What is Zero Waste?

The universally accepted definition for zero waste from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council is 90% or greater non-hazardous waste diversion from the landfill without burning or burying. Waste is diverted to its highest and best use. 

The more complete internationally accepted definition of zero waste may be found on the Zero Waste International Alliance website.

Achieving Zero Waste

Green Business Certification Inc. is responsible for the ongoing management and evolution of Zero Waste Facility Certification and Zero Waste Business Associate (TRUE Advisor) programs which were initially created by what was formerly known as the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC).  Zero Waste Facility Certification is based on the peer-reviewed, internationally accepted definition of zero waste developed by ZWIA. This is now aligned with the credit requirements of LEED for Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M). TRUE Advisors help implement best practices and measure progress toward achieving zero waste goals and certification.

Businesses, organizations, and communities that divert more than 90% of waste from landfills, incinerators and the environment are considered to be successful in achieving zero waste. “Zero Waste to Landfill” is not accepted as a goal, as it usually means burning a substantial portion of discarded materials. USZWBC champions the highest and best use of resources.

Zero Waste Assistance

The District's business recycling specialist Doreen Schreiber is certified as a TRUE Advisor through the U.S. Green Building Council. She is able to assist businesses in preparing for their third party certification. Contact Doreen Schreiber.

How To Host a Reduced Waste or Zero Waste Event

The ZeroWasteNEO working group has put together a Zero Waste Event Guide to give you step-by-step instructions on how to host a reduced or zero waste event. 


Plan ahead for your event by visiting our food donation page to learn more about reducing food waste.

The working group hosts free Zero Waste Event Workshops. Workshop dates are posted in the District's event calendar as they are scheduled.

Event Training for Volunteer Groups

We can teach your staff or a volunteer coalition how to host and implement a zero waste event. Training must take place before the day of the event, activity or festival. Contact us for more details.

ZeroWasteNEO Working Group

The ZeroWasteNEO working group evolved out of one of the Sustainability Summits hosted by Mayor Frank G. Jackson as part of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative.  The group's vision is to maximize resource recovery and landfill diversion in Northeast Ohio.  They strive to provide education and resources to assist with achieving zero waste goals. 

For more on the accomplishments of this group and how to get involved, visit the Sustainable Cleveland page.