GAIA Zero Waste MasterPlan - Page 27



Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) 27
Diversion
Generation

Collecting data from the local jurisdiction or
their contracted hauler

Surveying local reuse, recycling and
compost operations, transfer stations,
landfills and incinerators

Surveying commercial generators and their
service providers

Documenting diversion through waste
prevention practices, such as grasscycling
and backyard composting
Planners should note that the diversion metric
has been criticized for two overarching reasons:
1.
Not incentivizing waste reduction - this
metric incentivizes composting and
recycling but does not provide incentives for
overall waste reduction measures, which are
ranked higher on the zero waste hierarchy.
12 California Department of Resources Recycling and
Recovery (CalRecycle). Conducting a Diversion StudyA Guide for California Jurisdiction. https://www2.
calrecycle.ca.gov/Publications/Details/782
Disposal
Diversion / Generation
Diversion Rate
Communities can develop these statistics
by conducting a generation study. One
methodology for conducting this study has
been developed by CalRecycle in “Conducting
a Diversion Study--A Guide for California
Jurisdictions.”[12] The approach includes:
+
2. Measuring by weight - the diversion of
inherently heavy materials like food scraps
can skew data to make diversion rates
seem artificially high. This might cause
municipalities to overlook the widespread
generation of lighter materials, such as
plastic packaging.
Nonetheless, the diversion rate remains one of
the most widely-used zero waste metrics, and
is relatively straightforward to measure, record,
and communicate. Planners can help address
the flaws in the diversion metric by:
1.
Ensuring their zero waste policies create
pathways for system/product redesign,
waste reduction, and reuse.
2. Creating policies that specifically target
high-quantity, low weight materials such as
single-use plastics.
STEP 9 LEVERAGE LOCAL PROCESSES TO
BRING ZERO WASTE INTO POLICY
Many communities focus on projects to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and consider local
actions through a lens of sustainability. Zero
waste initiatives should be front and center
in supporting these broader sustainability
goals, as it creates jobs, conserves resources,

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