The reduction in landfill waste caused by source reduction and recycling.



A large block of compacted and bound recyclables. A densified and bound cube of recycled materials, such as waste paper, scrap metal, or rags. (Business Recycling Manual, INFORM & Recourse Systems, 1991)


Special equipment that compacts and binds recyclables to help reduce volume and transportation costs.


The ability of some materials to break down or decompose rapidly under natural conditions and processes.

Bottle Bill

Proposed or enacted legislation which requires a returnable deposit on beer or soda containers and provides for retail store or other redemption. Such legislation is designed to discourage use of throw-away containers. (EPA Glossary)

Bulky Rigid

All rigid plastics which includes baskets, buckets, carts, crates, lawn furniture and toys. No bottles or containers.

Bulky Waste

Large items of waste materials, such as appliances, furniture, large auto parts, trees, stumps. (EPA Glossary)


Capture Rate

The percentage of generated post-consumer materials recovered from a business.

Carbon Footprint

A measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc. The carbon footprint is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce and has units of tons (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent. (


Also known as old corrugated cardboard (OCC). Unbleached, unwaxed paper with a fluted inner liner made up of a series of parallel ridges and furrows.


A sturdy, often 100% recycled, kraft-colored (brown) packaging material comprised of pressed fiber thick paper.


Public or private hauler that collects nonhazardous waste and recyclable materials from residential, commercial, institutional and industrial sources. (See also Hauler) (EPA Glossary)

Co-Mingled Materials

Different types of recyclables mixed in one container – e.g., plastics, papers, metals – that are collected and processed together. Require sorting after collection. See: Single Stream Recycling.

Commingled recyclables

Mixed recyclables that are collected together (Business Recycling Manual, INFORM & Recourse Systems, 1991)

Commercial Waste

All solid waste emanating from business establishments such as stores, markets, office buildings, restaurants, shopping centers, and theaters. (EPA Glossary)


Reduction of the bulk of solid waste by rolling and tamping. (EPA Glossary)


Special equipment that compresses recyclable materials and contains them under pressure, not allowing them to expand until they are unloaded.

Compostable Plastic

A plastic that undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO2, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate consistent with other known compostable materials and leave no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue. (ASTM Standard Specification D6400)


A process of accelerated biological decomposition of organic material under controlled conditions. (CGS Section 22a-207a (1))


Any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter that has an adverse effect on air, water, or soil. (EPA Glossary)


Introduction into water, air, and soil of microorganisms, chemicals, toxic substances, wastes, or wastewater in a concentration that makes the medium unfit for its next intended use. Also applies to surfaces of objects, buildings, and various household and agricultural use products. (EPA Glossary)

Contract Collection

Collection by a private collector under a formal agreement with a municipal authority in which the rights and duties of the respective parties are set forth. (CGS Section 22a-207 (17))

Corrugated cardboard

Cardboard with corrugations (can be glued to flat cardboard on one or both sides) [syn: corrugated board] (WordNet® 3.0, 2006, Princeton University via

Cost/Benefit Analysis

A quantitative evaluation of the costs which would have incurred by implementing an environmental regulation versus the overall benefits to society of the proposed action. (EPA Glossary)

Crumb Rubber

Ground rubber fragments the size of sand or silt used in rubber or plastic products, or processed further into reclaimed rubber or asphalt products. (EPA Glossary)

Curbside Collection

Method of collecting recyclable materials at homes, community districts or businesses. (EPA Glossary)



Removal of harmful substances such as noxious chemicals, harmful bacteria or other organisms, or radioactive material from exposed individuals, rooms and furnishings in buildings, or the exterior environment. (EPA Glossary)

Degradable Plastic

A plastic designed to undergo a significant change in its chemical structure under specific environmental conditions, resulting in a loss of some properties that may be measured by standard test methods appropriate to the plastic and the application in a period of time that determines its classification. (ASTM Standard Specification D6400)

Demand-side Waste Management

Prices whereby consumers use purchasing decisions to communicate to product manufacturers that they prefer environmentally sound products packaged with the least amount of waste, made from recycled or recyclable materials, and containing no hazardous substances. (EPA Glossary)


Consumer products, other items, and packaging used once or a few times and discarded. (EPA Glossary)

Diversion Rate

The amount of waste being diverted from landfills due to recycling.

