Professionals 2017-03-31T11:30:39+00:00

Define yourself as a Zero Waste Business Associate

Visit our upcoming events page for courses scheduled in 2017

U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) developed the Zero Waste Business Associate (ZWBA) certification system to train professionals to help businesses get to Zero Waste, and to help get their facilities certified as Zero Waste according to the USZWBC Scorecard Certification System.

Certificate holders will gain a practical understanding of the most current Zero Waste business principles and practices, USZWBC policies and processes, and demonstrate a clear commitment to professional growth in advancing Zero Waste.

USZWBC Zero Waste Business Associates earn their credential by submitting an application, attending the 6-hour ZWBA Scorecard Training Course (formerly known as the “Become a Certified Zero Waste Business” Course), paying applicable fees, and passing a computer-based exam comprised of randomly delivered multiple-choice questions. Once certified, the role of a ZWBA is to implement Zero Waste programs, prepare businesses for the USZWBC Zero Waste Facility Certification, and assist businesses through the certification process. Certified ZWBAs do not conduct certification audits, trainings, or any other business on behalf of USZWBC.

Earning the USZWBC Zero Waste Business Associate (ZWBA) Certificate

Applying to Become a USZWBC Zero Waste Business Associate
The first step in becoming a USZWBC Zero Waste Business Associate is to apply for certification (note: students taking the July 2015 online course will apply for the program during online course registration). The application includes a downloadable copy of the “Zero Waste Implementers Manual” (please note applicants paying by check will not receive the Manual until payment is received). An application fee of $100 for members and $125 for non-members will apply to cover administrative costs and the manual.This manual was developed by the USZWBC and covers all the information required to understand the process for receiving a USZWBC Zero Waste Facility Certification, including the Scorecard Certification System and Application. Applicants will be tested on the contents of the Zero Waste Implementers Manual and all class materials.

Application Fee:  Non refundable, includes manual $100 Member
$125 Non-member

ZWBA Scorecard Training Course
Additionally, applicants MUST complete the 6-hour USZWBC ZWBA Scorecard Training Course (formerly known as the “Become a Certified Zero Waste Business” Course). Courses are intended for those pursuing ZWBA certification, but are open to anyone interested in learning about Zero Waste in business and the USZWBC Scorecard Certification System.

6- Hour Course: Includes electronic versions of the workbook, handbook, and other course materials $209 Regular Member
$249 Regular Non-member


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Taking the Test

The USZWBC Zero Waste Business Associate exam measures your understanding of current Zero Waste business principles and practices, through your understanding of the Zero Waste Implementers Manual and USZWBC Scorecard Certification System.

Exam Format

  • 90 minute computer-based online test
  • 75 randomly delivered multiple choice questions
  • A passing score of 80% or better is required to pass

Exam Fees

The fee for the exam includes one attempt at an online exam. Additional attempts, missed test dates or rescheduled tests are subject to additional fees. Test registrants paying by check will receive the test when payment is received. It is recommended to choose an exam period 30-60 days in advance to allow time for processing and mailing the check. This will ensure you receive the test in time for your chosen exam period.

Testing Fee: Each attempt. $50 cancellation fee $250 Member
$400 Non-member


Exams will be offered monthly. For example, applicants will register for a specific exam period such as April 1 through April 30. Applicants can take the 90-minute exam anytime during the month-long exam period. It is very important that applicants attempt the exam during the registered exam period, otherwise forfeit the fee for the exam. There is a fee to reschedule an exam period.

Applicants may register for an exam period anytime within 12 months from submitting a completed application. The exam may ONLY BE TAKEN AFTER the Application fee is paid and the Course has been completed.

After the Test
At the end of the test, you will receive your score only on the screen and via email. A score of 80% or better is required to pass. Those who pass the test will receive their Zero Waste Business Associate Certificate in the mail within 3-4 weeks. Those who fail the test must register for another test period and pay the testing fee a second time (see above “Exam Fees” section for more information). The test issued for the second attempt will have different questions than the first test.

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Cost Summary
The following summarizes the costs for the three above components necessary to obtain a Zero Waste Business Associate Certification:

Total Course Fee (Application Fee and 6-Hour Course fee) $259 Early Bird Member
$324 Early Bird Non-member
$309 Regular Member
$374 Regular Non-member
Testing Fee*: Each attempt. $50 cancellation fee $250 Member
$400 Non-member


* Please note applicants paying by check will not receive the Manual or test link until payment is received.

Attention California Businesses: Your business may qualify for reimbursement of employee training costs through the ETP or Employment Training Panel Program. Trainings, workshops and conferences offered by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council may be eligible for these reimbursements. To find out more information and to obtain an application, visit the ETP website.


Maintain your Zero Waste Business Associate Credential

Recertification is required every two years to maintain the ZWBA certification. The process is designed to facilitate continued professional development within the field of Zero Waste, grow knowledge and experience, and improve job performance. A minimum of 20-hours every two years will be required to maintain a “current” status:

  • 70% (or 14 hours) of the 20 hours must be completed by taking USZWBC offered or approved classes/trainings. This includes but is not limited to: webinars, workshops, annual conferences, meetings, and other training opportunities.
  • Attendance at the USZWBC Annual National Zero Waste Business Conference counts towards 10 hours of recertification each year if attended in entirety, or a pro-rated portion of hours attended which shall not equal more than 10 hours per year.
  • The other 30% (or 6 hours) are at the ZWBA’s discretion for other similar, industry related events or trainings.
    These events or courses do not have to offer CEU’s/be accredited. Please complete and submit the following form to to approve an outside organization’s training hours: ZWBA Outside Recertification Hours Form (1.12 MB).
    To be recertified, applicants will be required to submit a completed application, pay the application fee, and have 20 hours of completed training on file with GBCI. All completed applications for recertification will be required within 30 days following the expiration of certification.
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To learn more about ZWBA, please view the recording of our webinar.
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