10 Questions about UL Environment’s zero landfill validation program

10 Questions about UL Environment’s zero landfill validation program


UL Environment recently launched its new waste diversion validation service and introduced at the Green Manufacturer Network Take on the Zero Waste to Landfill Challenge on June 12 in Portland, Ore. The validation program is intended to provide third-party validation of a company’s claim to have achieved zero landfill status or to have diverted a percentage of its waste from landfill

The program was developed in response to requests from manufacturers and other companies that have been seeking clarification regarding what constitutes “zero landfill;” a standard defining that achievement; and recognition of their waste diversion claims.

1. Is your zero-waste-to-landfill validation procedure just for businesses, or can any organization apply for it?

Any organization that wishes can participate.

2. Is this a third-party verification, or does UL Environment validate that the data is correct before awarding the certification?

This is a third-party claim validation, performed by UL Environment and based on performance thresholds and criteria established by UL Environment. Validation procedures include a document review as well as a site visit.

3. Are there different levels of zero waste to landfill?


Zero Waste to Landfill. This is the highest designation. This claim is validated by UL Environment when a facility can prove that it consistently achieves a landfill waste diversion rate of 100 percent.

Virtually Zero Waste to Landfill. This claim is reserved for facilities that have achieved a landfill diversion rate of 98 percent or greater.

Landfill Waste Diversion Rate. This claim is validated when a facility achieves a landfill diversion rate of 80 percent or greater. UL Environment will denote the specific diversion rate achieved on the claim validation mark.

4. What does it cost to obtain validation?

The cost to have this claim validated varies. It is calculated by the size of the facility and the number and size of the manufacturing lines, as well as the number of sites that apply to carry the UL Environment claim validation mark.

5. What is the duration of the evaluation period, and how long is the validation good for?

Landfill diversion rate calculations are based on material mass-flow analysis provided in supplier letter/statements and quantities of material sent to landfills or incineration facilities that are not energy-from-waste recovery facilities for a 12-month period. Validation is awarded for that 12-month period.

6. Can you still receive zero-waste-to-landfill validation if you divert some of the waste to a waste-to-energy facility?

Yes, although we are establishing limits on the amount of incineration-with-energy-recovery allowed. Our current policy is to limit incineration-with-energy-recovery to 10 percent and that percentage of waste that is sent to an incineration-with-energy-recovery facility is declared as part of the claim language. Other acceptable diversion methods include:

  • Recycling
  • Returning to supplier
  • Reuse in same process
  • Reuse in different process
  • Redesign to eliminate waste
  • Processing and selling to third party
  • Commercial composting
  • Anaerobic digesting with energy recovery

7. How are hazardous waste and biohazardous waste, such as lab equipment, feminine products, and medical needles or syringes, defined? How does hazardous waste factor into the validation?

If it can be sent to a hazardous waste landfill it is included in the calculation.

8. Are old building materials from renovations considered waste or something else?

Waste from renovations and one-time events is included in the calculation of diversion because it is up to the company to decide how to dispose of it.

9. How does old equipment, such as microscopes, lawn mowers, and copiers, factor in, since such equipment is not production waste?

Everything that does not exit the facility as a product is treated as waste and needs to be diverted from the landfill in order to meet the program criteria.

10. How do you handle products that are not separable and therefore not recyclable?

If it ends up in the landfill, it is not considered “diverted.”

Additional questions about UL Environment’s landfill waste diversion validation program can be sent to Wendy Hennessy, market development, UL Environment Inc., 333 Pfingsten Road, Northbrook, IL 60062, 847-664-1009, wendy.hennessy@ul.com, www.ul.com.

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