15% was exported as recyclables and nearly 26% (31 million tons) was source reduced, recycled, composted, anaerobically digested, or mulched. The remainder of the material, less than 6%, went to alternative daily cover (ADC), beneficial reuse, transformation, alternative intermediate cover (AIC), and waste-tire derived fuel.

Graphic courtesy CalRecycle

To calculate the statewide recycling rate to track progress towards the 75% recycling rate goal defined by AB 341 (Chesbro, Chapter 476, Statutes of 2011), CalRecycle subtracts the amount of material disposed in landfills and seven disposal-related activities from the estimated total generation. According to CalRecycle calculations and comparison with reported disposal, the department estimates that 31 million tons of material were recycled (through source reduction, recycling, and composting) in 2022. The statewide recycling rate was 41%. In 2022, the state’s Recycling and Disposal Reporting System found that 7.4 million tons of recovered organic material were  being sent to end users, recycling/composting, or brokering/transporting. Organic material in this analysis does not include biofuels and biogas; CalRecycle notes those materials comprise only a small percentage of total organic outflows (Figure 1).

Download the 2024 report at this link.

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