New analysis reveals zero waste certification standards legitimizing harmful environmental practices

For Immediate Release

January 22, 2019, 10AM Pacific Standard Time


Claire Arkin, Campaign and Communications Associate, GAIA, 510-883-9490 ext: 111

San Francisco, Jan. 9, 2019 – Today, environmental justice nonprofit, GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) released an analysis detailing eight zero waste certification programs that evaluate businesses’ recovery and disposal practices. The analysis reveals that over 60% of these zero waste certifying programs legitimize businesses and corporations implementing environmentally harmful processes.

In addition to looking at waste incineration guidelines, GAIA also measured factors like waste prevention and social justice to evaluate each organization’s standards, creating individual scorecards for each organization in the hopes of inspiring them to reevaluate their standards.

“The threat of climate devastation and toxic pollution is more serious today than ever,” says Monica Wilson, GAIA’s Associate Director and Policy/Research Coordinator. “While change needs to happen at all levels of society, accountability must be demanded especially from those organizations and certifying programs responsible for measuring true, science-backed zero waste and resource management practices.”

This includes adhering to true zero waste (as opposed to “zero waste to landfill”) practices to prevent legitimizing businesses that burn waste, as this merely transforms waste into forms like toxic ash and air and water pollution, which are harder to contain and usually more toxic than the original waste itself. “Recognition of ‘zero waste to landfill’ leaves room for greenwashing, and invites businesses to simply burn waste instead of striving for redesigning the cycle of resource extraction, consumption and circulation. Certifying entities must exercise their leveraging power for sustainable resource management by encouraging businesses to aim for true zero waste,” says Doun Moun, Research Associate at GAIA.

With climate change increasingly threatening the planet’s well-being, organizations must be transparent about what does and does not constitute environmental responsibility and zero waste before it becomes too late to turn the tide of climate change.

About GAIA

GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration.


*The scorecard will be periodically updated as new information becomes available. Please contact us via for your comments and suggestions.*