Glossary

The following terms are defined and described relative to use in
Waste In Place.

audit – A review or assessment of existing conditions such as looking at waste disposed of in receptacles to determine what could be recycled rather than placed in waste container.

aeration – To charge with air.

aquarium – A container (as a glass tank) or an artificial pond in which living aquatic animals or plants are kept.

aquifer – A body of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater.

aquifer depletion – The using up of an aquifer.

beautify/beautification – To make visual improvements to an area; actions may include planting flowers, trees, and edible; through research, Keep America Beautiful, Inc. has found that beautifying an area prevents littering.

behavior change – A process designed to modify habits. Specifically, looking at ways that waste is handled and alter the process by using the KAB 5 step process and pressure points for change.

bimetal – Made of two metals; used particularly in reference to bimetal beverage cans which are made of both aluminum and steel.

biodegradable material – Waste material which is capable of being broken down, usually by bacteria, into basic elements; most organic wastes, such as food remains and paper, are biodegradable under the right conditions.

biodegrade – To break down into basic components by biological processes (see biodegradable material).

bulk product – Using less packaging for a product as a result of offering a larger quantity or volume in container.

character – The aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person. Character features and traits may include responsibility, respect, caring, and citizenship.

cleanup – The act of picking up litter in an area.

closed-loop recycling – The complete cycle of collecting, processing, recycling and purchasing products with recycled content.

combustible – Waste material which is capable of being burned.

commingle – A mixture of any number of recyclable materials, which usually must be separated before they can be recycled.

commitment – A written or verbal agreement to take some action or involvement.

communication – A written or visual message that emphasizes a clean environment, beautification, and the general community norm.

community – An interacting group of individuals in a common location and may be considered a neighborhood, a city/town or similar identifiable area.

community greening – The name for a range of projects including edible and community gardens, landscaping public spaces including school grounds, outdoor classrooms, and entry way improvements.

compost – A mixture of decomposing organic matter (e.g., food waste, leaves, and lawn clippings) used to improve the physical properties of the soil, such as texture and aeration; compost is not a fertilizer.

composting – The controlled biological decomposition of organic solid waste under aerobic (in the presence of oxygen) conditions; organic waste materials are transformed into soil amendments such as humus or mulch.

confining layers – Geological material through which significant quantities of water move at a very slow rate.

consumer – The user of a product or service.

containerize – To put waste into a proper receptacle, such as a trash can, trash bag or dumpster; properly containerizing waste prevents it from becoming a problem as litter.

contaminants – A substance that is either present in an environment where it does not belong or is present at levels that might cause harmful effects to humans or the environment.

contamination – Containers or materials placed in recycling bins that are not recyclable. Containers with food or other materials specifically listed such as no metal items in paper container is also considered contaminated. Contamination may result in decrease in marketability of products or may cause products to not be recyclable.

couching – A method of transferring a sheet of wet paper from the mold onto a drying surface.

curbside recycling – The process of collecting recyclable material at the curb of a residence or business for transportation to a recycling center.

deckle – An uncovered frame which fits on the mold and shapes the paper.

deckle edge – When pulp slips under the deckle, it forms a soft edge and is called a deckle edge.

decision – The act or process of making a final choice or judgment about topic based on facts, information or analysis.

decompose – To break down into basic components.

discharge – To release.

disposable – Products that are designed to be thrown away after one use.

dispose – To get rid of waste; throw away.

drop-off recycling/center – See recycle center.

dump – An open land site where waste is deposited; unsightly and possibly harmful due to leaching of toxic substances into surrounding groundwater; often incorrectly used as a synonym for landfill.

durability – Able to exist for a long time without significant deterioration or is long-lasting.

energy recovery – Synonym for waste-to-energy (see waste-to-energy).

environment – Everything that surrounds and influences living organisms, including people, animals, plants, soil, water, weather, buildings, etc. Also, the surrounding area and the impact on whether a person litters (i.e., a trash, recycling or ash receptacle provided; litter on ground or clean; distance to a receptacle).

environmental impact – A review of the positive or negative effects of a proposed action on the environment.

ferrous metal – Made of, or containing iron.

fertilizers – A substance (as manure or a chemical mixture) used to make soil more fertile.

garbage – Refuse consisting of food wastes; animal and vegetable wastes resulting from the handling, storage, sale, preparation, cooking, and serving foods.

graffiti – Crude inscriptions or drawings on a wall or other public surface.

groundwater – Water stored in the porous spaces of soil and rock underground; more than half of the people of the United States depend upon groundwater for their drinking water.

habit – An action a person does over and over again without thinking; littering is a bad habit.

