CRRA in partnership with SWANA will launch its Zero Waste Principles & Practices Certification Program August 20-23, 2017 in San Diego, California, concurrently with CRRA’s 41st Annual Conference and Tradeshow

For over 40 years CRRA has been a leader in Zero Waste education in California.  Now, joining forces with SWANA, CRRA offers a new professional development course that will certify professionals in Zero Waste Principles and Practices throughout North America.

This course will provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of rapidly emerging public and private sector Zero Waste programs and the key principles that support these programs. The course also provides tools to help draw together aspects of existing programs and new efforts into community-specific Zero Waste Programs.

The Zero Waste Principles & Practices certification course is a joint undertaking of SWANA and the California Resource Recovery Association. CRRA is dedicated to achieving environmental sustainability in and beyond California through Zero Waste strategies. SWANA, with its work in 45 chapters across the United States and Canada, is committed to educating professionals working in the industry and to moving the industry as a whole from a focus on solid waste management to resource management.

Content and Approach

The Zero Waste Principles & Practices course encompasses a broad overview of Zero Waste principles and practices in 10 modules covering public policy, programs, technology and measurement:

  • Introduction to Zero Waste, including a survey of different definitions and perspectives
  • What’s In Your Waste Stream?
  • Upstream, Midstream and Downstream: understanding Zero Waste strategies as they affect each stage of product lifestyles
  • Collections Options
  • Processing Technology Options
  • Managing Organics
  • Public Venues and Challenging Materials
  • Changing Behavior through Education and Outreach
  • Financing and Funding
  • Contracting and Partnerships

The course provides many opportunities for discussion among instructors and participants. It draws on current materials and examples from outside the published manual and engages students in several in-class exercises.


9:30 am to 5:30 pm - SUNDAY August 20 CLASS HOURS

  • 9:30 am class begins
  • 12:15 pm lunch break (served in the classroom)
  • Includes access to the CRRA Welcome Reception

8:00 am to 5:00 pm - MONDAY August 21 CLASS HOURS

  • 7:30 am continental breakfast (served in the Exhibit Hall)
  • 8:00 am class begins
  • 12:00 - 1:00 pm lunch break (served in the classroom)
  • Includes access to the Exhibit Hall Reception

8:00 am to 5:00 pm TUESDAY August 22 CLASS HOURS

  • 7:15 am continental breakfast (served in the Exhibit Hall)
  • 8:00 am class begins
  • 12:00 - 1:00 pm lunch break (served in the Exhibit Hall)
  • Includes access to Awards Ceremony and NCRA players

8:00 am to 12:00 pm - WEDNESDAY August 23 EXAM HOURS

  • 7:15 am continental breakfast (served in the Exhibit Hall)
  • 8:00 am EXAM begins
  • 12:30 lunch (served in the Paradise Ballroom)


  • $  725.00 - Certification Classes CRRA or SWANA Member Rate (proof of SWANA membership required)
  • $1000.00 - Certification Classes for Nonmembers
  • $  150.00 - Examination Fees (please note, your certification is not considered complete without taking an exam. You may take the exam at a later date if you so choose).

The Zero Waste Principles and Practices Certification is issued jointly by CRRA and SWANA and is administered as part of the SWANA Certification Program recognized throughout the United States and Canada.

Individuals and employers who will benefit from Zero Waste Principles and Practices Certification:

  • Municipal and tribal recycling and solid waste professionals

  • Recycling and solid waste services providers

  • Consultants and contractors serving the recycling sector

  • Business and municipal sustainability professionals

  • Zero Waste and sustainability community advocates

  • Private and public sector policymakers

  • Private/non-profit business sustainability professionals.

This course focuses on developing community-specific Zero Waste plans for reducing, reusing, and recycling materials found in municipal solid waste (MSW) generated from residential, commercial and institutional sources.



Michael Tilley will be the instructor for the new Zero Waste Course in San Diego this August 2017. He has 20 years of experience with solid waste and is currently the Principal Consultant for ESCAPE Consulting.

Tilley has worked in many areas of materials management including Refuse collector, Refuse Supervisor, Refuse Manager, and Hazardous Materials Specialist. He has also been a part of many new start up programs to strive towards increased diversion percentages.

Tilley has been an instructor for the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) for approximately 14 years.  


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