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 reduction program.

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 ton.

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 Cullet)

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 number 1.

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 product.

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 facilities.

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.

© 2005 City & County of Honolulu's Department of Environmental Services.