Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

 

We are introducing this page to assist those of us who are totally confused by the mass of jargon, abbreviations, scientific terms and unfamiliar descriptions contained in much of the information dealing with the waste industry and the proliferation of associated discussion documents issued by a variety of organisations and authorities.

 

It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide rather a starter for you to pursue your own research. When you have clarified a topic you may well find a web address on our ‘LINKS’ page or you could enter the title or phrase of interest onto your web browser to find a host of further information.

 

For example, typing ‘recycle’ in the GOOGLE browser at the time of writing, resulted in a list of 2,470,000 ‘finds’.

 

We do this with the best of intentions but direct you to the disclaimer contained on the ‘About Us’ page of this website. Please feel free to make comment, suggest contributions for possible inclusion and to indicate any errors you may observe, by contacting GAIN. We would like to hear from you.

 

 

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M]

 

 [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [UVW] [XYZ]

 

A

Aerate

Expose to the air

Aerobic

Use oxygen

Anaerobic Digestion

Biodegrading of organic waste in an oxygen-free atmosphere

AONB

Area of outstanding natural beauty

Autoclaving

This treatment involves sealing the waste and treating it with steam at 140-160oC in an autoclave. After the steam has been injected the pressure is maintained for 30-40 minutes. This sterilises the waste. When the treatment is complete the residue is discharged and subject to screening. Fine material is then separated from the larger  material such as metal and plastic. The fine fraction is then further separated into a lighter material (organic fibre) from heavier material (glass and grit). The metals and plastics may be sent for recycling. Some of the wastes can be recovered for aggregate material – such as the glass and grit. The organic fraction could have a number of uses depending on the quality of the material and the markets available. It may be suitable for land-spreading, making into a fibre to be used in the construction industry, or made into refuse derived fuel. There will be some residue from the whole process that will be sent to landfill.

There are currently two companies proposing this technology in the UK – Sterecycle and Estech Europe Ltd.

 

 

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B

Bottom Ash

The ash, which falls through the grate system in the furnace of an incinerator.

BPEO

Best Practicable Environment Option - the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solution

Biodegradable

Can be broken down by a natural process of decomposition by bacteria and other micro-organisms

BMW

Biodegradable Municipal Waste - the portion of Municipal Solid Waste which can be broken down by bacteria and other micro-organisms

 

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C

CFCs

CHLOROFLUOROCARBONS - Family of inert, non-toxic and easily liquified chemicals manufactured for use as coolants, cleaning solvents, plastic, aerosol propellants and foam insulation

Composting

The break down of waste by micro-organisms

 

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D

DEFRA

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dioxin

Chlorinated organic compound: a by-product of the papermaking process that uses chlorine as a bleaching agent. Dioxins can be released into the atmosphere through the incineration of chlorinated paper. They are believed to be highly toxic to humans

 

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E

EA

Environment Agency

EfW

Energy from Waste - energy that is recovered by burning or otherwise treating waste

 

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F

Fly Ash

The very fine material, which is, collected in Incinerator boilers, heat exchangers and air pollution control devices.

Contains a high proportion of toxic metals.

The better the air pollution control the more toxic the fly ash.

Requires sealed containers to transport to specially registered landfill sites.

 

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G

GAIN

Guildford Anti-Incinerator Network

Gasification

Waste is burnt in a reactor at high temperature to recover energy

GBC

Guildford Borough Council

GBC Lead on Environment

Jenny Wicks

GOSE

Government Office of the South East

Green Waste

Organic waste from the garden and vegetable waste, tea leaves, coffee grounds and egg shells

 

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H

Hazardous waste

 

Waste that is reactive, toxic, corrosive, or otherwise dangerous to living things and/or the environment.

Humus

The substance which results from decay of plant or animal matter. Biodegradable matters form humus as they decompose.

 

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I

Incinerator

Device used to destroy precious resources and suspected by many learned authorities of creating serious health hazards.

Inert Waste

Waste that is not active – it does not decompose or otherwise change

In-vessel Composting

Enclosed composting automated and enclosed.