Diversion Rate

The percentage of waste materials diverted from traditional disposal such as landfilling or incineration to be recycled, composted, or re-used. (EPA Glossary)

Drop-off Center

A central, predesignated area, building, or facility set up to receive recyclables which are dropped off by individuals. (Business Recycling Manual)

Dry Waste

Non-putrescible (unlikely to decompose), non-hazardous waste material, comprised of at least 50% of recyclable material by weight.

Dual Stream

Collection system where recyclables are funneled into two streams – usually one is paper/fiber and the other is containers. (CT DEEP)

Durable Goods

Sturdy items, like furniture or appliances, that can be used for many years. When people repair these products instead of buying new ones, they save money and reduce waste. (EPA Mission to Earth/Kids Glossary)


A site used to dispose of solid waste without environmental controls. (EPA Glossary)


End Users

Businesses and manufacturers that buy recyclable materials and convert them into new products.

End User

Consumer of products for the purpose of recycling. Excludes products for re-use or combustion for energy recovery. (EPA Glossary)


Ferrous Metals

Magnetic metals which are predominantly composed of iron. Includes steel.

Front End Loader

A solid waste collection truck equipped with two hydraulic forks used to pick up and empty waste containers from the front.



Animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, storage, sale, preparation, cooking, and serving of foods. (EPA Glossary)

Glass Containers

For recycling purposes, containers like bottles and jars for drinks, food, cosmetics and other products. When being recycled, container glass is generally separated into color categories for conversion into new containers, construction materials or fiberglass insulation. (EPA Glossary)

Gaylord Container

The trade name for a large, reusable corrugated container used for shipping recyclable materials.


A group or industry that produces waste or recyclables.


A system of sorting and rating waste or recyclable materials into categories by type and quality.



An individual or company that collects and hauls waste or recyclable materials from one place to another.


Garbage collection company that offers complete refuse removal service; many will also collect recyclables (See also Collector) (EPA Glossary)

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Often referred to as #2 Plastic. Recyclable plastic used to make plastic bottles, milk cartons, and other similar products.

High-Grade Paper

Relatively valuable types of paper, such as computer printouts.

Household Collection

Individualized set out of recyclables where each household or unit sets out its own container of recyclables for collection from a designated location or aggregated centralized collection where residents in a multi-family complex all place their recyclables in central storage containers serving the whole complex.

Household Waste (Domestic Waste)

Solid waste, composed of garbage and rubbish, which normally originates in a private home or apartment house. Domestic waste may contain a significant amount of toxic or hazardous waste. (EPA Glossary)


Industrial Process Waste

Residues produced during manufacturing operations. (EPA Glossary)

Industrial Waste

Unwanted materials from an industrial operation; may be liquid, sludge, solid, or hazardous waste. (EPA Glossary)

Institutional Waste

Waste generated at institutions such as schools, libraries, hospitals, prisons, etc. (EPA Glossary)

Integrated Waste Management

Using a variety of practices to handle municipal solid waste; can include source reduction, recycling, incineration, and landfilling. (EPA Glossary)

Intermediate Processing Center (IPC)

A facility which can recycle an item or items and market or deliver for reuse the resulting material product or products. Such facilities may be owned by the public or private entities or combinations thereof and may offer service on a state, regional, municipal or submunicipal level. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1-(a) (18))

Intermediate Processing Facility

A facility where glass, metals, paper products, batteries, household hazardous waste, fertilizers and other items are removed from the waste stream for recycling or reuse. [Often referred to as an Intermediate Processing Center or IPC] (CGS Section 22a-260 (25))



A private or municipal site where non-hazardous waste is buried.


1. Sanitary landfills are disposal sites for non-hazardous solid wastes spread in layers, compacted to the smallest practical volume, and covered by material applied at the end of each operating day. 2. Secure chemical landfills are disposal sites for hazardous waste, selected and designed to minimize the chance of release of hazardous substances into the environment. (EPA Glossary)

Life Cycle of a Product

All stages of a product’s development, from extraction of fuel for power to production, marketing, use, and disposal. (EPA Glossary)

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Often referred as #4 Plastic. Recyclable plastic used to make many types of bottles and containers.

Low-Grade Paper

Less valuable types of paper, including mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, and newsprint.


