Glossary of Recycling Terms

Glossary of Recycling Terms

Bale Compacted and bound block of recyclable materials such as paper, carboard, scrap metal, or plastic.
Baler Machine used to compress and bind recovered materials into compact blocks that can be handled and transported easily.
Bin Small waste collection container used to hold limited quantities of waste before it is transported to a larger disposal container such as a skip.
Biodegradable Material Organic material that can be broken down to basic natural elements through a process known as composting.
Biomedical Waste Waste containing materials that has potential public health threats. Examples of biomedical waste include human tissues, organs, bandages, plaster casts, needles, syringes, scalpels, glass, tubes, etc.
Cardboard Heavy duty paper based material that is typically used for packaging.
Commingled Container Single waste container designed for the collection of bottles, cans, paper, and plastics.
Compactor Machine that uses pressure to crush waste and reduce its size.
Contamination Contamination in solid waste means the inclusion of liquids, chemicals or toxic substances.
Cullet Shredded scrap of glass that is clean, colour-sorted, and suitable for remelting to produce new glass.
Diversion Rate Percentage of waste diverted away from landfills in order to be recylced or reused.
Drop-Off Center Facility or station for individuals or businesses to drop off their recyclable materials based on their types.
Dumpster or Dump Site An open site used to dispose of solid waste without any processing or environmental control.
Energy Recovery Recovering energy from waste which can be achieved through different processes such as incineration.
Ferrous Metals Metals that contain iron in their composition. Examples include carbon steel, ferritic stainless steel, cast iron, and alloy steel. Ferrous metals adhere to magnets.
Hazardous Waste Waste that has potential threats to public health or the environment and exhibits hazardous traits such as flammability, reactivity, corrosivity, and toxicity.
High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) Thermoplastic polymer used for rigid plastic bottles, juice containers, shampoo bottles, bleach bottles, cutting boards, and piping. HDPE is designated by the number 2.
Incineration Process by which waste materials are burned or gasified. Depending on the type of waste, this process may or may not generate fuel or energy.
Sanitary Landfill Disposal site where solid waste is spread in layers, compacted and covered gradually by dirt and other materials.
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Type of plastic commonly used for carrying bags, bin liners and packaging films. LDPE is designated by the number 4.
Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Facility that processes solid waste through various stages in order to recover and produce recycleable materials that can be reused by manufacturers.
Mixed Paper Recovered paper that is not sorted by category.
Mixed Plastic Recovered plastic that is not sorted by category.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Solid non-hazardous waste generated by households, businesses, and light industries.
Non-Ferrous Metals Metals that don’t contain iron such as aluminum, brass, copper, austenitic stainless steel, nickel, tin, lead, zinc, bronze, silver, and gold. Non-ferrous metals do not adhere to magnets.
Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) Cardboard waste such as boxes, containers, and other packaging that is made from unbleached unwaxed paper with a ruffled or corrugated inner lining.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) Lightweight type of plastic used to make water and soft drink bottles and food containers. PET is designated by the number 1.
Polypropylene (PP) Type of plastic commonly used for microwaveable food containers and dishware. It is also used in toys, furniture, and cars manufacturing. PP is designated by the number 5.
Polystyrene (PS) Type of plastic commonly used for packaging foam, foam boxes, disposable plates and cutlery, and protective packaging. PS is designated by the number 6.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Tough type of plastic commonly used for pipes, fittings, window and door frames, and automotive parts. PVC is indestructible and cannot be recycled, and it releases hydrochloric acid when burned. PVC is designated by the number 3.
Post-Consumer Material that is being reused or recycled after it has been in the consumers’ hands.
Pre-Consumer Material that is generated during the manufacturing process and is being reused or recycled before it goes to the market. This is also known as Post-Industrial Waste. Examples include scraps, overruns, trimmings, and damaged or obsolete products.
Product Stewardship Principle by which all the participants in the life cycle of a product take shared responsibility for its impacts on human health and the environment, and work together to reduce such impacts. Such participants include manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and government agencies.
Recovery Rate Percentage of usable and recyclable material recovered from waste streams.
Recycling Process of recovering materials from waste and reusing them in manufacturing new products.
Reuse Using materials again for their intented purpose or any other purpose without making any significant changes or alterations to them. Examples include pre-owned cars, refurbished devices, clothing, packaging, etc.
Shredder Machine that breaks down waste into small strips to prepare it for processing and separation to recover recyclable materials.
Skip Large open-top container that is used for collecting, transporting and storing municipal and industrial solid waste.
Source Separation Segregating waste at the point of generation which makes recycling easier and more efficient.
Transfer Station Facility for the temporary desposition of solid waste until it is transferred to its another location or a recycling facility.
Upcycling Using a certain material again but in a manner different than what it was originally intended for.
Waste Generation The volume of waste that enters the waste stream before recycling or landfilling, which can be classified by source.
Waste Reduction Reducing the amount of waste generated by changing patters of production and consumption, adopting sustainability and reuse practices, and redesigning products through innovation and technology.
Waste Stream Output and flow of waste from a given source, are, region, or facility.
Waste-to-Energy Facility Facility recovered municipal solid waste is converted into a usable form of energy, usually via combustion.
Weighbridge Large, floor mounted weighing scale that can weigh entire heavy vehicles and their contents.