What is the Zero Waste Certification?

Published on 2023-07-26

In an increasingly environmental conscious world, waste management has become an environmental challenge that society must face. 

The Zero Waste Certification is a program that helps companies to minimize the amount of waste they send to the landfills.

In an increasingly environmental conscious world, waste management has become an environmental challenge that society must face.

To achieve this goal, administrations have devised measures such as the Zero Waste Certification, which plays a fundamental role in improving business practices and reducing environmental impact.

Do you want to know more about this certification, that we have at Naeco? Keep reading!

What is the Zero Waste Certification?

In order to transform the European industrial model, the EU allocates millions of euros each year in subsidies and grants to help companies to change their business and become more sustainable.

A clear example of this is the Zero Waste Certification (also known as Zero Waste), created by AENOR, the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification.

This certification is part of the circular economy action plan, based on four pillars: reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover.

It is awarded to companies that properly manage waste generated from their productive activities, avoiding landfill disposal and giving them other destinations: reuse, recycling, or recovery of some kind, promoting sustainable waste management and encouraging responsible and efficient utilization of resources.

This certification is valid for three years, during which AENOR conducts follow-up audits to ensure that the organization maintains the required standards.

The Zero Waste Certification has two different levels or marks:

  • Towards Zero Waste. It is aimed for companies that are in the process of recovering at least 60% of the waste they generate and gradually moving towards "zero waste." They measure the level of commitment while obtaining the necessary means to manage waste effectively.
  • Zero Waste. It is awarded to organizations whose circular economy implementation is more mature, and they have the means to recover at least 90% of the waste generated.

It should be noted that this certification does not mean that the organization does not generate waste, but rather that its proper management allows for a reduction of waste sent to landfills by reusing them or transforming them into new raw materials that can be reintroduced into the value chain. 

However, it is required that at least 60% of the waste is not sent to landfills.

Who can apply for it?

 As mentioned earlier, companies from any sector can apply for this certification, as long as they generate waste and face challenges in its disposal. This includes companies, factories, industrial parks, office buildings, schools, and more. 

What are the advantages of having the Zero Waste Certification?

Obtaining this certification offers numerous benefits for companies committed to sustainability:

  • Reduce waste and the risks associated with non-compliance with relevant regulations.
  • Promote the circular economy by reusing and giving a second life to products, thereby extending their useful life and contributing to the conservation of natural resources.
  • Improve corporate image and reputation by presenting the company as environmental and sustainability conscious. This can build trust among consumers and clients, increasing their preference for more sustainable products and services.
  • These efforts also result in economic benefits, as it reduces waste management expenses. 

Requirements for obtaining the certification

This certification can be awarded to companies from any sector, but the requirements vary depending on whether they are involved in product design or not.

Companies not involved in product design:

These organizations must meet specific requirements:

  • Create a proper inventory that quantifies the waste, its origin, the classification, and storage system used, the destinations, and the associated costs for waste management.
  • Document the traceability from the production center to the final destination. This involves staying in contact with authorized carriers and waste handlers, monitoring and improving routes, optimizing tracking, and verifying treatment methods.
  • Recover waste and indicate the percentage of waste valorized for each fraction and for waste sent to landfills. This requires analyzing available technical improvements for treating each waste fraction, detecting, and implementing improvement actions, determining which fractions can be managed internally, identifying potential markets, and assessing the profitability of each fraction.
  • Implement a waste minimization plan that includes specific actions for water reuse, process and energy optimization, reduction of losses, etc.
  • Design a waste management strategy that establishes the guidelines required by Spanish and European laws, standards, and orders, as well as the implementation of improvement procedures, staff training, and cost assessment and reduction.

All of this should be integrated into a management system, similar to ISO 9001 or 14001.

Companies involved in product design.

Organizations engaged in product design must meet the requirements mentioned above, as well as having a systematic approach that ensures improvements are made during the design process to prevent products from ending up in landfills.

Naeco, awarded with the Zero Waste Certification

At Naeco, we are proud to have received the Zero Waste Certification awarded by AENOR. It is yet another demonstration of our commitment to sustainability, this time from the perspective of waste management and recovery.

Plastic is a recyclable material at the end of its life. That's why we have created the NAECO Rewind system, which allows us to buy back plastic pallets from our customers at the end of their useful life. We then process and recycle them, creating new products that enter the market.