Waste Management Sector - Background

This page last reviewed April 6, 2016


The 2008 Assembly Bill (AB) 32 Scoping Plan initiated the process of identifying opportunities to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from the Waste Management Sector (Waste Sector).  Control of landfill methane emissions was identified as an early action measure.  The 2008 Scoping Plan also identified the need for mandatory commercial recycling and other programs to develop and implement alternatives to landfilling.  In the Scoping Plan Resolution 11-32, the Board directed the Air Resources Board (ARB) staff to work with the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and other stakeholders to characterize emission reduction opportunities for handling solid waste, including recycling, reuse, remanufacturing of recovered materials; composting and anaerobic/aerobic digestion; biomass conversion; waste thermal processes; and landfilling.

Further, in the Cap‑and‑Trade Regulation Resolution 12-33, the Board directed ARB staff to propose a comprehensive approach for the most appropriate treatment of the Waste Sector under the Cap‑and‑Trade program based upon the analysis of emission reduction opportunities. In response to the Board directive, ARB and CalRecycle established a joint workgroup to determine the best use of recycling alternatives, examining ways to increase the use of waste diversion alternatives, obtaining funds and incentives for building the infrastructure, and evaluating the need for additional research to achieve GHG reductions and meet waste management goals.  This website provides information on this joint effort and other relevant waste management sector activities.

What's New

ARB staff, in collaboration with CalRecycle, has updated the lifecycle based Compost Emission Reduction Factor (CERF) for estimating GHG reductions and developed an Emission Reduction Factor (EFR) for recycling carpet.  ARB is accepting comments on these draft documents.  Please provide written comments to ARB before May 6, 2016 via email to mei.fong@arb.ca.gov or by mail to: 

    Mr. Robert Krieger 
    Emissions Assessment Branch 
    P.O. Box 2815
    Sacramento, CA 95812

Existing life cycle methods for estimating GHG reductions for recycling are posted on this website:


ARB and CalRecycle staff have been working together to determine actions that will achieve GHG reductions and waste management goals by developing a process for how these reductions and goals are met.  The draft framework consists of a Waste Management Sector Overview paper, accompanying technical papers covering the various waste management options and Follow-Up Actions.  This has been incorporated into Appendix C of the proposed first update of the Scoping Plan.  Appendix C was posted on March 14, 2014.

Joint ARB/CalRecycle Workshop held September 17, 2013
Joint ARB/CalRecycle Workshop held June 18, 2013