Mandate Recycling

Programs that require certain recycling practices or results by law.

Mandatory Recycling

Programs which by law require consumers to separate trash so that some or all recyclable materials are recovered for recycling rather than going to landfills or incinerators. (EPA Glossary)


A one-page form used by haulers transporting waste that lists EPA identification numbers, type and quantity of waste, the generator it originated from, the transporter that shipped it, and the storage or disposal facility to which it is being shipped. It includes copies for all participants in the shipping process. (EPA Glossary)

Manual Separation

Hand sorting of recyclable or compostable materials in waste. (EPA Glossary)


The return of recyclables to productive use. Marketing may involve the sale of materials, or be a transaction without pay. In some instances, marketing may involve payment to a user (City Cycle, 1990)


The businesses who accept recyclable materials for reuse or processing, either for their own consumption or for resale. A public agency may also be a market. (City Cycle, 1990)

Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)

A facility that processes residentially collected mixed recyclables into new products available for market. (EPA Glossary)

Mixed Municipal Solid Waste

Municipal solid waste that consists of mixtures of solid wastes which have not been separated at the source of generation or processed into discrete, homogeneous waste streams such as glass, paper, plastic, aluminum or tire waste streams provided such wastes shall not include any material required to be recycled pursuant to section 22a-241b. (CGS Section 22a-207a (2))

Mixed Municipal Solid Waste Composting Facility

A volume reduction plant where mixed municipal solid waste is processed using composting technology. (CGS Section 22a-207a (3))

Mixed Paper

Waste paper of various kinds and levels of quality, including stationery, notepads, manila folders, and envelopes.

Mixed Paper

Recovered paper not sorted into categories such as old magazines, old newspapers, old corrugated boxes, etc. (EPA Glossary)

Mixed Waste

Unsorted waste from businesses.

Municipal Collection

Solid waste collection from all residents thereof by a municipal authority. (CGS Section 22a-207 (16))



The low-grade paper used to make newspaper.

Non-Ferrous Metals

Metals which contain no iron, such as aluminum, copper, brass, and bronze.


Other Plastics

Recyclable plastic from appliances, eating utensils, plates, containers, toys, and various kinds of equipment. Does not include heavy-duty plastics such as yielding materials. (EPA Glossary)

Other Solid Waste

Recyclable nonhazardous solid wastes, other than municipal solid waste, covered under Subtitle D of RARA. (See also Solid Waste) (EPA Glossary)



A wooden platform used in connection with a forklift for moving bales or other large items. Also called a ‘skid’. (Business Recycling Manual, INFORM & Recourse Systems, 1991)


In the recycling business, refers to products and materials, including newspapers, magazines, office papers, corrugated containers, bags and some paperboard packaging that can be recycled into new paper products. (EPA Glossary)


Heavyweight grades of paper that are used to make containers, boxes, cartons, and packaging materials.

Paper Stock

Scrap or waste paper that has been sorted and baled into specific grades.

Polyethylene Teraphthalate (PETE)

Often referred to as #1 Plastic. Clear or colored, high-gloss recyclable plastic used for beverage bottles and household cleanser containers.

Polylactic acid or Polylactide (PLA)

Polylactic acid or Polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable, thermoplastic, aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources. Corn starch (in the U.S.) or sugarcanes are the common feedstock. Bacterial fermentation is used to produce lactic acid, which is oligomerized and then catalytically dimerized to make the monomer for ring-opening polymerization. It can be easily produced in a high molecular weight form through ring-opening polymerization using most commonly a stannous octoate catalyst, but for laboratory demonstrations tin(II) chloride is often employed. (The Language of Agriculture - Dictionary and Research Guide)

Polypropilene (PP)

Often referred to as #5 Plastic. Plastic with a smooth surface; difficult to scratch but cracks easily when bent. Often used for battery cases, dairy tubs, jar lids, straws, and syrup bottles. Difficult to collect in substantial quantities for recycling. Limited uses in its recycled form.

Polystyrene (PS)

Often referred to as #6 Plastic, or Styrofoam. Plastic with a smooth surface that cracks easily when bent. Used for fast food packaging, cups, and packing peanuts. Takes up a large part of landfill space because of its bulk. Difficult to transport (and therefore recycle).