habitat – The place or environment where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives and grows.

household hazardous waste – Products used in the home that contain substances that are listed or that exhibit the characteristics of hazardous wastes as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): toxic, corrosive, ignitable or reactive. RCRA does not require that household hazardous wastes be disposed of as hazardous wastes, but caution should be taken to dispose of them so as to minimize the impact to human health and the environment.

illegal dumping – Disposing of waste in an improper manner and/or location and in violation of waste disposal laws.

impermeable – Cannot be penetrated.

incentives – A reward or recognition to help motivate a particular action or support positive behavior.

incinerate – To burn solid waste; used in energy recovery processes.

integrated solid waste management – A practice of disposing of solid waste that utilizes several complementary components, such as source reduction, recycling, composting, waste-to-energy and landfill.

journal – A book, sheets of paper or electronic document where written thoughts or impressions may be collected for review in the future.

KAB – Abbreviation for Keep America Beautiful, Inc., a national, nonprofit, public education organization dedicated to improving waste handling practices in American communities.

landfill – A method of disposing of refuse on land without creating nuisances or hazards to public health or safety. Careful preparation of the fill area, including the use of clay and/or synthetic liners and control of water drainage are required to assure proper landfilling. To confine the refuse to the smallest practical area and reduce it to the smallest practical volume, heavy equipment is used to spread, compact, and cover the waste daily with at least six inches of compacted dirt; after the area has been completely filled and covered with a final two-or three-foot layer of dirt and seeded with grass, the reclaimed land may be turned into a recreational area such as a park or golf course. “Sanitary” or modern landfills have leachate collection systems, methane gas controls, and environmental monitoring systems.

landscape – Plants, trees, shrubs, sidewalks, edging and both made and natural features that combined create an area of interest.

landscape architect – A professional that designs landscape projects that include natural and made features.

leachate – A liquid resulting from precipitation percolating through landfills containing water, decomposed waste and bacteria; in sanitary landfills leachate is collected and treated to prevent contamination of water supplies.

light-weighting – The process by which a product is made using less materials than its precursors without compromising its integrity; this often results in the conservation of resources required to manufacture the product.

litter – Human generated solid waste that is discarded in an inappropriate place (e.g., streets, playgrounds, streams, etc.), or improperly stored waste which has escaped from its container.

litter prevention – Activities designed to encourage people to not litter.

litterbug – Term used for a person who litters.

littering – The act of discarding solid waste in an inappropriate place (anyplace other than a proper trash receptacle); mishandling waste.

MRF – Abbreviation for Materials Recovery Facility, a system that separates collected, mixed residential recyclables by type so that they can be recycled into new products for the market.

MSW – Abbreviation for municipal solid waste; includes non-hazardous waste generated in households, commercial establishments, institutions, and light industrial establishments; excludes industrial process wastes, agricultural wastes, mining wastes, and sewage sludge.

methane – A colorless, odorless, flammable gas formed by the decomposition of wastes in a landfill.

microbes – Microorganisms.

mold – A frame used when making paper which holds a stretched screen.

native plant – Plants that grow in an area or region of the country and have not been brought from other areas and introduced into the landscape. Native plants may need to be re-introduced into area because they have been removed over time but documents show that plants once grew in the area.

natural packaging – A natural product’s covering, wrapping, or container designed to protect the product.

NIMBY – Acronym for “Not In My Back Yard”, originally referred to the syndrome where people oppose the siting of a landfill in their neighborhood; now can also refer to the siting of other waste management facilities, such as a waste-to-energy plant.

non-combustible – Waste materials which are not capable of being burned, especially metals.

non-point source pollution – Pollution from many different sources, usually associated with rainfall runoff moving over or through the ground, carrying natural or man-made pollutants into surface water and groundwater.

norms – A pattern of behavior that is accepted, expected, and reinforced when others behave in the same manner. A norm is “the way things are done around here,” and becomes an expected code of behavior.

obsolescence – The process of something becoming no longer in use or no longer useful.

organic – Derived from living organisms; organic wastes include food, leaves, grass clippings, etc.

packaging – A product’s covering, wrapping, or container designed to protect a product and to attract purchasers.

pesticides – An agent used to destroy pests.

photodegrade(-able) – A process whereby the sun’s ultraviolet radiation attacks the link in the polymer chain of plastic; breaking this link causes the plastic chain to fragment into smaller pieces, losing its strength and ability to flex and stretch.

pollution – The contamination of soil, water, or air; improperly disposed waste can cause pollution.

porosity – Being porous; permeable by air, water, etc.

