DEEP: Glossary of Recycling & Solid Waste Terms

Glossary of Recycling & Solid Waste
Terms, Abbreviations and Acronyms
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This glossary attempts to provide definitions for educational and informational purposes, not legal purposes. Many of these terms are common to the solid waste and recycling industry and might appear in DEEP or EPA publications or news releases available to the public or on DEEP’s website.
The definitions do not constitute the Agency's official use of terms and phrases for regulatory purposes, and nothing in this document should be construed to alter or supplant any other state document. Official terminology may be found in the laws and related regulations.

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Aerobic - Life or processes that require, or are not destroyed by, the presence of oxygen. (See also Anaerobic) (EPA Glossary)

Aerobic Treatment - Process by which microbes decompose complex organic compounds in the presence of oxygen and use the liberated energy for reproduction and growth. (Such processes include extended aeration, trickling filtration, and rotating biological contactors.) (EPA Glossary)

Agricultural Waste - Poultry and livestock manure, and residual materials in liquid or solid form generated from the production and marketing of poultry, livestock or fur-bearing animals; also includes grain, vegetable, and fruit harvest residue. (EPA Glossary)

Aerated static pile – Forced aeration method of composting in which a free-standing composting pile is aerated by a blower moving air through perforated pipes located beneath the pile. (On Farm Composting Handbook)

Airborne Particulates - Total suspended particulate matter found in the atmosphere as solid particles or liquid droplets. Chemical composition of particulates varies widely, depending on location and time of year. Sources of airborne particulates include: dust, emissions from industrial processes, combustion products from the burning of wood and coal, combustion products associated with motor vehicle or non-road engine exhausts, and reactions to gases in the atmosphere. (EPA Glossary)

Air Pollution – The presence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more air pollutants or any combination thereof in such quantities and of such characteristics and duration as to be, or be likely to be, injurious to public welfare, to the health of human, plant or animal life, or to property, or as unreasonably to interfere with the enjoyment of life and property. (Section 22a-170 of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS))

Algae - Simple rootless plants that grow in sunlit waters in proportion to the amount of available nutrients. They can affect water quality adversely by lowering the dissolved oxygen in the water. They are food for fish and small aquatic animals. (EPA Glossary)

Algal Blooms - Sudden spurts of algal growth, which can affect water quality adversely and indicate potentially hazardous changes in local water chemistry. (EPA Glossary)

American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) - Voluntary standards development organization, considered a trusted source for technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services. Their work includes standardization of compostable and/or biodegradable packaging including food containers. (Compiled from ASTM)

Anaerobic - A life or process that occurs in, or is not destroyed by, the absence of oxygen. (EPA Glossary)

Anaerobic Decomposition - Reduction of the net energy level and change in chemical composition of organic matter caused by microorganisms in an oxygen-free environment. (EPA Glossary)

Aquifer – A geologic formation, group of formations or part of a formation that contains sufficient saturated, permeable materials to yield significant quantities of water to wells and springs. (CGS Section 22a-354h (6))

Asbestos - A mineral fiber that can pollute air or water and cause cancer or asbestosis when inhaled. EPA has banned or severely restricted its use in manufacturing and construction. (EPA Glossary)

Asbestos Abatement - Procedures to control fiber release from asbestos-containing materials in a building or to remove them entirely, including removal, encapsulation, repair, enclosure, encasement, and operations and maintenance programs. (EPA Glossary)

Asbestos Assessment - In the asbestos-in-schools program, the evaluation of the physical condition and potential for damage of all friable asbestos containing materials and thermal insulation systems. (EPA Glossary)

Ash – Bottom ash, air pollution control residue and other residuals of the combustion process from an incinerator utilized for the combustion of municipal solid waste.
(CGS Section 22a-285 (1))

Authority – Means the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority created and established pursuant to Chapter 446e of the Connecticut General Statutes or any board, body, commission, department, officer, agency or other successor thereto.
(CGS Section 22a-260 (1))


Bacteria - (Singular: bacterium) Microscopic living organisms that can aid in pollution control by metabolizing organic matter in sewage, oil spills or other pollutants. However, bacteria in soil, water or air can also cause human, animal and plant health problems. (EPA Glossary)

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

Battery – Device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy, consisting of a group of electric cells that are connected to act as a source of direct current. The term is also now commonly used for a single cell, such as the alkaline dry cell used in flashlights and portable tape players, but strictly speaking batteries are made up of connected cells encased in a container and fitted with terminals to provide a source of direct electric current at a given voltage. A cell consists of two dissimilar substances, a positive electrode and a negative electrode, that conduct electricity, and a third substance, an electrolyte, that acts chemically on the electrodes. The two electrodes are connected by an external circuit (e.g., a piece of copper wire); the electrolyte functions as an ionic conductor for the transfer of the electrons between the electrodes.

Batteries also can be generally divided into two main types—rechargeable and nonrechargeable, or disposable. Disposable batteries, also called primary cells, can be used until the chemical changes that induce the electrical current supply are complete, at which point the battery is discarded. Disposable batteries are most commonly used in smaller, portable devices that are only used intermittently or at a large distance from an alternative power source or have a low current drain. Rechargeable batteries, also called secondary cells, can be reused after being drained. This is done by applying an external electrical current, which causes the chemical changes that occur in use to be reversed. The external devices that supply the appropriate current are called chargers or rechargers. (Excerpt from The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright ฉ 2004 via

Best Management Practice (BMP) - Methods that have been determined to be the most effective, practical means of preventing or reducing pollution from non-point sources. (EPA Glossary)

Biodegradable - Capable of decomposing under natural conditions. (EPA Glossary)

