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Definition of Diversion and Capture Rates

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diversion rate
local law 40 of 2010 goals
capture rate

Diversion Rate 

The diversion rate is a measure of how much material is diverted from disposal to recycling. Diversion rates are calculated directly from records of collected tonnages using the following formula: 

tons of recycling collected
_________________________________________

(tons of recycling collected + tons of refuse collected)


x 100

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Local Law 40 of 2010 Goals

Local Law 40 of 2010 (part of NYC Recycling Law) sets out the following goals for the following future years for curbside/containerized diversion, and for what it calls “department-managed diversion” which includes curbside, containerized, and other DSNY-collections, as well as diversion of other materials via certain nonprofit and New York State programs, but excludes asphalt, millings, construction and demolition debris, abandoned autos, and sewage sludge.

Date

Percentage Recycling Goal

Universe of Waste

Local Law 40 of 2010 Section

7/1/2011

16%

department-managed solid waste 

§16-305 a.1. i

7/1/2011

16% 

curbside and containerized waste collected by the department 

§16-305 a.2. i

7/1/2013

19%

department-managed solid waste 

§16-305 a. 1. ii

7/1/2013

18%

curbside and containerized waste collected by the department 

§16-305 a. 2. ii

7/1/2014

21%

 department-managed solid waste

§16-305 a. 1. iii

7/1/2014

19%

curbside and containerized waste collected by the department 

§16-305 a. 2. iii

7/1/2016

24%

department-managed solid waste 

§16-305 a. 1. iv

7/1/2016

21%

curbside and containerized waste collected by the department 

§16-305 a. 2. iv

7/1/2018

27%

 department-managed solid waste

§16-305 a. 1. v

7/1/2018

23%

 curbside and containerized waste collected by the department

§16-305 a. 2. v

7/1/2019

30%

 department-managed solid waste

§16-305 a. 1. vi

7/1/2019 

24%

 curbside and containerized waste collected by the department

§16-305 a. 2. vi

7/1/2020

33%

 department-managed solid waste

§16-305 a. 1. vii

7/1/2020 

25%

 curbside and containerized waste collected by the department

§16-305 a. 2. vii

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Capture Rate

Capture rate is calculated from records of collected tonnages in conjunction with estimates of total tons of recyclables in all collections (recycling or refuse):

tons of recycling collected
_________________________________________

(estimated tons of designated recyclable materials
 collected in recycling + collected in refuse)


x 100

The numerator in the equation above is directly measured, but the denominator is estimated based on a Waste Characterization Study conducted in 2004-05 that assessed the quantity of designated recyclable materials (designated paper, cardboard, metal, glass, and plastic items) that were being discarded either properly with recycling setouts or improperly with refuse setouts.

The capture rate tells us how much of what should be recycled is actually recycled. In other words, out of all of the recyclables “out there,” how many are making their way into the recycling bin? 

Note that the capture rate is not the same as the participation rate, which measures how many people engage in recycling at all. According to DSNY telephone surveys, the participation rate among NYC residents is 90%, although this figure is based on is self-reported information and should be interpreted with caution.

Because the Waste Characterization Study looked at the composition of recycling and refuse in different New York City neighborhoods, we can calculate capture rates that are specific down to the level of the community district.

Because the Waste Characterization Study only assessed curbside refuse and recycling, capture rates are not available for other DSNY collections or other diverted materials.

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