Glossary of Recycling Terms
The following words and terms are commonly used in the
recycling industry. The definitions given here relate specifically
to this industry.
ABC - Aluminum beverage cans.
Avoided Costs - Solid waste management cost savings
compared to disposal, resulting from a recycling or waste
Baler - A machine used to compress and bind recyclable
materials, such as paper, scrap metal, or rags.
Biodegradable - Organic material that can be converted
into basic compounds or elements by bacteria.
Buy-Back Recycling Center - A commercially located,
staffed recycling facility that buys post-consumer secondary
materials from the public. Buy-back centers usually buy
aluminum cans and may also handle glass and paper. These
materials are usually not processed at the buy-back center.
Compactor Collection Vehicle - A large vehicle with
an enclosed body that contains power-driven equipment for
loading, compressing and distributing waste or recyclable
materials within the vehicle.
Composting - A process of decomposing organic matter
through the use of microorganisms.
Cullet - Broken scrap glass that is clean and color-sorted,
and is used to make new glass.
Disposal Fee/Tipping Fee - A service fee paid to
an agency or company that disposes of discards. Garbage
disposal requires fees to subsidize the cost of collection
and landfills. A tipping fee is determined in dollars per
Disposal Savings - The cost savings realized through
waste reduction and recycling as a result of avoiding landfill
or other disposal costs.
Drop-Off Center - A facility set up to receive recyclable
materials that are dropped off by individuals. Drop-off
centers are usually not attended.
Ferrous Metals - Metals composed mostly of iron.
Cans, automobiles, refrigerators, and stoves all contain
ferrous metals. Ferrous metals are magnetic.
Glasphalt - A word used to mean a highway paving
material that uses recovered crushed glass in place of a
portion of the aggregate that is normally used in asphalt.
HPDE - An acronym for high density polyethylene
plastic, a resin used to make packaging and plastic milk
and juice containers; designated by the number 2.
Metals - Metals include all ferrous, non-ferrous
and alloy materials.
Mixed Cullet - Cullet not sorted by color. (see
Mixed Waste Paper - A mixture of various grades
of recyclable waste paper.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) - The total waste generated
by residents, businesses, and institutions.
Non-Ferrous Metals - Metals not containing iron
or its alloys or compounds. Copper, brass, bronze, aluminum
bronze, lead, pewter, zinc and other metals to which a magnet
will not adhere.
OCC - Old corrugated containers, also known as cardboard.
ONP Old newspaper.
PET - Polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic resin
used to make packaging and soda bottles; designated by the
Recovery Rate - The percent of usable recycled materials
otherwise destined for disposal that is collected, reprocessed
or remanufactured and reused.
Secondary Material - A material that is utilized
in place of a primary or raw material in manufacturing a
Tipping Fee - See Disposal Fee
TPD, TPW, TPY - Acronyms for tons per day, tons
per week, and tons per year.
Transfer Station - A permanent collection and transportation
facility used to deposit solid waste collected off-site
into larger transfer vehicles for transport to a solid waste
handling facility. Transfer stations may also include recycling
UBC - Used beverage containers (aluminum).
Virgin Material - As contrasted with a secondary
material, a virgin material is extracted from the earth,
refined, and/or synthesized.
Waste Reduction - Reducing the amount of waste generated.
Waste Stream - The waste material output of an area,
region, or facility.