Glossary



glossary

Automotive battery is used for the starting or ignition of the engine of a vehicle/ car, or for providing power for any lighting used by such a vehicle

Biodegradable items which decay and rot naturally into harmless substances through the action of the weather and living things. We often put biodegradable rubbish into compost heaps.

Business to business seller a company supplying packaging to another business who throws that packaging away. For example, a company that makes washing machine parts and sells them to a washing machine manufacturer.

Business to consumer seller a company supplying packaging to a customer (not a business) who throws that packaging away. For example, a supermarket selling goods to their customers.

Civic amenity site an area where members of the public can bring rubbish to be thrown away, recycled or reused. These are usually managed by local councils. Sometimes these are accompanied by a landfill site or tip.

Clinical waste rubbish from medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, and pharmaceutical industries. This type of rubbish is usually burnt to prevent germs spreading.

Combined heat and power (CHP) a CHP plant provides simultaneous generation of heat and power (usually electricity) in a single process.

Commercial waste rubbish from buildings, which are used mainly for trade, business, sport, recreation or entertainment. For example a school, a leisure centre or a supermarket.
Compliance scheme (packaging waste) an organisation that complies with the packaging waste regulations on behalf of its member companies. Valpak is the largest compliance scheme in the UK, representing over 3000 businesses.
Composting the process of breaking down organic rubbish, such as garden and kitchen rubbish, into a material which can be added to the garden to help plants grow.
Construction or demolition waste rubbish from the construction, repair, maintenance and demolition of buildings. It mainly includes bricks, concrete, soil and wood. For example, rubbish that is created when building a new road.

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Developed country a country that has reached a stage of economic development characterised by the growth of industrialisation. In developed countries, the amount of money made by the population (national income) is enough to pay for schools, hospitals and other services. Population growth in developed countries is usually slower than in developing countries (see below).
Developing country / third world country a country that has not reached the stage of economic development characterised by the growth of industrialisation. In developing countries, the amount of money made (national income) is less than the amount of money needed to pay for schools, hospitals and other services (domestic savings). Often these countries also have big populations, which are growing very fast. This means that there is very little money to build new factories and increase the national income. Developing countries find it hard to break this cycle of poverty.
Duty of Care the law which manages the movement and storage of rubbish from industry (not households). This means that everyone who moves rubbish around and stores it has to follow a set of rules. If they don't they could be punished.

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EC Directive EC stands for European Community, which is made up of the majority of the countries in Europe. Countries who are part of the EC have to follow its rules and laws, which means they all work together. An EC Directive is a type of law which is issued by the EC - all EC countries then have to put this into their own legal system. For example, the EC made a Directive that said all countries have to recycle a certain amount of packaging. The UK then put this into its own law called the Packaging Waste Regulations
Economic growth the growth in wealth of a nation. This is measured by an increase in the total value of goods produced by a country in a year (GDP), or by the amount of money made by the population (national income). An economy can grow without benefiting everyone in it. In the 1970s Brazil's economy grew at rates of around 10%, but at the end of that time the gap between rich and poor had widened. For this reason, economic growth is not always used to show that a country is developing. Many people also look at social indicators for example, increases in the number of hospitals or schools or the amount of births or deaths.
Emissions gases, solids and liquids discharged into the air, water or ground.
Energy recovery from waste (EfW) the burning of rubbish to produce energy (heat) which is used to generate electricity or to heat homes.
Environment Agency (EA) the 'environment police' for England and Wales. The EA look after the rivers, sea, beaches, air and soil to make sure they are clean and free from pollution. They make sure that the laws and rules that stop pollution are enforced, and have the power to take companies and individuals to court if they break these laws. Go to their website for further information www.environment-agency.gov.uk
Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) the 'environment police' for Northern Ireland - they have much the same responsibilities as the Environment Agency. Go to their website for further information www.ehsni.gov.uk

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Fly tipping rubbish which is dumped illegally by householders or businesses. This can be anything from old furniture to bags of rubbish or cars. Fly tipping is illegal and can carry a fine, or in some cases a more serious punishment.
Gravitropism is a turning or growth movement by a plant or fungus in response to gravity. Therefore the roots grow in the direction of gravitational pull (i.e., downward) and stems grow in the opposite direction (i.e., upwards).
Greenhouse gas a gas composed of molecules that absorb and reradiate infrared electromagnetic radiation. When present in the atmosphere, therefore, the gas contributes to the greenhouse effect (heating of the earth's atmosphere). The principal greenhouse gases are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and certain halocarbon compounds.
Hazardous waste the definition of hazardous waste in the UK has always been debated. Usually referred to as 'special waste', it has been controlled in the UK under the special waste regulations 1996. These were reviewed in 2001, because the definition of special waste failed to meet the requirements of the EC Directive on hazardous waste. Hazardous / special waste includes a wide range of rubbish, including things like asbestos, fridges, solvents, and radioactive waste. Businesses who need to dispose of hazardous waste must do so through a registered company, see also Duty of Care. Further information on hazardous waste can be found from the Environment Agency (England & Wales), SEPA (Scotland) or EHS (Northern Ireland).
Household waste this includes rubbish thrown in bins at home and collected by the local council. Also, litter collection and street sweepings, garden rubbish, rubbish from civic amenity sites and rubbish collected for recycling or composting
Incineration controlled burning of rubbish to make it smaller, kill germs or to get rid of harmful chemicals. See also energy from waste
Industrial battery a battery which is:
  • designed exclusively for industrial or professional uses;
  • used as a source of power for propulsion in an electric vehicle;
  • unsealed, but is not an automotive battery; or
  • sealed, but is not defined as a portable battery