Biodegradable Packaging Institute (BPI) - The Biodegradable Products Institute is a multi-stakeholder association of key individuals and groups from government, industry and academia, which promotes the use, and recycling of biodegradable polymeric materials (via composting). The BPI is open to any materials and products that demonstrate that they meet the requirements in ASTM D6400 or D6868, based on testing in a approved laboratory. (BPI)

Biodegradable Plastic - A degradable plastic in which the degradation results from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae.  (ASTM Standard Specification D6400)

Biological Treatment - A treatment technology that uses bacteria to consume organic waste. (EPA Glossary)

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)

Bottom Ash - The non-airborne combustion residue from burning pulverized coal in a boiler; the material which falls to the bottom of the boiler and is removed mechanically; a concentration of non-combustible materials, which may include toxics. (EPA Glossary)

Bulking agent – An ingredient in a mixture of composting raw materials included to improve the structure and porosity of the mix. Bulking agents are usually rigid and dry and often have large particles (for example, straw). (On Farm Composting Handout)

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

Bulky Waste – Land clearing debris and waste resulting directly from demolition activities other than clean fill. (Section 22a-208a-1 (10) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA))

Buy-Back Center – (aka Redemption Center) Facility where individuals or groups bring recyclables in return for payment. (EPA Glossary)


Cap - A layer of clay, or other impermeable material installed over the top of a closed landfill to prevent entry of rainwater and minimize leachate. (EPA Glossary)

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. (

Clean Wood – Any wood which is derived from such products as pallets, skids, spools, packaging materials, bulky wood waste, or scraps from newly built wood products, provided such wood is not treated wood as defined in section 22a-209a of the General Statutes or demolition wood. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1 (11))

Climate Change - The term 'climate change' is sometimes used to refer to all forms of climatic inconsistency, but because the Earth's climate is never static, the term is more properly used to imply a significant change from one climatic condition to another. In some cases, 'climate change' has been used synonymously with the term, 'global warming'; scientists however, tend to use the term in the wider sense to also include natural changes in climate. (See Also Global Warming) (EPA Glossary)

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

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

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

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) - Small fluorescent lamps used as more efficient alternatives to incandescent lighting. Also called PL, CFL, Twin-Tube, or BIAX lamps. (EPA Glossary)

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

Compost - A humus or soil-like material created from aerobic, microbial decomposition of organic materials such as food scraps, yard trimmings, and manure (EPA Glossary)

Compostable -   Capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site as part of an available program, such that the material is not visually distinguishable and breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass, at a rate consistent with known compostable materials. (ASTM Standard Specification D6002)

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)

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

Composting Facility - 1. An offsite facility where the organic component of municipal solid waste is decomposed under controlled conditions; aerobic process in which organic materials are ground or shredded and then decomposed to humus in windrow piles or in mechanical digesters, drums, or similar enclosures. (EPA Glossary)

Conservation - Preserving and renewing, when possible, human and natural resources. The use, protection, and improvement of natural resources according to principles that will ensure their highest economic or social benefits. (EPA Glossary)

Construction and Demolition Waste – Waste building materials and packaging resulting from construction, remodeling, repair and demolition operations on houses, commercial buildings and other structures, excluding asbestos, clean fill, as defined in regulations adopted under section 22a-209, or solid waste containing greater than de minimis quantities, as determined by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, of (A) radioactive material regulated pursuant to section 22a-148, (B) hazardous waste as defined in section 22a-115, and (C) liquid and semi liquid materials, including, but not limited to, adhesives, paints, coatings, sealants, preservatives, strippers, cleaning agents, oils and tars. (CGS Section 22a-208x (1); RCSA Section 22a-208a (13))

Construction and Demolition Waste Processing Facility – A volume reduction plant, the operations of which involve solely the reduction in volume of construction and demolition waste generated elsewhere. (RCSA Section 22a-208a (14))

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

Contamination - 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] (WordNetฎ 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)

Cover Material - Soil used to cover compacted solid waste in a sanitary landfill. (EPA Glossary)

Cradle-to-Grave or Manifest System - A procedure in which hazardous materials are identified and followed as they are produced, treated, transported, and disposed of by a series of permanent, linkable, descriptive documents (e.g. manifests). Commonly referred to as the cradle-to-grave system. (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)

Cullet – Broken or waste glass suitable for remelting. (Random House Dictionary, 2009 via

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


Decomposition - The breakdown of matter by bacteria and fungi, changing the chemical makeup and physical appearance of materials. (EPA Glossary)

Deconstruction - A technique practitioners are using to salvage valuable building materials, reduce the amount of waste they send to landfills, and mitigate other environmental impacts. It is the disassembly of a building and the recovery of its materials, often thought of as construction in reverse. (EPA, Lifecycle Construction Resource Guide)

Decontamination - 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)

Detergent - Synthetic washing agent that helps to remove dirt and oil. Some contain compounds which kill useful bacteria and encourage algae growth when they are in wastewater that reaches receiving waters. (EPA Glossary)

Digestion - The biochemical decomposition of organic matter, resulting in partial gasification, liquefaction, and mineralization of pollutants. (EPA Glossary)

Direct Emissions – Emissions from sources that are owned or operated, in whole or in part, by an entity or facility, including, but not limited to, emissions from factory stacks, manufacturing processes and vents, and company owned or leased motor vehicles. (CGS Section 22a-200 (1))

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

Disposal - Final placement or destruction of toxic, radioactive, or other wastes; surplus or banned pesticides or other chemicals; polluted soils; and drums containing hazardous materials from removal actions or accidental releases. Disposal may be accomplished through use of approved secure landfills, surface impoundments, land farming, deep-well injection, ocean dumping, or incineration. (EPA Glossary)

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)

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)

