Glossary of Green Terms

1. AdBlue

AdBlue is an additive used to reduce particulate emissions from commercial vehicles to ensure that they meet Euro 4 and 5 engine emission standards.
AdBlue basically treats the exhaust gas once it has left the engine through a process called SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction).
See also EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation).

2. Air Deflectors

Air deflectors are devices fitted to vehicles to deflect air flows while the vehicle is moving and create less drag.
The benefits are cost savings through less fuel usage and also reduced CO2 emissions.

3. Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic Digestion is a process that breaks down biodegradable materials, under controlled conditions and in the absence of oxygen, into a digestate, liquor and biogas.
The process particularly suits food processing wastes with several plants built near to food manufacturing facilities.
The biogas is often used to provide energy to heat both the Anaerobic Digestion and food manufacturing plants and provide them with electricity.
In many cases there is a surplus of electricity that can be sold to the grid.
Such plants are now becoming more common and more economically viable even for smaller scale food manufacturing plants.

4. Autoclave

An autoclave uses heat, steam and pressure to process waste and is particularly suited for waste that requires a high pathogen and virus kill.
The process softens and flattens plastics, removes labels, causes paper and cardboard to disintegrate and cleans metals and glass.
The main output is cellulose fibre that can be further treated through anaerobic digestion or composting.
The remaining waste stream can then be segregated for recycling.

5. Biodegradable Products

Biodegradable products are those made from natural materials that can be broken down by micro-organisms, heat and moisture.
Such materials include wood and paper.
These are seen as much more environmentally friendly than degradable products because they tend to break down over a shorter period.
See also Degradable Products.

6. Biodegradable Plastic

Biodegradable plastics are those which will degrade from the action of naturally occurring microrganisms such as bacteria or fungi. Biodegradability is determined by:
(a) Measuring the amount of CO2 produced over a certain time period by the biodegrading plastic (EN13432 requires 90% biodegradation within 90 days)
(b) Disintegration as measured by sieving the material to determine the biodegraded size and less than 10% should remain on a 2mm screen for most standards, and
(c) Eco toxicity as measured by having concentrations of heavy metals below set limits and by testing plant growth against controlled compost.
See also Bioplastics

7. Biodegredation

The process by which biodegradable products break down by enzymes produced by living organisms into micro-organisms.
Biodegredation may take place under aerobic or anaerobic conditions.

8. Biomass/Biofuel

A fuel derived from natural materials that range from trees to poultry litter. Such natural materials may require some form of processing to extract the biomass or biofuel.

9. Bioplastics

Bioplastics are a new generation of biodegradable and compostable plastics.
They are derived from renewable raw materials such as starch (eg corn, potato and tapioca), cellulose, soy protein and lactic acid.
They are non-hazardous in production and when discarded decompose back to carbon dioxide, water and bio-mass.
Corn-starch is currently the main raw material being used in the manufacture of bioplastic resins.
The two main corn starch derived resins which are being used in the production of compostable and biodegradable plastics are Mater-Bi and Ploy Lactic Acid (PLA).
These are certified for compostability under standards set by international organisations.
Other resins are coming into the market such as those derived from potato starch, soybean protein and cellulose.
Most are not certified for compostability though some are biodegradable.

10. Biopolymers

A class of long chain molecules found in living organisms or based on renewable resources such as starch, proteins and peptides.
All biopolymers are by their nature biodegradable.


BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. BRE Global, which started out in 1920 as a UK government agency, sets the BREEAM standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the measure used to describe a building's environmental performance.
Accredited inspectors assesses buildings against a set criteria and provides an overall score which will fall within a band and are given a Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent or Outstanding rating.

12. Buy Recycled Code

This is a scheme set up by Envirolink North West and is designed to help businesses to reduce their demand for virgin materials.
Members of the scheme submit details of their spend for analysis and in return receive benefits including certification and details of cost effective alternative supplies.

13. Carbon Capture

The process of removing CO2 from waste gases before they reach the atmosphere. Currently an experimental process.

14. Carbon Footprint

This is one measure of a company's environmental impact. It should be noted that, whilst new, organisations are using different definitions, standards are emerging. An example is the Greenhouse Gas Protocol that divides emissions into Scope 1 (Direct combustion), Scope 2 (Direct electricity usage) and Scope 3 (All indirect emissions).
Carbon footprints can be measured at company level, site level or even at product level.
Like for like comparison should help companies to identify opportunities for improvement.