Industrial waste rubbish from any buildings occupied by a factory or industry. For example a chocolate factory, a toy factory or a paint-making factory.
Industrialisation continued economic growth by spending money on manufacturing, usually through automating processes. At first, industrialisation was concentrated on factory production, and later spread to agriculture and services.

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Kerbside collection any regular collection of rubbish for recycling (also called recyclables). This may be from businesses or households. You may have a box for recyclables, which is collected each week from outside your house.
Landfill site usually a large hole in the ground, such as an old quarry or mine. Can also be an area where rubbish is piled above ground and covered, creating a hill, which will be covered in grass, a process known as landraising.
Materials reclamation facility (MRF) a place where materials for recycling are taken for sorting into material types before delivering to reprocessors (companies who recycle).
Minimisation see reduction

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Municipal rubbish this includes household rubbish, and any other rubbish collected by a waste collection authority, such as rubbish from parks, gardens, beaches, businesses, and industry. It also includes rubbish that is fly tipped
Packaging Conversion is the process where the raw material is transformed into the shaped packaging. (e.g.: from a sheet of steel to a baked bean tin)
Packaging Essential Requirements The Packaging Essential Requirements aim to minimise the amount of waste packaging generated at source and ensure that packaging can be reused, recovered or recycled
Packaging Technologist design, develop and select the appropriate packaging materials for a wide range of products. They need to develop packaging that contains, protects and preserves products
Packaging Waste Regulations the full name of this law is The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (as amended). The purpose of it is to reduce the amount of packaging which is thrown in rubbish tips, and increase the amount of packaging that is recycled and reused. Companies can do this themselves or register with a compliance scheme who will do this for them - Valpak is the largest compliance scheme in the UK.
Portable battery a battery which is sealed, can be carried by hand without difficulty, and is neither an automotive battery or industrial battery
Primary packaging any packaging that the customer will take home, remove and throw away e.g. aluminium can.
Packaging waste recovery note (PRN) a certificate given out by companies who recycle rubbish packaging (called reprocessors). Each certificate is material specific (e.g. paper) and records the number of tonnes which have been recycled; so you could have a paper PRN for 1 tonne or for 50,000 tonnes. Companies or compliance schemes that have to prove recycling is taking place under the Packaging Waste Regulations buy PRNs as evidence of recycling.
Producer responsibility this type of law is a way of making the people who make (produce) items e.g. manufacturers, which may become rubbish or pollution, responsible for it. The Packaging Waste Regulations are an example of producer responsibility law.

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Recovery refers to the packaging that is collected that can not be recycled, this packaging is incinerated and this leads to energy being produced through waste - also see energy from waste
Recycling the process of changing rubbish into either the same product or a different one. It involves some kind of industrial process. For example, using old plastic bottles to make new ones.
Reduction this involves using less materials so less rubbish is created. For example, many glass bottle makers now use less glass to make a bottle than they did 10 years ago. This means that less glass rubbish is created when we throw the bottles away.
Reprocessor a company who recycles materials, only 'accredited reprocessors' can issue PRNs. Contact your local Environment Agency (England and Wales), SEPA (Scotland), or EHS (Northern Ireland) for a full list of local accredited reprocessors.
Reuse the act of using an item more than once. For example, many supermarkets now have carrier bags which you can use over and over again, and some businesses deliver goods in reusable plastic crates.

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Secondary packaging any packaging that the retailer will throw away, usually before the product is displayed for sale e.g. cardboard box and plastic wrap.
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) the 'environment police' for Scotland - they have much the same responsibilities as the Environment Agency. Check out their website for further information www.sepa.org.uk
Sustainable development the idea behind this is that if we take care of the planet now, by saving resources and cutting down on rubbish, future generations will be able have the same standard of living as us.
Third World country see developing country
Transit packaging any packaging that is used to transport the products e.g. wooden pallets, shrink wrap, staples or plastic strapping.
Waste this is the same as 'rubbish'. It is a wide-ranging term, which includes most unwanted materials.
Waste collection authority the part of your local council which collects rubbish from your house.
Waste disposal authority the part of your local council that provides places to bury, burn or recycle your rubbish.
Waste transfer station a place where rubbish is delivered for sorting before it is buried, burnt or recycled.

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