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


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

Embodied Energy - Embodied energy (reported in Mega Joules) includes all non-renewable energy, direct and indirect, used to transform or transport raw materials into products and buildings, including inherent energy contained in raw or feedstock materials that are also used as common energy sources. (For example, natural gas used as a raw material in the production of various plastic (polymer) resins.) In addition, the measure captures the pre-combustion (indirect) energy use associated with processing, transporting, converting and delivering fuel and energy. (The Athena Institute)

Energy Recovery - Obtaining energy from waste through a variety of processes (e.g. combustion). (EPA Glossary)

Environmental Equity/Justice - Equal protection from environmental hazards for individuals, groups, or communities regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status. This applies to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies, and implies that no population of people should be forced to shoulder a disproportionate share of negative environmental impacts of pollution or environmental hazard due to a lack of political or economic strength levels. (EPA Glossary)

Extended Producer Responsibility - Environmental protection strategy to reach an environmental objective of a decreased total environmental impact from a product, by making the manufacturer of the product responsible for the entire life-cycle of the product and especially for the take-back, recycling and final disposal of the product. (Thomas Lindhqvist, Towards an Extended Producer Responsibility, April 1992 via Institute of Local Self Reliance)


Ferrous Metals - Magnetic metals derived from iron or steel; products made from ferrous metals include appliances, furniture, containers, and packaging like steel drums and barrels. Recycled products include processing tin/steel cans, strapping, and metals from appliances into new products. (EPA Glossary)

Fill - Man-made deposits of natural soils or rock products and waste materials. (EPA Glossary)

Fluorescent Lamps – (a.k.a. fluorescent light bulb) An electric lamp that produces light through fluorescence. In most fluorescent lamps, a mixture of argon and mercury gas contained in a glass bulb is stimulated by an electric current, producing ultraviolet rays. These rays strike a fluorescent phosphor coating on the interior surface of the bulb, causing it to emit visible light. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent lamps because very little energy is lost as heat.  (American Heritage Science Dictionary, 2002 via  See also Incandescent lamp.

Fly Ash - Non-combustible residual particles expelled by flue gas. (EPA Glossary)

Food Chain - A sequence of organisms, each of which uses the next, lower member of the sequence as a food source. (EPA Glossary)

Food Processing Waste - Food residues produced during agricultural and industrial operations. (EPA Glossary)

Food Waste - Uneaten food and food preparation wastes from residences and commercial establishments such as grocery stores, restaurants, and produce stands, institutional cafeterias and kitchens, and industrial sources like employee lunchrooms. (EPA Glossary)

Food Web - The feeding relationships by which energy and nutrients are transferred from one species to another. (EPA Glossary)

Fungus (Fungi) - Molds, mildews, yeasts, mushrooms, and puffballs, a group of organisms lacking in chlorophyll (i.e. are not photosynthetic) and which are usually non-mobile, filamentous, and multi-cellular. Some grow in soil, others attach themselves to decaying trees and other plants whence they obtain nutrients. Some are pathogens, others stabilize sewage and digest composted waste. (EPA Glossary)


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

Gaylord - "The trade name for a large reusable corrugated container used for shipping materials (dimensions approximately 40 by 48 by 37 inches) (Business Recycling Manual, INFORM & Recourse Systems, 1991)

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)

Global Warming - An increase in the near surface temperature of the Earth. Global warming has occurred in the distant past as the result of natural influences, but the term is most often used to refer to the warming predicted to occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases. Scientists generally agree that the Earth's surface has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past 140 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently concluded that increased concentrations of greenhouse gases are causing an increase in the Earth's surface temperature and that increased concentrations of sulfate aerosols have led to relative cooling in some regions, generally over and downwind of heavily industrialized areas. (See Also Climate Change) (EPA Glossary)

Grasscycling - Source reduction activities in which grass clippings are left on the lawn after mowing. (EPA Glossary)

Green Remediation – The practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to maximize the net environmental benefit of cleanup actions. (EPA CLU-IN)

Greenhouse Effect - The warming of the Earth's atmosphere attributed to a buildup of carbon dioxide or other gases; some scientists think that this build-up allows the sun's rays to heat the Earth, while making the infra-red radiation atmosphere opaque to infra-red radiation, thereby preventing a counterbalancing loss of heat. (EPA Glossary)

Greenhouse Gas – Any chemical or physical substance that is emitted into the air and that the Commissioner of Environmental Protection may reasonably anticipate to cause or contribute to climate change, including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. (CGS Section 22a-200 (4))

Ground Water - The supply of fresh water found beneath the Earth's surface, usually in aquifers, which supply wells and springs. Because ground water is a major source of drinking water, there is growing concern over contamination from leaching agricultural or industrial pollutants or leaking underground storage tanks. (EPA Glossary)


Halogen - A type of incandescent lamp with higher energy-efficiency that standard ones. (EPA Glossary)

Hazardous Waste – Any waste material which may pose a present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly disposed of, treated, stored, transported, or otherwise managed, including (A) hazardous waste identified in accordance with Section 3001 of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (42 USC 6901 et seq.), (B) hazardous waste identified by regulation by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and (C) polychlorinated biphenyls in concentrations greater than fifty parts per million, but does not mean by-product material, source material or special nuclear material, as defined in section 22a-151, or scrap tires. (CGS Section 22a-115 (1))

Hazardous Waste Minimization – Reducing the amount of toxicity or waste produced by a facility via source reduction or environmentally sound recycling. (EPA Glossary)

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

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) – A type of plastic used to make milk jugs and other rigid plastic bottles (City Cycle, 1990) A material used to make plastic bottles and other products that produces toxic fumes when burned. (EPA Glossary) Coded #2

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 Hazardous Waste (HHW) - Hazardous products used and disposed of by residential as opposed to industrial consumers. Includes paints, stains, varnishes, solvents, pesticides, and other materials or products containing volatile chemicals that can catch fire, react or explode, or that are corrosive or toxic. (EPA Glossary)