15. Carbon Offset

The negating of unavoidable releases of CO2 by contributing to emission reducing projects such as wind farms or forestry.

16. Carbon Negative

See Carbon Neutral.

17. Carbon Neutral

A carbon neutral business is one that has zero carbon emissions.
A business may claim to be carbon neutral even where it has a carbon footprint.
For example it is possible to offset actual emissions through payment to offset schemes and claim a zero "net" carbon footprint.
On this measure a business that has made real reduction in carbon emissions may appear less "green" than one that has made no tangible reduction but simply paid an offset scheme.
So too it is possible for a business to purchase more offsets than required and in this way claim to be carbon negative.

18. Carbon Reduction Commitment

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a new, mandatory UK energy saving and carbon emissions reduction scheme starting in April 2010.
The scheme is central to the UK’s Climate Change strategy and focuses business on improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.
The scheme applies to both the public and private sector.
There are two categories of participant that are required to register under the scheme:
a) Full Participants (estimated 5,000 organisations) Organisations that during 2008 had one or more half hourly electricity meter (HHM) and the total (inclusive) half hourly electricity supplied through those meters was 6,000 Megawatt hours (MWh) or greater
b) Information Disclosure Participants (estimated 20,000 organisations)
Organisations that during 2008 had one or more HHM but consumed less than 6,000 MWh for the whole year.
Full participants will have to purchase and trade annual “carbon’ allowances”, with the most efficient and pro-active companies reducing their allowance purchases year on year and also benefitting from relative increases in base recycle payments and increasing Performance League Table bonuses.
On the other hand, poor performing businesses may need to purchase increasing allowances and will be financially penalised by the Performance League Table mechanism.

19. Carbon Tax

The concept of taxing fossil fuels according to how much CO2 they release to try and reduce usage as well as raising revenue.

20. Carbon Trading

A financial device for reducing emissions.
Companies are issued with Carbon Credits according to their emission levels.
If a firm exceeds its emission limits, it must buy more credits; If it emits less it can sell the surplus credits.
The scheme relies on credits being in short supply so the price rises, giving firms a financial incentive to cut emissions.

21. Climate Change

The set of changes in climate associated with global warming.
These include rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, loss of species and forests and a rise in infectious diseases such as malaria and cholera.
The general scientific consensus is that current levels of global warming are being caused by our high levels of greenhouse gas emissions and that a significant reduction in such emissions is required to minimise the impact of climate change.
See Global Warming

22. Closed Loop

Recycling The concept of a supplier or manufacturer collecting recyclable goods from their customers and recycling those goods to make new products.
One example may be the collection of used recyclable carrier bags to produce new carrier bags or other plastic products.

23. Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment

Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR) is an ECR improvement concept whereby all participants in the supply chain jointly manage planning and forecasting processes and share the necessary information.

24. Commercial Vehicle Routing Software

Most often know as CVRS, it is a computer programme that allocates required deliveries and collections to vehicles in order to utilise vehicle capacity and minimise travel times and distances.
In general, significant savings have been achieved in terms of reduced mileage and reduced driver hours through the implementation of such systems.

25. Composting

This natural process is the biological degradation of organic materials such as garden and kitchen waste in the presence of oxygen which produces gas and a nutrient-rich material suitable for use as fertilizer.
All compostable items are by their nature also biodegradable.
Composting occurs in nature every day as fallen leaves biodegrade.

26. Compostable

The Compostable logo was developed by European Bioplastics.
Note that this does not necessarily mean that the material is home-compostable.
Materials with the logo may only be compostable as a result of industrial composting which ordinarily takes place at higher temperatures than home-composting.
A home composting logo is currently under development that may be a derivation of the seedling logo.

27. Compostable

Plastic Compostable plastic is plastic which is capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site as part of an available programme, such that the plastic is not visually distinguishable and breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with know compostable materials (such as cellulose) and leaves no toxic residue.
In order to be called compostable three criteria must be met:
a) Biodegrade (breaks down into carbon-dioxide, water, and bio-mass) at the same rate as cellulose (paper)
b) Disintegrate (The material being indistinguishable in the compost, is not visible and does not need to be screened out) and
c) Eco-Toxicity (The bio-degradation does not produce any toxic materials and the compost can support plant growth).
The European standard for compostable plastics is EN-13432.
It is worth noting that local council recycling schemes do not currently allow petroleum-based polymers to be introduced into the "Compostable Waste Stream".


