How to achieve TRUE Zero Waste certification

Emily DeCremer

TRUE Zero Waste certification rates how well facilities perform in minimizing their nonhazardous solid wastes and maximizing their efficiency in the use of resources. TRUE sets a high bar by going beyond diversion numbers and focusing on the upstream policies and practices that make true zero waste possible, in the built environment and beyond. With TRUE, your facility can achieve its zero waste goals, cutting your carbon footprint and supporting public health.

TRUE-certified spaces support sustainability because facilities that achieve certification send virtually no waste materials to landfills, incineration (waste-to-energy) or the environment. Pursuing certification helps facilities and organizations use fewer new raw materials, become more resource-efficient and improve their production processes and environmental prevention strategies.

Implementing zero waste strategies also helps organizations or facilities improve their triple bottom line, and helps them turn waste into savings and additional income streams, as the reduction of waste also reduces costs. By closing the loop, these facilities and organizations are able to cut greenhouse gases, manage risk, reduce litter and pollution, reinvest resources locally, create jobs and add more value for their organization and community.

Facilities achieve TRUE Zero Waste certification by meeting seven minimum program requirements and attaining at least 31 out of 81 credit points in the TRUE Zero Waste Rating System. The number of credit points that a project earns determines the certification level it receives (Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum).

Learn more about certification requirements.

The TRUE Zero Waste certification program is an Assessor-based program. The Assessor is an impartial third party who delivers services under the direct supervision of GBCI and is expected to review and assess compliance with the rating system requirements. To get certified, follow these simple steps.

Steps to certification

  1. Register your project with GBCI by providing basic project information and submitting payment for the registration and/or certification fee. Projects do not need to meet all the requirements, or be ready to be certified, to register.
  2. Implement strategies, perform analyses, prepare documentation and narratives demonstrating your achievements of the requirements and selected credits.
  3. Submit your completed application and documentation to GBCI when ready, along with payment for certification.
  4. Receive preliminary comments on your submitted application.
  5. Host the GBCI Assessor for an on-site assessment, which will include a tour of the site and employee interviews.
  6. Accept the final review report and receive your certification, at which time you can begin to promote your achievement.
  7. Celebrate and market your achievements.
  8. Submit a case study to GBCI and continue to submit your diversion data annually.

The TRUE Zero Waste certification process covers approximately 45 business days or 9 weeks. Expedited timelines are available for an additional fee.

Ready to get started?

Download and review our free Guide to TRUE Zero Waste Certification and the TRUE Zero Waste Rating System by visiting our resources page. Determine if all requirements can be achieved and which credits may be earned by current activities or by implementing new policies and practices.

To register your project, complete the registration form and email it to us. Once you’ve submitted the registration form, you will receive the necessary information and guidance to complete the registration process. When the registration process is complete, GBCI will provide access to additional certification resources and forms to complete the submission and review process.

Register a project

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