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)

Humus – The dark or black carbon-rich relatively stable residue resulting from the decomposition of organic matter. (On Farm Composting Handbook)


Incineration - A treatment technology involving destruction of waste by controlled burning at high temperatures; e.g., burning sludge to remove the water and reduce the remaining residues to a safe, non-burnable ash that can be disposed of safely on land, in some waters, or in underground locations. (EPA Glossary)

Incinerator - A furnace for burning waste under controlled conditions. (EPA Glossary)

Indirect Emissions – Emissions associated with the consumption of purchased electricity, steam and heating or cooling by an entity or facility. (CGS Section 22a-200 (5))

Industrial Pollution Prevention - Combination of industrial source reduction and toxic chemical use substitution. (EPA Glossary)

Industrial Process Waste - Residues produced during manufacturing operations. (EPA Glossary)

Industrial Source Reduction - Practices that reduce the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment. Also reduces the threat to public health and the environment associated with such releases. Term includes equipment or technology modifications, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training or inventory control. (EPA Glossary)

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

Incandescent Lamp - A lamp that produces light by heating up a filament of wire inside a bulb with an electric current, causing incandescence. The glass bulb containing the filament is filled with a nonreactive gas, such as argon, to prevent the wire from burning. (American Heritage Science Dictionary, 2002 via

Inorganic Chemicals - Chemical substances of mineral origin, not of basically carbon structure. (EPA Glossary)

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

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - A mixture of chemical and other, non-pesticide, methods to control pests. (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))


Lamp (also referred to as "universal waste lamp'') – defined as the bulb or tube portion of an electric lighting device. A lamp is specifically designed to produce radiant energy, most often in the ultraviolet, visible, and infra-red regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Examples of common universal waste electric lamps include, but are not limited to, fluorescent, high intensity discharge, neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium, and metal halide lamps. (Title 40 CFR 260.10)  See also Fluorescent Lamp and Incandescent Lamp.

Lamp Recycling Facility – A facility operated to remove, recover or recycle for reuse mercury, metals, phosphorous powder, gases, glass or other materials from fluorescent or high intensity discharge lamps. Such a facility shall be considered a volume reduction plant, as defined in section 22a-207, regardless of the volume of solid waste generated, and shall not be subject to the requirements of section 22a-454 provided such facility is operated in compliance with federal law. (CGS Section 22a-209e)

Landfills - 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)

Land Clearing/Clean Wood Processing Facility – A volume reduction plant, the operations of which involve solely the reduction in volume of land clearing debris or clean wood generated elsewhere. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1 (a) (20))

Land Clearing Debris – Trees, stumps, branches, or other wood generated from clearing land for commercial or residential development, road construction, routine landscaping, agricultural land clearing, storms, or natural disasters. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1 (a) (19))

Large Quantity Generator - Person or facility generating more than 2200 pounds of hazardous waste per month. Such generators produce about 90 percent of the nation's hazardous waste, and are subject to all RCRA requirements. (EPA Glossary)

Leachate - Water that collects contaminants as it trickles through wastes, pesticides or fertilizers. Leaching may occur in farming areas, feedlots, and landfills, and may result in hazardous substances entering surface water, ground water, or soil. (EPA Glossary)

Leachate Collection System - A system that gathers leachate and pumps it to the surface for treatment. (EPA Glossary)

Leaching - The process by which soluble constituents are dissolved and filtered through the soil by a percolating fluid. Also see Leachate. (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)

Liner - 1. A relatively impermeable barrier designed to keep leachate inside a landfill. Liner materials include plastic and dense clay. 2. An insert or sleeve for sewer pipes to prevent leakage or infiltration. (EPA Glossary)

Litter - 1. The highly visible portion of solid waste carelessly discarded outside the regular garbage and trash collection and disposal system. 2. leaves and twigs fallen from forest trees. (EPA Glossary)


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)

Manifest - 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)

Marketing – 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)

Markets – 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)

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) - A compilation of information required under the OSHA Communication Standard on the identity of hazardous chemicals, health, and physical hazards, exposure limits, and precautions. Section 311 of SARA requires facilities to submit MSDSs under certain circumstances. (EPA Glossary)

Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) - A facility that processes residentially collected mixed recyclables into new products available for market. (EPA Glossary)

Methane - A colorless, nonpoisonous, flammable gas created by anaerobic decomposition of organic compounds. A major component of natural gas used in the home. (EPA Glossary)

Microbial Growth - The amplification or multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, algae, diatoms, plankton, and fungi. (EPA Glossary)

Minimization - A comprehensive program to minimize or eliminate wastes, usually applied to wastes at their point of origin. (See also Waste Minimization) (EPA Glossary)

Mixed Glass - Recovered container glass not sorted into categories (e.g. color, grade). (EPA Glossary)

Mixed Metals - Recovered metals not sorted into categories such as aluminum, tin, or steel cans or ferrous or non-ferrous metals. (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 - Recovered paper not sorted into categories such as old magazines, old newspapers, old corrugated boxes, etc. (EPA Glossary)

Mixed Plastic - Recovered plastic unsorted by category. (EPA Glossary)

Monocell – A variation of the cell construction method whereby only a single type of solid waste is disposed of in any individual cell. (RCSA Section 22a-209-1)

Mulch – A protective cover of organic material placed over soil to preserve soil moisture, prevent erosion, or promote the growth of plants. (RCSA Section 22a-209-1)

Municipal Authority – The local governing body having legal jurisdiction over solid waste management within its corporate limits which shall be, in the case of any municipality which adopts a charter provision or ordinance pursuant to section 7-273aa, the municipal resource recovery authority. (CGS Section 22a-207 (12))

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

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) – Solid waste from residential, commercial and industrial sources, excluding solid waste consisting of significant quantities of hazardous waste as defined in section 22a-115, land-clearing debris, demolition debris, biomedical waste, sewage sludge and scrap metal. (CGS Section 22a-207 (23))

Municipality – Any town, city or borough within the state. (CGS Section 22a-207 (11))


New Municipal Solid Waste Disposal Area – A solid waste facility or expansion thereof, other than a vertical expansion, for the disposal of municipal solid waste, for which facility or expansion a completed application under CGS Sections 22a-430 and 22a-208 is received by the Commissioner after the effective date of RCSA Section 22a-209-14. (RCSA Section 22a-209-1)

Newspaper – Used or discarded newsprint which has a minimum contamination by food or other material.