Compressed and Vacuum Packed.
A system used to reduce the cubic size of a product enabling more to be stored in a given space such as a container.
Such a system was developed particularly for imported good with the cost benefit of a significant reduction in the number of required import containers.
Other benefits can include the ability to store more goods in a given area and a reduced transport requirement.

29. Congestion Charging

A scheme set up in several major cities to charge drivers for entering a predetermined zone.
The objective is ordinarily to reduce traffic although some may claim such schemes have been established to generate revenue.

30. Congestion Zone

See Congestion Charging

31. Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility has several differing definitions.
The European Commission appear to have two overlapping definitions namely “A concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment” and "A concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interactions with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis".
There are typically six elements: Community, Environment, Ethics & Principles, Human Rights, Marketplace and Workforce.

32. Courtauld Commitment

The Courtauld Agreement is a formal agreement between WRAP and the major grocery organisations.
Under this agreement WRAP together with retailers, brand owners, manufacturers and their packaging suppliers work together to develop solutions across the whole supply chain.
These solutions are aimed at producing innovative packaging formats, reducing the weight of packaging, increasing the use of refill and self-dispensing systems, collaborating on packaging design guidance and increasing the amount of recycled content packaging used.
The aim is to significantly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

33. CPFR

See Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment

34. Cradle to Cradle

See also Life Cycle Assessment.
A method of describing the environmental impact of a product, process or activity on the basis of an inventory of environmental factors from the extraction of raw materials until their final disposal.
Environmental factors include the consumption of raw materials and energy and emissions to air and water as well as solid waste generation.
The Cradle to Grave view took final disposal as the point at which the product was disposed of (ie. before it is converted into a raw material or new product).
The Cradle to Cradle approach includes the impact of conversion of the old product into a raw material or new product in calculating the overall environmental impact.

35. Cradle to Grave

See Cradle to Cradle

36. CRC

See Carbon Reduction Commitment

37. CSR

See Corporate Social Responsibility.

38. CVRS

See Commercial Vehicle Routing Software.


The UK Government Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

40. Degradable Additive

A material added during the manufacturing process that can catalyse or accelerate the breakdown of the product structure over a shorter period.
Examples include additives to accelerate the degrading of plastic carrier bags.
Such additives may add to the cost of the manufactured product.

41. Degradable Plastic

Plastic which will undergo a significant change in its chemical structure under specific environmental conditions resulting in the loss of some properties.
Note that there is no requirement for the plastic to degrade from the action of naturally occurring micro-organisms or any of the other criteria required for compostable plastics.

42. Degradable Products

Degradable products are those that break down over a period of time into smaller and ideally microscopic pieces.
Decomposition is normally a process that takes several years.
The process is slowed where the degradable product is held in an oxygen-poor environment.
All bio-degradable products are degradable but not all degradable products are biodegradable.
Degradable products may require some form of chemical or industrial process to initiate or actually break down the product.
One way of making polythene degradable is to add starch to the polymer whereby micro-organisms attack the starch and this makes the plastic split into smaller fragments.

43. Design for Environment

See Eco-Design

44. Direct Greenhouse Gases

See Greenhouse Gases

45. Disposition

Disposition of waste is another term for controlled tipping of waste to authorised landfill sites.
This method of waste handling should be the method of last resort and only such waste as is not suitable for material recovery, incineration or composting should be deposited as landfill.

46. Eco-Design

Design with the objective of minimising environmental impact during a product's lifetime.
All aspects of use and production may be examined for improvement, including the sourcing of raw materials, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal.

47. Eco Efficiency

As defined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and UN Environment Programme, 1998:
"Eco-efficiency is reached by the delivery of competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resource intensity throughout the life-cycle, to a level at least in line with the earth's estimated carrying capacity."

48. Eco-Labelling

The labelling of consumer products such as fridges, freezers, dish-washers and washing machines to indicate their environmental impact by recognisable measures or conformance to a minimum standard to enable comparison.
There are several such schemes including the European Eco-Label and Smartway.

49. Eco-Management & Audit Scheme

EMAS was established in response to a Regulation from the European Commission in 1993.
It is a voluntary scheme that requires organisations to formulate environmental policies, programmes and management systems to pursue continuous environmental improvements.
Regular environmental audits must be undertaken and used as the basis for company environmental reports.
The scheme also requires validation by an accredited verifier.