post-consumer – Refers to waste from municipal sources, not industrial waste; post-consumer content refers to the amount of recycled material from municipal sources that a product contains. For example, recycled paper may contain 10 percent post-consumer waste, and 30 percent industrial waste (waste salvaged before reaching the consumer).

pre-consumer – Refers to waste generated during the manufacturing process and includes industrial scraps, trimmings and overruns.

precycle – To make purchasing decisions based on whether or not an item is made out of or packaged in materials that are recyclable.

prompts – Visual or auditory aids that remind us to carry out an activity we might otherwise forget. A prompt helps to trigger memory. Prompts close in space and time around where you want the behavior to be practiced.

pulp – A watery fiber mixed of paper and water that is used to make paper.

RDF – Abbreviation for refuse derived fuel; a uniform fuel produced from waste, burned as an energy source in waste-to-energy plants.

receptacle – Trash can or recycle bin.

recharge – Refill with water.

recyclable – Waste that can be used again by being manufactured into a new product, i.e., waste that can be recycled.

recycle/recycling – A resource recovery method involving the collection and treatment of a waste product for use as a raw material in the manufacture of the same or another product (e.g., ground glass used in the manufacture of new glass).

recycled – Refers to a product that has been made from the reprocessing of waste materials.

recycling center – A facility where certain waste materials (e.g., aluminum, glass, paper, etc.) are collected and resold for reprocessing into new products (i.e., recycled).

recycle market – The place where material that has been collected curbside or at a recycling center is sold either through a broker or end user. The market price for materials varies due to demand and contamination.

reduce – To lessen the amount of waste generated and thus waste disposed; same as source reduction.

refuse – Useless or unwanted materials that are thrown away; another word for solid waste.

resource recovery – The extraction and utilization of materials which can be used as raw materials in the manufacture of new products, or as values which can be converted into some form of fuel or energy source; an integrated resource recovery program may include recycling, waste-to-energy, composting, and/or other components.

reusable – Waste materials capable of being used again, either as is, or by creating new uses.

reuse – To extend the life of an item by using it again as it is, repairing it, or creating new uses for it.

run-off – Water that leaves an area and runs into another area usually un-obstructed (i.e., when a yard is water excessively water may run over the curb and into the street).

slurry – The product produced when paper and water are mixed together during the paper making process.

social diffusion – A process by which a behavior is communicated through a social network may be involving respected individuals in the community to model behavior or involving a number of people to demonstrate model behavior.

solid waste – All useless, unwanted or discarded materials: refuse, trash, garbage, debris.

solid waste management – The systematic administration of activities which provide for the collection, separation, storage, transportation, transfer, processing, treatment, and disposal of our solid waste.

solid waste stream – The flow of waste from its source (e.g., households) to its final end use or disposal site.

source reduction – To reduce the amount of waste generated that must eventually be discarded, including minimizing toxic substances in products, minimizing volumes of products and extending products’ useful lives; requires manufacturers and consumers to take an active role in reducing the amount of waste that is produced.

source separation – The segregation of various materials from the waste stream at the point of generation for recycling (e.g., householders separating paper, metal and glass from the rest of their waste).

survey – A written or verbal set of questions used to obtain information about one or more topics.

sustainability – The potential for long-term maintenance and typically has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.

technology and structural changes – Equipment or design may include trash or recycling containers which help guide individuals toward proper disposal or behavior.

transfer station – An intermediate collection facility which temporarily holds solid waste en route to the landfill; materials are often sorted and diverted for recycling or energy recovery.

trash – Useless or unwanted materials that are thrown away; synonym for waste.

waste – Useless or unwanted materials that are discarded (including food) in appropriate trash receptacles or littered.

waste collection – A process to collect waste at the generation site and carry the waste generally via truck to a MRF or landfill.

waste reduction – The process and the policy of reducing the amount of waste produced by a person or a society .

waste-to-energy – A recovery process where waste is burned, as received or after being processed to a more uniform fuel, to generate steam or electricity.

waste-to-energy incineration – Disposal method where municipal solid waste is brought to a facility for energy recovery (see waste-to-energy).

water table – The level below which the ground is saturated with water.

watershed – A land area from which water drains into a receiving body of water. Receiving bodies of water can include streams, lakes, wetlands, estuaries and groundwater.

weight – The standard or established amount that an item or thing should weigh.

vericomposting – The process of using worms and micro-organisms to turn waste into nutrient-rich humus (see compost).

volume – The amount of space occupied by an object.

zero waste – An effort to maximize recycling, minimize waste, reduce consumption, and ensure products are made to be reused, repaired, recycled or returned to nature.