Nitrate - A compound containing nitrogen that can exist in the atmosphere or as a dissolved gas in water and which can have harmful effects on humans and animals. Nitrates in water can cause severe illness in infants and domestic animals. A plant nutrient and inorganic fertilizer, nitrate is found in septic systems, animal feed lots, agricultural fertilizers, manure, industrial waste waters, sanitary landfills, and garbage dumps. (EPA Glossary)

Nitrogenous Wastes - Animal or vegetable residues that contain significant amounts of nitrogen. (EPA Glossary)

Non-Ferrous Metals - Nonmagnetic metals such as aluminum, lead, and copper. Products made all or in part from such metals include containers, packaging, appliances, furniture, electronic equipment and aluminum foil. (EPA Glossary)

Non-Point Sources - Diffuse pollution sources (i.e. without a single point of origin or not introduced into a receiving stream from a specific outlet). The pollutants are generally carried off the land by storm water. Common non-point sources are agriculture, forestry, urban, mining, construction, dams, channels, land disposal, saltwater intrusion, and city streets. (EPA Glossary)


Office paper – Used or discarded high grade white paper and manilla paper, including paper utilized for file folders, tab cards, writing, typing, printing, computer printing, and photocopying, which is suitable for recycling and which has a minimum of contamination (City Cycle)

Open Burning - Uncontrolled fires in an open dump. (EPA Glossary)

Open Dump - An uncovered site used for disposal of waste without environmental controls. (See also Dump) (EPA Glossary)

Organic - 1. Referring to or derived from living organisms. 2. In chemistry, any compound containing carbon. (EPA Glossary)

Organic Chemicals/Compounds - Naturally occurring (animal or plant-produced or synthetic) substances containing mainly carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. (EPA Glossary)

Organic Matter - Carbonaceous waste contained in plant or animal matter and originating from domestic or industrial sources. (EPA Glossary)

Organism - Any form of animal or plant life. (EPA Glossary)

Ort - A small scrap or leaving of food after a meal is completed. Often used in the plural. (

Other Ferrous Metals - Recyclable metals from strapping, furniture, and metal found in tires and consumer electronics but does not include metals found in construction materials or cars, locomotives, and ships. (See also Ferrous Metals) (EPA Glossary)

Other Glass - Recyclable glass from furniture, appliances, and consumer electronics. Does not include glass from transportation products (cars trucks or shipping containers) and construction or demolition debris. (See also Glass) (EPA Glossary)

Other Nonferrous Metals - Recyclable nonferrous metals such as lead, copper, and zinc from appliances, consumer electronics, and non-packaging aluminum products. Does not include nonferrous metals from industrial applications and construction and demolition debris. (See also Nonferrous Metals) (EPA Glossary)

Other Paper - For Recyclable paper from books, third-class mail, commercial printing, paper towels, plates and cups; and other non-packaging paper such as posters, photographic papers, cards and games, milk cartons, folding boxes, bags, wrapping paper, and paperboard. Does not include wrapping paper or shipping cartons. (EPA Glossary)

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)

Other Wood - Recyclable wood from furniture, consumer electronics cabinets, and other nonpackaging wood products. Does not include lumber and tree stumps recovered from construction and demolition activities, and industrial process waste such as shavings and sawdust. (EPA Glossary)


Packer truck, compacter truck – A refuse or recycling collection vehicle that compacts the materials. This is the most common type of refuse collection vehicle.

Pallet – 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)

Paper - 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)

Paper Processor/Plastics Processor - Intermediate facility where recovered paper or plastic products and materials are sorted, decontaminated, and prepared for final recycling. (EPA Glossary)

Passively Aerated Windrow System (PAWS) – A composting method in which windrows are constructed over a series of perforated plastic pipes, which serve as air ducts for passive aeration. Windrows are not turned. (On Farm Composting Handbook, 1992)

Pay-As-You-Throw/Unit-Based Pricing (PAYT) - Systems under which residents pay for municipal waste management and disposal services by weight or volume collected, not a fixed fee. (EPA Glossary)  See also SMART.

Participation Rate – Portion of population participating in a recycling program. (EPA Glossary)

pH - An expression of the intensity of the basic or acid condition of a liquid; may range from 0 to 14, where 0 is the most acid and 7 is neutral. Natural waters usually have a pH between 6.5 and 8.5. (EPA Glossary)

Point Source - A stationary location or fixed facility from which pollutants are discharged; any single identifiable source of pollution; e.g. a pipe, ditch, ship, ore pit, factory smokestack. (EPA Glossary)

Pollution - Generally, the presence of a substance in the environment that because of its chemical composition or quantity prevents the functioning of natural processes and produces undesirable environmental and health effects. Under the Clean Water Act, for example, the term has been defined as the man-made or man-induced alteration of the physical, biological, chemical, and radiological integrity of water and other media. (EPA Glossary)

Pollution Prevention – Identification of areas, processes, and activities which create excessive waste products or pollutants in order to reduce or prevent them through, alteration, or eliminating a process. (EPA Glossary)

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE) - A type of plastic used to make soft drink bottles and other kinds of food containers. PET is also used to make fabric. Coded #1.  (

