Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinance Through March 31, 2020

Construction and Demolition Recycling

 Performance Guarantee | Materials | FAQ's

Why Recycle Construction and Demolition Debris?

Each year 20 to 35% of the waste that goes to landfills in San Diego is construction and demolition debris. This amounts to more than 100,000 tons annually for the unincorporated areas of the county and over 1 MILLION tons countywide. 

What is the construction and demolition debris ordinance?

Effective April 21, 2007, debris from construction and demolition projects must be diverted away from landfill disposal in the unincorporated County of San Diego. The ordinance requires that 90% of inerts and 70% of all other materials must be recycled from your project.  In order to comply with the ordinance, applicants must submit a Construction and Demolition Debris Management Plan and a fully refundable Performance Guarantee prior to building permit issuance. (Sections 68.508 through 68.518 of the County Code of Regulatory Ordinances).

Does the construction and demolition debris recycling ordinance apply to my project?

This Ordinance applies to construction, demolition, or renovation projects, 40,000* square feet or greater in the unincorporated county of San Diego.   If you are building a phased residential or commercial development, the 40,000 square feet applies to the total proposed build-out of the project.   

*In measuring the square footage of a project each floor of the building shall be counted, not just the building’s footprint. 

What if my project cannot meet the ordinance requirements?

If it is infeasible for the project to meet the requirements to recycle 90% of inerts and 70% of all other materials, the applicant may apply for an exemption.

If an exemption is granted, the Solid Waste Planning and Recycling Section of the Department of Public Works shall determine what percentage of construction and demolition debris the applicant is required to recycle.

What does the ordinance require?

As a condition of approval for a building permit, all applicable projects must:

1.        Submit a valid and comprehensible Debris Management Plan.

2.        Submit a Performance Guarantee

3.        Maintain a Daily Log onsite - subject to inspection.

4.        Recover/Recycle your C&D debris.

5.        Apply for a refund by submitting a Final Debris Management Plan.

1. The Debris Management Plan

The Debris Management Plan identifies the types and quantities of materials that will be generated by your project and will help you choose the appropriate recycling facilities and services.  The plan must be completed by the contractor identified on your building permit and be submitted to the DPW Building Counter prior to building permit issuance.  The Debris Management Plan is available from the DPW Building Counter or on the FAQ's page.

2. The Performance Guarantee

The Performance Guarantee is a fully refundable guarantee and is based on the square footage of the permitted project. The amount is $0.20 per square foot.  The total amount will be listed on your building permit invoice and must be paid prior to the building permit issuance. 

3. Maintain a Daily Log onsite - subject to inspection.

For each construction or demolition site for which the C&D permit is issued, the permittee shall maintain a daily log for all construction or demolition debris that leaves the site along with receipts for any disposal or recycling facility.  The daily log must be available for inspection at all times.  If no log is present, a citation may be issued.

4. Recover/Recycle C&D Debris

The ordinance requires that 90% of inerts and 70% of all other materials must be diverted from landfill disposal from your project.  If you cannot meet these percentages, you may apply for an exemption.

Before starting a demolition, construction, or remodeling project, determine how to manage construction and demolition debris and any excess building materials on site. You can use the required Debris Management Plan and the Construction and Demolition Recycling Guide to help determine where project materials will be recycled during the process. Recovering or recycling your project’s debris will reduce the amount of debris related to your project that is buried in a landfill.

Options include:

  1. Debris can be source-separated on site or commingled and hauled off site to a sorting facility for separation and recycling. While source separation is generally preferable to commingling, there are pros and cons to both methods. 

  2. Materials can be re-used onsite or donated.  

  3. A combination approach: some materials can be taken to a facility for recovery/recycling and other materials can be re-used or donated.

5.  Apply for a refund.

Applicants must submit a Final Debris Management Plan to calculate the final diversion rate for the project within 180-days of the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.  The applicant will receive a full refund, plus interest, within 30 days of refund request if the following criteria are met:

  • Submittal of the Final Debris Management Plan,
  • Submittal of all recycling receipts and quarterly reports, and
  • Proof that 90% of inerts and 70% other materials were recycled or reused.

What if I do not meet all the refund criteria?

If the project did not meet the 90/70 recycling requirement, the applicant will receive a refund on a pro-rated basis with accrued interest depending on the degree of compliance within 30-days of the final submittal.

See Debris Management Plan for more information.

What if I am building a phased project?

A new Debris Management Plan and Performance Guarantee must be submitted for each phase of a residential tract or multi-building commercial project that has a proposed build-out of 40,000 square feet or greater.

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