About ZWA

The Zero Waste Alliance is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Portland, Oregon.  Operating as a program of the International Sustainable Development Foundation, ZWA has over a twelve year history working with industry and communities to identify and overcome barriers to zero waste.  ZWA’s work has included the formation of the Green Electronics Council, the Outdoor Industry Eco-Index, the Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative, the International Society of Sustainability Professionals and the Chemical Assessment and Ranking System.  Through this work ZWA has been a national leader in progressing the zero waste movement and overcoming some of the most complex and challenging issues facing industry and communities.

Our vision is communities thriving without the burden of waste.

Our mission is to build industry and community capacity to create a prosperous and inclusive future without waste.

Guided by the principles of open engagement, a whole systems approach, and a firm belief in power of markets to transform, the Zero Waste Alliance has focused our work into three core areas:

Market Development - ZWA works to identify and support the development of robust marketplaces and technologies with the ability to transform waste practices. This work ranges from research and reports to consulting for new entreprenuerial ventures.

Facilitation and Services - ZWA convenes industry and community leaders to define a cohesive zero waste vision, and, identify opportunities and barriers.  In addition ZWA provides ongoing professional and technical services to progress those efforts.  

Research and Education - ZWA supports industry working groups, develops and distributes research reports, and produces ongoing educational events and a quarterly digital magazine to highlight innovative practices and technologies.


Jay Coalson is the Executive Director of the Zero Waste Alliance.  Jay has come to ZWA after 10 years as the President and CEO of one of the nation’s leading sustainable development consulting firms.  Jay brings to ZWA his passion for innovative technology, market development, and industry and community engagement.  Jay is extremely active on a variety of issues pertaining to sustainability and community vitality and sits on the Boards of Sustainable Northwest, Portland Sustainability Institute, the Portland Community College Foundation, PSU's First Stop Portland and the Center for Innovative School Facilities.  Jay is an alumni of Portland State University and active with the PSU Business School.

Zero Waste Alliance