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)

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - A tough, environmentally indestructible plastic that releases hydrochloric acid when burned. (EPA Glossary)

Post-Consumer - 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 Materials/Waste - Materials or finished products that have served their intended use and have been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, having completed their lives as consumer items. Postconsumer materials are part of the broader category of recovered materials. (EPA Glossary)

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)

Pre-Consumer - 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 Materials/Waste - Materials generated in manufacturing and converting processes such as manufacturing scrap and trimmings and cuttings. Includes print overruns, overissue publications, and obsolete inventories. (EPA Glossary)

Pressed Wood Products - Materials used in building and furniture construction that are made from wood veneers, particles, or fibers bonded together with an adhesive under heat and pressure. (EPA Glossary) 

Processed Construction and Demolition Wood – The wood portion of construction and demolition waste which has been sorted to remove plastics, plaster, gypsum wallboard, asbestos, asphalt shingles, regulated wood fuel as defined in section 22a-209a and wood which contains creosote or to which pesticides have been applied or which contains substances defined as hazardous waste under section 22a-115. (CGS Section 22a-208x (2))

Processed Wood – Recycled wood or treated wood or any combination thereof which has been processed at a volume reduction facility permitted under this chapter. (CGS Section 22a-209a (3))

Product Stewardship - Product stewardship is a principle that directs all participants involved in the life cycle of a product to take shared responsibility for the impacts to human health and the natural environment that result from the production, use and end-of-life management of the product. The greater the ability of a party to influence the life cycle impacts of a product, the greater the degree of that party’s responsibility. The stakeholders typically include manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and government officials.  (Product Stewardship Institute)

Putrefaction - Biological decomposition of organic matter; associated with anaerobic conditions. (EPA Glossary)


Reclamation - (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)

Recyclable - Products that can be collected and remanufactured into new products after they’ve been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials and only benefit the environment if people recycle them after use. (Earth 911)

Recycle - Minimizing waste generation by recovering and reprocessing usable products that might otherwise become waste (.i.e. recycling of aluminum cans, paper, and bottles, etc.). (EPA Glossary)

Recycled-content - Products are made from materials that would otherwise have been discarded. That means these products are made totally or partially from material contained in the products you recycle, like aluminum soda cans or newspaper. Recycled-content products also can be items that are rebuilt or re-manufactured from used products such as toner cartridges or computers. (Earth 911)

Recycled Wood – Any wood or wood fuel which is derived from such products or processes as pallets, skids, spools, packaging materials, bulky wood waste or scraps from newly built wood products, provided such wood is not treated wood. (CGS Section 22a-209a- (1))

Recycling – The processing of solid waste to reclaim material there from (CGS Section 22a-207 (7))

Recycling Facility/Recycling Center – Land and appurtenances thereon and structures where recycling is conducted, including but not limited to, an intermediate processing center as defined in section 22a-260. (CGS Section 22a-207 (8))

Recycling and Reuse Business Assistance Centers - Located in state solid-waste or economic-development agencies, these centers provide recycling businesses with customized and targeted assistance. (EPA Glossary)

Recycling Economic Development Advocates - Individuals hired by state or tribal economic development offices to focus financial, marketing, and permitting resources on creating recycling businesses. (EPA Glossary)

Refuse – (See solid waste)

Region – Two or more municipalities which have joined together by creating a district or signing an interlocal agreement or signing a mutual contract for a definite period of time concerning solid waste management within such municipalities. (CGS Section 22a-207 (14))

Regional Authority – The administrative body delegated the responsibility of solid waste management for two or more municipalities which have joined together by creating a district or signing an interlocal agreement or signing a mutual contract for a definitive period of time. (CGS Section 22a-207 (13))

Regulated Wood Fuel – Processed wood from construction and demolition activities which has been sorted to remove plastics, plaster, gypsum wallboard, asbestos, asphalt shingles and wood which contains creosote or to which pesticides have been applied or which contains substances defined as hazardous under Section 22a-115. (CGS Section 22a-209a (4))

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 Heritageฎ Dictionary, 2006 via

Renderer – one who renders (individual or business). See Render, Rendering. (American Heritageฎ 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 - Amount of a pollutant remaining in the environment after a natural or technological process has taken place; e.g., the sludge remaining after initial wastewater treatment, or particulates remaining in air after it passes through a scrubbing or other process. (EPA Glossary)

Residue – Bottom ash, air pollution control residue, and other residues from the combustion process at resources recovery facilities, wood-burning facilities, municipal solid waste incinerators, and biomedical waste incinerators. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1 (a) (25))

Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) – The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gives EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from the "cradle-to-grave." This includes the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also set forth a framework for the management of non-hazardous solid wastes. The 1986 amendments to RCRA enabled EPA to address environmental problems that could result from underground tanks storing petroleum and other hazardous substances.

The Federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) are the 1984 amendments to RCRA that focused on waste minimization and phasing out land disposal of hazardous waste as well as corrective action for releases. Some of the other mandates of this law include increased enforcement authority for EPA, more stringent hazardous waste management standards, and a comprehensive underground storage tank program. (EPA, RCRA On-Line))

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

Reuse - 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)

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

Run-Off - That part of precipitation, snow melt, or irrigation water that runs off the land into streams or other surface-water. It can carry pollutants from the air and land into receiving waters. (EPA Glossary)


Salvage - The utilization of waste materials. (EPA Glossary)

Sanitary Landfill - (See Landfills)

Scavenger - 1. a person who searches through and collects items from discard material. 2. An animal or other organism that feeds on dead organic matter. 3. a street cleaner. Originally a "person hired to remove refuse from streets," from M.E. scawageour. (Random House Dictionary, 2009 via

Scrap - Materials discarded from manufacturing operations that may be suitable for reprocessing. (EPA Glossary)