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Often referred to as V-3 or #3 Plastic. Environmentally indestructible plastic that releases toxic hydrocloric acid when burned. Used for food wraps and personal care product containers.


A term used to describe material that is being reused/recycled after it has been in the consumer’s hands (e.g., a newspaper going back to the paper mill to be recycled into new recycled content paper products). Material or product used by the consumer for its original purpose and then discarded. (

Post-Consumer Material

Any commercial product which has served its original, intended use and is then discarded by the consumer. Often has the potential to be recycled.

Post-Consumer Recycling

Use of materials generated from residential and consumer waste for new or similar purposes; e.g. converting wastepaper from offices into corrugated boxes or newsprint. (EPA Glossary)


A term used to describe material that is being reused/recycled before it ever goes to market (e.g. paper scraps off of a paper mill floor going back into the next batch of paper). Waste material generated during the manufacturing process. (

Pre-Consumer Waste

Waste material generated during the manufacturing process, prior to reaching consumers. Often applies to printing. Includes scraps, trimmings, overruns, etc.


Source reduction option in which goods are selected based upon the potential recyclability of the product after use.


Waste likely to rot or decompose, such as food waste.


Rear End Loader

A traditional solid waste collection truck loaded manually from the rear.


(In recycling) Restoration of materials found in the waste stream to a beneficial use which may be for purposes other than the original use. (EPA Glossary)

Recovery Rate

Percentage of usable recycled materials that have been removed from the total amount of municipal solid waste generated in a specific area or by a specific business. (EPA Glossary)


Products or materials that can be collected, separated, and processed to be used as raw materials in the manufacture of new products.

Recycling Center

A location where recyclables are collected and processed so they can be returned to the market in the form of raw materials or finished goods.

Render, Rendering

To reduce, convert, or melt down (fat) by heating. To try out or extract (oil, lard, tallow, etc.) from fatty animal substances; as, to render tallow. Finished product often used in animal feed, cosmetics and soaps. (American Heritage® Dictionary, 2006 via

Residential Waste

Waste generated in single and multi-family homes, including newspapers, clothing, disposable tableware, food packaging, cans, bottles, food scraps, and yard trimmings other than those that are diverted to backyard composting. (See also Household Hazardous Waste) (EPA Glossary)

Residual Waste

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Resources Recovery Facility

A facility utilizing processes to reclaim energy from municipal solid waste. (CGS Section 22a-207 (9))


Using a product or component of municipal solid waste in its original form more than once; e.g., refilling a glass bottle that has been returned or using a coffee can to hold nuts and bolts. (EPA Glossary)


Solid waste, excluding food waste and ashes, from homes, institutions, and workplaces. (EPA Glossary)


An open-top container used to collect bulk waste. Transported by a special trailer which uses hydraulics to roll the container on and off the truck.



The act of obtaining post-consumer material through collection, sorting, etc.


The portion of solid waste which can be economically recycled. Waste with value.

Secondary Material

See: Post-Consumer Material.


Special equipment that reduces the size of recyclable materials through shearing action.

Single Stream Recycling

A type of recycling in which all recyclables are combined in the same container and sorted by the recycling center after collection. See: Co-Mingled Recycling.

Solid Waste

Refuse. Trash. Garbage. Does not include hazardous materials or liquid waste.

Source Reduction

An action undertaken to reduce waste at the point of generation, thereby decreasing the amount of material that enters the waste stream. Source reduction strategies include reuse, recycling, and precycling.

Source Separated Recycling

A type of recycling in which recyclables are sorted by type at the source of generation, prior to collection.


The practice of not taking from the earth those things that cannot be reused or replaced.


Total Waste Management

The total management of a site or company’s waste, including both waste disposal and recycling.


Material considered worthless or offensive that is thrown away. Generally defined as dry waste material, but in common usage it is a synonym for garbage, rubbish, or refuse. (EPA Glossary)



Unwanted materials remaining from manufacturing processes, or refuse from humans and animals.

Waste Audit

The process of identifying the types and quantities of materials in the waste stream to help establish waste management recommendations. Common recommendations include purchasing changes (precycling), source reduction, and recycling programs.

Waste Stream

The flow of waste material from generation to disposal. Includes materials that may be reused, recycled, composted, buried in landfills, or burned.

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