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TRUE Zero Waste Certification

What's the relationship between Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) and TRUE?
GBCI and the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) have joined forces to advance zero waste business practices and policies. The vision of the USZWBC is to create a solid foundation that advances the integrity and credibility of zero waste. Zero waste facilities save money, are more efficient, manage risk, reduce litter and pollution, cut greenhouse gases, reinvest resources locally, create jobs and add more value for their organization and the community.

As part of this, the TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) – formerly Zero Waste certification – has been fully integrated into the global GBCI community that drives sustainability across all sectors. The TRUE Zero Waste certification system helps facilities quantify their performance and find additional ways to improve their progress towards zero waste. GBCI assumes responsibility for the ongoing management and evolution of TRUE Zero Waste certification and the TRUE Advisor. GBCI, the certification body for the U.S. Green Building Council’s global LEED green building rating system, will also administer TRUE Zero Waste certification and the TRUE Advisor.

Why is TRUE certification important?
For every can of garbage at the curb, there are 87 cans worth of materials that come from the extraction industries – like timber, agricultural, mining and petroleum – that manufacture natural resources into finished products. This means that while recycling is important, it doesn’t address the real problem. Recently, much of the national conversation about sustainability has centered around carbon emissions, and until now there haven’t been many good ways for businesses to show the rest of the world what they’re doing to minimize their trash output. By managing your waste you can have a significant impact on carbon emissions from landfill, excess truck hauling, utilizing recycled content and overall reduction of consumption.

Enter TRUE Zero Waste certification, a process and a way of thinking that profoundly changes our approach to resources and production. TRUE is not just about recycling and diversion from landfills, incineration (waste-to-energy) and the environment, but it is also about restructuring production and distribution systems to prevent waste from being manufactured in the first place. The materials that are required in these re-designed, resource-efficient systems will be reused many times as the products that incorporate them are reused.

What is "zero waste?"
Zero waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused; a process that is very similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.

The definition adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) is: “Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”

What are the benefits of TRUE Zero Waste certification?
  • Save money: Waste is a sign of inefficiency and the reduction of waste reduces costs.
  • Faster progress: A zero waste strategy improves upon production processes and environmental prevention strategies, which can lead to larger, more innovative steps.
  • Support sustainability: A zero waste strategy supports the three P’s – people, planet and profit.
  • Improve material flows: A zero waste strategy uses fewer new raw materials and sends no waste materials to landfills, incineration (waste-to-energy) and the environment.

My project has been certified. How can I promote or market the certification?
Review our PR Guidelines for ways to promote your project's recent certification.

TRUE Advisor Certificate Program

How do I earn the TRUE Advisor certificate?
You must register for and complete the TRUE Advisor course. Upon completion of the course, you must take and pass the assessment. You will have two opportunities to pass the assessment.
Are there prerequisites or eligibility requirements to earn the TRUE Advisor certificate?
No, there are no prerequisites or eligibility requirements to earn the TRUE Advisor certificate.
When is the TRUE Advisor certificate program offered?
The certificate program is offered as an online on-demand course that will be available to you 24/7.
How much does it cost to complete the TRUE Advisor certificate program?
The non-refundable certificate program fee is $350 for USGBC members and $450 for non-members.
What is included in the price of the TRUE Advisor certificate program?
This fee includes access to the following for a 90-day period:
  • 12 online modules totaling 3 hours of narrated content time
  • downloadable resources and guided notes to reinforce learning and that can be easily referenced for future use
  • 75-question end-of-course assessment

What is the estimated time for completing the online course?
The online course is three hours in length; however, it may take participants up to six hours to complete the entire course as they complete the activities, download template and takes notes. Your progress will be saved as you work, so you may exit the course at any time to resume where you last stopped.
How long do I have access to the online course of the TRUE Advisor certificate program?
Your will have 90 days from registration to access the online course and pass the assessment. If you do not pass the assessment (you are given two attempts) within the 90-day period, you will need to re-register for the course.
During the course, can I move back and forth at will, depending on how I want/need to review the course?
You must view the modules and slides sequentially, so you will not be able to advance and/or skip ahead.
Can I print copies of the resource documents from the online course?
Yes, you may print the downloadable resource documents.
How many questions need to be answered correctly to pass the TRUE Advisor assessment?
In order to pass the TRUE Advisor assessment, you must earn a score of 77 percent or higher within the 90-minute time limit. The assessment must be completed in one sitting. You cannot pause the assessment and come back to it. If you do not achieve a passing score within the allotted time, you must retake the assessment.
What if I do not pass the TRUE Advisor assessment? When can I retake the TRUE Advisor assessment?
You will have two opportunities to pass the assessment. If you do not pass the assessment within these two opportunities within your 90-day registration period, you will be required to register for the certificate program again.
What is awarded upon successful completion of the program?
A non-transferable TRUE Advisor certificate will be issued by GBCI and available for download in your account within 72 hours. Additionally, you will be authorized to use the “TRUE Advisor” designation during the term of the certificate. This designation may not be altered in any way and it must be displayed in full (i.e., TRUE Advisor).
Does my certificate expire?
The TRUE Advisor certificate term is three years. The first day of the certificate period is the date the course assessment was successfully completed. At the end of the three-year certificate term, you must take the updated certificate program, which includes the online course and assessment, in order for the certificate to remain valid.
Are there renewal requirements for the TRUE Advisor certificate?
There is no renewal requirement for the TRUE Advisor certificate. At the end of the three-year certificate term, you must take the updated certificate program in order for the certificate to remain valid. There will not be any renewal requirements in the form of continuing education to maintain the certificate. The three-year term date represents the length of time the content will be relevant and up to date. If you would like to earn a new certificate after the original certificate expires, you will need to successfully complete the new version of the certificate program (if there is an updated version available). If the content is still valid and a new version of the training is not released then a new certificate will be issued to the individual with years extended.
Can I earn continuing education (CE) hours for completing the TRUE Advisor certificate program?
Yes, you will earn GBCI CE hours that may be able to be applied toward other professional credential renewals.
Can I apply CE hours I receive from this program towards a GBCI credential (e.g., LEED Green Associate, LEED AP with specialty, SITES AP and WELL AP)?
You will earn GBCI CE hours that you can apply to your general CE hour maintenance. These CE hours will not count as LEED, SITES or WELL-specific CE hours.