Scrap Metal Processor - Intermediate operating facility where recovered metal is sorted, cleaned of contaminants, and prepared for recycling. (EPA Glossary)

Secondary Materials - Materials that have been manufactured and used at least once and are to be used again. (EPA Glossary)

Sewage - the waste matter that passes through sewers. (Random House Dictionary, 2009 via

Sharps - Hypodermic needles, syringes (with or without the attached needle), Pasteur pipettes, scalpel blades, blood vials, needles with attached tubing, and culture dishes used in animal or human patient care or treatment, or in medical, research or industrial laboratories. Also included are other types of broken or unbroken glassware that were in contact with infectious agents, such as used slides and cover slips, and unused hypodermic and suture needles, syringes, and scalpel blades. (EPA Glossary)

Signal Words - The words used on a pesticide label--Danger, Warning, Caution--to indicate level of toxicity. (EPA Glossary)

Single Stream Collection – Collection system where recyclables are fully commingled, mixing fiber (papers) and containers (glass bottles, metal cans and plastic containers). (CT DEEP)

Sludge Processing Facility – A volume reduction plant, the operations of which involve solely the reduction in volume of water treatment, sewage treatment or industrial sludge generated elsewhere. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1 (1) (27))

SMART (Save Money And Reduce Trash) - Another name for Pay-As-You-Throw - Systems under which residents pay for municipal waste management and disposal services by weight or volume collected, not a fixed fee. (EPA Glossary)

Solid Waste – Unwanted or discarded solid, liquid, semisolid or contained gaseous material, including, but not limited to, demolition debris, material burned or otherwise processed at a resources recovery facility or incinerator, material processed at a recycling facility and sludges or other residue from a water pollution abatement facility, water supply treatment plant or air pollution control facility. (CGS Section 22a-207 (3))

Solid Waste Facility- means any solid waste disposal area, volume reduction plant, transfer station, wood-burning facility or biomedical waste treatment facility. (CGS Section 22a-207 (4))

Solid Waste Disposal Area– Any location, including a landfill or other land disposal site, used for the disposal of more than ten cubic yards of solid waste. For purposes of this subdivision, "disposal" means the placement of material at a location with the intent to leave it at such location indefinitely, or to fail to remove material from a location within forty-five days, but does not mean the placement of material l required to be recycled under section 22a-241b in a location on the premises of a recycling facility, provided such facility is in compliance with all requirements of state or federal law and any permits required there under (CGS Section 22a-207 (6))

Solid Waste Management Plan – An administrative and financial plan for an area which considers solid waste storage, collection, transportation, volume reduction, recycling, reclamation and disposal practices for a twenty-year period, or extensions thereof. (CGS Section 22a-207 (15))

Solid Waste Management System – That portion of the overall state solid waste management plan specifically designed to deal with the provision of waste management services and to effect resources recovery and recycling by means of a network of waste management projects and resources recovery facilities developed, established and operated by the authority by contract or otherwise, but not embracing or including any regulatory or enforcement activities of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in accordance with applicable provisions of the general statutes and as may be referred to in the state solid waste management plan as developed and promulgated by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. (CGS Section 22a-260 (23))

Solid Waste Planning Region – Those municipalities within the defined boundaries of regional planning agencies or as prescribed in the state solid waste management plan. (CGS Section 22a-207 (18))

Source Reduction - Reducing the amount of materials entering the waste stream from a specific source by redesigning products or patterns of production or consumption (e.g., using returnable beverage containers). Synonymous with waste reduction. (EPA Glossary)

Source-Separated Organic Material Composting Facility – Land, including structures and appurtenances thereon, where the composting of organic material that has been separated at the point or source of generation from non-organic material, takes place. Organic materials means substances composed primarily of carbon and nitrogen, including but not limited to food scraps, food processing residue, soiled or unrecyclable paper and yard trimmings. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1(a)(31))

Source Separation - Segregating various wastes at the point of generation (e.g., separation of paper, metal and glass from other wastes to make recycling simpler and more efficient). (EPA Glossary)

Special Wastes – The following wastes, so long as they are not hazardous waste pursuant to section 22a-115 of the General Statutes or radioactive material subject to section 22a-158 of the General Statutes: (1) water treatment, sewage treatment or industrial sludges, liquid, solids and contained gases; fly-ash and casting sands or slag; and contaminated dredge spoils; (2)scrap tires; (3)bulky waste, as defined in this section; (4)asbestos; (5)residue; and (6)biomedical waste. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1(a)(32))

Sustainability – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (EPA Glossary)


Toxic Substance - A chemical or mixture that may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. (EPA Glossary)

Toxic Waste - A waste that can produce injury if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin. (EPA Glossary)

Transfer Station – Any location or structure, whether located on land or water, where more than ten cubic yards of solid waste, generated elsewhere, may be stored for transfer or transferred from transportation units and placed in other transportation units for movement to another location, whether or not such waste is stored at the location prior to transfer. (CGS Section 22a-207 (10))

Trash - 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)

Treated Wood – Wood which contains an adhesive, paint, stain, fire retardant, pesticide or preservative. (CGS Section 22a-209a(2))


Used Oil - Spent motor oil from passenger cars and trucks collected at specified locations for recycling (not included in the category of municipal solid waste. (EPA Glossary)


Vector - 1. An organism, often an insect or rodent, that carries disease. 2. Plasmids, viruses, or bacteria used to transport genes into a host cell. A gene is placed in the vector; the vector then "infects" the bacterium. (EPA Glossary)

Vermicomposting – The process by which worms convert organic waste into worm castings – the dark, fertile, granular excrement of a worm. Castings are rich in plant nutrients. (On Farm Composting Handbook)

Volume Reduction - Processing waste materials to decrease the amount of space they occupy, usually by compacting, shredding, incineration, or composting. (EPA Glossary)

