Solid Waste Characterization Home

CalRecycle conducts periodic waste characterization studies to better understand the types and amounts of materials disposed in and diverted from California's waste stream. Use the tool below to view waste characterization estimates for a selected California jurisdiction(s) based upon statewide study data combined with local employment and population data. Residential data provides disposal stream data, while commercial sector data includes both disposal and diversion streams data.
Are you new to waste characterization? Learn more here.

Use the Waste Characterization Tool for California Jurisdictions

    Commercial Streams By Business Group
    Commercial Streams By Material Type
    Residential Streams By Material Type
    Other Waste Characterization Tools and Data
    Commercial Waste Streams

    The numbers and types of businesses in a jurisdiction determine its commercial waste stream. Multi-family generators are treated like a business group here. Use this tool to discover:

    • Which business groups dispose or recycle the most tons, and what materials make up those tons.
    • What is the commercial sector’s overall waste composition for disposal and diversion streams.
    • Detailed composition estimates for each of 16 business groups.

    California jurisdictions can use this information as a planning tool to help meet state mandates to reduce waste.

    2014 Generator Study

    For the statewide perspective on what the different business groups contribute to disposal and diversion, see CalRecycle’s 2014 Generator Study. This study also provides details on how business waste stream data was collected.

    Commercial Generators

    For business generators, this tool includes detailed estimates by material for disposal, curbside recycling, curbside organics, and other diversion streams. Sixteen business groups and multi-family are included, which cover most types of businesses (construction is excluded). CalRecycle believes this is the most detailed study of business waste streams in the country.

    Generation Rates

    This tool includes generation, disposal and diversion rates, on a per-employee basis for our 16 business groups, or per occupied unit for multifamily. Generation rates from other sources for other types of generators, using other bases besides employment, is also available.

    Commercial waste compositions and generation rates are statewide averages developed from sampling at 50 individual businesses, scattered throughout the state, for each business group. Over 800 individual businesses in over 200 jurisdictions participated in the study. A jurisdiction’s estimates are based on these data and not on sampling at individual businesses in that jurisdiction. Residential estimates are based on statewide average data for multi-family and regional average data for single-family, not on sampling at residences in any individual jurisdiction.


    Comments, suggestions, questions? Contact CalRecycle waste characterization staff at

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