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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.