 

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J

JMWS

Joint Municipal Waste Strategy

 

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K

Kerb-side collection

All councils will have to provide this as part of 2003 government legislation (originally Private Members Bill – Joan Ruddock)

 

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L

Landfill

Disposal of waste by burying under the ground

Leachate

Liquid from a landfill site containing chemical components of the buried waste

 

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M

MBT

Mechanical Biological Treatment – a mix of sorting, separation, cutting or grinding the waste into smaller pieces then composting.

MRF

Materials Reclamation Facility - plant where materials are separated, baled and sent for recycling

MSW

Municipal Solid Waste - solid waste that is collected by or on behalf of a Local Authority

 

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N

Non-inert waste

Active waste that will change or decompose

 

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O

ODPM

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

‘Option H’

The healthy waste management option favoured by GAIN that rejects incineration and dangerous mixed waste landfill (SEE HERE)  

Organic waste

Biodegradable refuse

 

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P

PET

POLYETHYLENE TERAPHTHALATE - A type of plastic that is clear or coloured transparent with high gloss. It is used for carbonated beverage bottles and some household cleanser containers. Often referred to as No. 1 Plastic.

PP

POLYPROPILENE - Plastic with a smooth surface that cracks easily when bent and is difficult to scratch. Typical uses are: battery cases, dairy tubs, jar lids, straws and syrup bottles. It is hard to collect in marketable quantities for recycling and has limited uses in its recycled form. Often referred to as No. 5 Plastic.

PS

POLYSTYRENE - Plastic with a smooth surface that cracks easily when bent. Used for fast food packaging, styrofoam cups and packing peanuts, it takes up a large part of landfill space because of its bulk. Often referred to as No. 6 Plastic.

PVC

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE - Environmentally indestructible plastic that releases toxic hydrochloric acid when burned. It is used for food wraps and containers for personal care products. Often referred to as V-3 or No. 3 Plastic.

Pyrolysis

Decomposition of waste at high temperature in an oxygen-free atmosphere

 

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Q

QUANGO

Quasi Non-Governmental Organization

An organization or agency that is financed by a government but acts independently of it.

 

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R

RDF

Refuse-derived fuel - fuel produced from MSW that has undergone processing. Processing can include separation of recyclables and non-combustible materials, shredding, size reduction, and palletising.

Regional Waste Management Strategy

See ‘Waste Plans’

RWE

German parent company of Thames Waste Management

 

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S

SCC

Surrey County Council

SCC Environment Portfolio

Dr Lynne Hack

SEEDA

South East England Development Agency

SEERA

South East England Regional Assembly

SLGA

Surrey Local Government Association

SITA

French parent company of SWM

SSSI

Site of special scientific interest

Sustainable

A way of life, behaviour or practice that can be maintained indefinitely. That is without exhausting finite resources.

Sustainable Development

Development that can be maintained in the long term, without consuming or destroying resources

SWM

Surrey Waste Management

 

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T

TWM

Thames Waste Management

Thermal treatment

Treatment by heat - in terms of waste, this includes incineration, pyrolysis and gasification

 

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U

Utopia

A world where ‘authorities’ freely recognise that people engaged in protest, do so legitimately, are sincere in their belief and there is every possibility that their opinion is correct

 

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V

Volume reduction

Processing waste materials to decrease the amount of space the materials occupy. It is accomplished by mechanical, thermal or biological means.

 

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W

Waste

A precious resource to be reused and recycled

Waste hierarchy

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - the order in which we should try to deal with waste before disposal

Waste minimisation

Reduction of waste to be disposed

WEEE

Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

WHO

World Health Organisation

Windrow Composting

Composting in the open air.

WRAP

Waste Resource Action Programme

 

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X

‘X’

The mark on the ballot paper for any politician prepared to promise a waste strategy that ensures a healthy future and no destruction of precious resources

 

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Y

Yes vote

The vote given by the majority of the population when asked if they want to help work towards a healthy future with a well managed and risk-free waste strategy

 

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Z

Zero Waste

See ‘Zero Waste’ and ‘Links’

 

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