Volume Reduction Plant – Any location or structure, whether located on land or water, where more than two thousand pounds per hour of solid waste generated elsewhere may be reduced in volume, including but not limited to, resources recovery facilities and other incinerators, recycling facilities, pulverizers, compactors, shredders, balers and composting facilities. [Commonly referred to as volume reduction facilities or VRFs] (CGS Section 22a-207 (5))


Waste - 1. Unwanted materials left over from a manufacturing process. 2. Refuse from places of human or animal habitation. (EPA Glossary)

Waste Characterization - Identification of chemical and microbiological constituents of a waste material. (EPA Glossary)

Waste Exchange - Arrangement in which companies exchange their wastes for the benefit of both parties. See also Materials Exchange (EPA Glossary)

Waste Feed - The continuous or intermittent flow of wastes into an incinerator. (EPA Glossary)

Waste Generation - The weight or volume of materials and products that enter the waste stream before recycling, composting, landfilling, or combustion takes place. Also can represent the amount of waste generated by a given source or category of sources. (EPA Glossary)

Waste Management Project– Any solid waste disposal and resources recovery area, plant, works, system, facility or component of a facility, equipment, machinery or other element of a facility which the authority is authorized to plan, design, finance, construct, manage, operate or maintain under the provisions of this chapter, including real estate and improvements thereto and the extension or provision of utilities and other appurtenant facilities deemed necessary by the authority for the operation of a project or portion of a project, including all property rights, easements and interests required. (CGS Section 22a-260 (22))

Waste Minimization - Measures or techniques that reduce the amount of wastes generated during industrial production processes; term is also applied to recycling and other efforts to reduce the amount of waste going into the waste stream. See also Waste Reduction. (EPA Glossary)

Waste Stream - The total flow of solid waste from homes, businesses, institutions, and manufacturing plants that is recycled, burned, or disposed of in landfills, or segments thereof such as the "residential waste stream" or the "recyclable waste stream." (EPA Glossary)

Waste-to-Energy Facility/Municipal-Waste Combustor - Facility where recovered municipal solid waste is converted into a usable form of energy, usually via combustion. (EPA Glossary)

Waste Reduction - Reducing the amount of materials entering the waste stream from a specific source by redesigning products or patterns of production or consumption (e.g., using returnable beverage containers). Synonymous with Source Reduction. (EPA Glossary)

Windrow – A long, relatively narrow, and low (compost) pile. Windrows have a large exposed surface area which encourages passive aeration and drying. (On Farm Composting Handbook)

Wood Packaging - Wood products such as pallets, crates, and barrels. (EPA Glossary)


Yard Trimmings – Leaves, grass clippings, weeds, branches up to one (1") inch in diameter and prunings from yards or gardens. (RCSA Section 22a-208a-1 (36))


Zero Waste - Zero Waste is a goal that is both pragmatic and visionary, to guide people to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that may be a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health. (Zero Waste International Alliance)

Abbreviations & Acronyms

ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials

ADC – Alternative Daily Cover

BMP – Best Management Practice

CED – Covered Electronic Device

BPI – the Biodegradable Products Institute

BRRFOC/TROC – Bristol Resource Recovery Facility Operating Committee/Tunxis Recycling Operating Committee

CAA – Clean Air Act

CCM – CT Conference of Municipalities

CERCLA – Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act

CFL - Compact Fluorescent Lamp

CGS – Connecticut General Statutes

COST – Council of Small Towns

CRRA – CT Resources Recovery Authority

CT DEEP – Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

CRC – Connecticut Recyclers Coalition

DMMP – Dredged Material Management Plan

ECOS – Environmental Commissioners Organization of the States

ECRRA – Eastern CT Resources Recovery Authority

EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

EPP – Environmentally preferable purchasing

FOG – Fats, oils and grease

FR – Federal Register

HAP – Hazardous air pollutants

HDPE – High Density Polyethylene

HHW – Household Hazardous Waste

HRRA – Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority

IPC – Intermediate Processing Center

LEED – Leadership in Environmental Energy Design – A U.S. Green Building Council program that promotes "green building" initiatives and programs.

MACT – Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Air quality standards for RRFs)

MSW – Municipal Solid Waste

NAAQS – National Ambient Air Quality Standards

NRC – National Recycling Coalition

NEPSI – National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative

NERC – Northeast Recycling Coalition

NESHAP – National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants

NEWMOA – Northeast Waste Management Officials Association

NGO – Non-governmental organization

NOV – Notice of Violation

NPDES – National Pollution Discharge Elimination System

NSPS – New Source Performance Standards

NSR – New Source Review – A type of air quality permit required by new RRFs.

OCC – Old Corrugated Cardboard

OSW – Office of Solid Waste (Division of U.S. EPA)

PAWS – Passive Aerated Windrow System

PAYT – Pay-As-You-Throw

PET, PETE - Polyethylene Terephthalate

PP, P2 – Pollution Prevention

PSA – Public Service Announcement

PSD – Prevention of Significant Deterioration (Air Quality Standards)

PSI – Product Stewardship Initiative

PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride

RBRC – The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation

RCC - Resource Conservation Challenge

RCRA – Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

RCSA – Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies

RoHS – Regulations on Hazardous Substances

RRF – Resources Recovery Facility

SCRRRA – Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resource Recovery Authority

SMART - Save Money And Reduce Trash

SIP – State Implementation Plan

SQG - Small Quantity Generator

SWDA – Special Waste Disposal Authorization

TPY – Tons per Year

USEPA – United States Environmental Protection Agency

VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds

VRF – Volume Reduction Facility

VSQHWG – Very Small Quantity Hazardous Waste Generator

WTE – Waste-to-Energy

Definition Sources

Content Last Updated February 5, 2014