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Inspired by the Zero Waste business community, U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and its Certification Development Committee have created:

  • the first third-party Zero Waste Business Certification program for facilities that meet the Zero Waste Principles of the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) and
  • the first Certification program for Zero Waste Business professionals, modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council professional accreditation program.

Facility Certification

Our facility certification program goes beyond diversion numbers and focuses on the upstream policies and practices that make Zero Waste successful in an organization. We have crafted the facility certification to meet the requests of Zero Waste Businesses for a valid, comprehensive verification of their Zero Waste achievements.


The USZWBC 3rd Party Zero Waste Business Certification does the following:

  • Supports ZWIA definition of no waste to landfill, incineration and the environment
  • Drives the development of new markets and new ideas towards a Zero Waste Economy
  • Meets Zero Waste Businesses request for valid and comprehensive third party certification
  • Focuses on upstream policies and practices beyond diversion or recycling
  • Emphasizes strong Total Participation: Training of all employees, ZW relationships with Vendors and customers

Requirements for Certification
  1. Zero Waste policy in place
  2. 90% overall diversion from landfill and incineration for non-hazardous wastes 
    • -Discarded materials are reduced, reused, recycled, composted or recovered for productive use in nature or the economy at biological temperatures and pressures
      -Materials can be processed above ambient biological temperatures (>200° F) to recover energy from the 10% residual, but they do not count as part of the 90% diversion
      -Reused materials (office furniture, pallets, paper, etc) are eligible to count as part of the 90% diversion requirement
  3. Meet all federal, state/provincial, and local solid waste and recycling regulations
  4. Data provided to USZWBC has been published formally
  5. Data documents a base year and measurements since the base year
  6. Commit to submit 12 months of data to USZWBC annually (Data submitted will be public and published on the USZWBC website)
  7. Case Study of Zero Waste initiatives can be published on USZWBC website
  8. Recertification is required every three years
  9. Contamination is not to exceed 10% of each material once it leaves the company site

Learn more about how your organization can become certified as Zero Waste


Certification of Zero Waste Business Professionals

In addition to setting up a Certification Program for facilities, the USZWBC has established the following certification system for professionals helping businesses to achieve Zero Waste.

Zero Waste Business Associate (ZWBA) Certification

The basic level of certification is the Zero Waste Business Associate (ZWBA) Certification. The goal of this certification is to ensure that individuals have a general understanding of the overall concepts of the USZWBC Scorecard certification system. This certification will be fully launched by May 6, 2014 at the USZWBC National Zero Waste Business Conference in Atlanta. This Certification will require the following:
     1. Completion of the Become a Certified Zero Waste Business course (USZWBC 101)
     2. Passing a comprehensive exam on the USZWBC Zero Waste Business Handbook and the information and case studies      provided in this course, with a score of 70% or better

Zero Waste Business Accredited Professional (ZWB-AP) Certification

A more advanced level of certification will be available through the USZWBC in the near future. The goal of this certification is to provide individuals with an in-depth understanding of the USZWBC Scorecard certification system, including the credit points for each category within the rating system. The certification will require the following:
     1. Completion of the ZWBA Certification
     2. Completion of a USZWBC 102 course designed for ZWB-AP
     3. Completion of one USZWBC audit
     4. Passing a comprehensive exam with a score of 70% or better


All USZWBC certifications of professionals will require a recertification component to maintain the certification. A minimum of 20-hours every two years will be required to maintain a "current" status. USZWBC will approve workshops, webinars, meetings, conferences or other training opportunities offered by the USZWBC to count towards this requirement. The recertification requirements may also be met by attending approved training offered by partnering organizations. USZWBC will adopt policies related to recertification and develop partnership organization agreements in 2014.