50. ECR

See Efficient Consumer Response

51. Efficient Consumer Response

Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) Europe was first launched in 1994 and is a joint trade and industry body aimed at making the grocery sector more responsive to consumer demand and to promote the removal of unnecessary costs from the supply chain.
ECR has facilitated the development of collaboration between manufacturers and retailers and logistics companies.
Although the initial focus has been on serving consumers better, faster and at less cost, recent focus has also included CO2 reduction.
Significant savings have been achieved in both costs and CO2 emissions.

52. EGR Exhaust Gas Recirculation

This is one method in use to reduce harmful engine emissions. EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) cools the exhaust gas from an engine and feeds it back into the air intake.
Future Euro Engine standards may require a combination of EGR and SCR technology.

53. EIA

See Environmental Impact Assessment

54. EMAS

See Eco-Management and Audit System

55. EMS

See Environmental Management System

56. Energy Efficient

A product that consumes less energy in use, or allows more energy to be saved elsewhere, than similar products.

57. Energy Performance Certificate

Following the EU Energy Performance of Building Directive published in 2003, England and Wales saw the introduction of The Energy of Buildings (certificates and Inspections) Regulations 2007. Similar schemes will apply in Scotland and Wales. From April 2008 largest commercial properties (50 square metres or more) will require an EPC when they are under construction, sold or rented out. These certificates are planned to ensure businesses have the necessary information on the energy efficiency of the building. An EPC will include an energy rating ranging from A+ (carbon passive) to G (least efficient).

58. Environmental Accounting

Management accounting practices that enable the incorporation of environmental costs and benefit information into business decisions.

59. Environmental Aspect

An element of an organisation's activities, products or services that can interact with the environment.

60. Environmental Audit

There are several definitions including that of the CBI in 1990:
"The systematic examination of the interaction between any business operation and its surrounding.
This includes all emissions to air, land and water legal constraints; the effects on the neighbouring community, landscape and ecology; and the public's perception of the operating company in the local area".
An alternative definition is that of the Council of European Communities in 1993: “A management tool comprising a systematic, documented, periodic and objective evaluation of the performance of the organisation, management system and processes designed to protect the environment with the aim of:
(1) facilitating management control of practices which may have impact on the environment, and
(2) assessing compliance with company policies."

61. Environmental Impact Assessment

The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines an environmental impact assessment as "the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made."
As such an environmental impact assessment is an assessment of the possible impacts, both positive and negative, that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the natural, social and economic aspects. The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider the ensuing environmental impacts to decide whether to proceed with the project.

62. Environmental Policy

An environmental policy is a written statement outlining an organisation’s mission and is driving force behind the objectives, targets and management programme of your EMS.
The policy:
a) States the company's aims and objectives and forms the basis for its EMS
b) Should be endorsed and actively supported by senior management and accepted by all staff
c) Allows management to communicate its aims and objectives to employees and other interested parties, including shareholders, customers and suppliers
d) Should be an integral part of the business’s strategy
In the UK environmental policy are voluntary undertaking and the structure and content are not regulated under UK legislation.
However a written policy is a basic requirement for organisations intending to obtain certification such as ISO14001 and EMAS.

63. EPC

See Energy Performance Certificate

64. European Eco-Label

The European Eco-Label scheme is administered in the UK by Defra on behalf of the EU.
The "Flower" symbol is the premier award for the production of ecological products. The regulation states that the label "..may not be awarded to substances or preparations classified as very toxic, toxic, dangerous to the environment, toxic for reproductions or mutenogenic".
So too the products are not to be manufactured by processes that are likely to significantly harm people or the environment, or that in their normal application can be harmful to the consumer.
Eco-labelling is voluntary and based on criteria found in Life Cycle Analysis.

65. EU Emission Trading Scheme

The EU Emission Trading Scheme is an integral part of EU climate policy and intended to reduce overall CO2 emissions.
Under the scheme large emitters are required to monitor and annually report their CO2 emissions.
The aim is to reduce total emissions by penalising those organisations that have not met their target obligations and reward those who have.
Companies who have reduced their emissions are able to sell their certificates whilst those that have not are forced to buy certificates.
The scheme also includes a ratchet mechanism to annually lower total emissions. The current scheme is due for renewal in 2013.

66. Euro Engine

Commercial vehicles are seen as a major environmental producer of Nitrous Oxide (NOx) and particulates.
As a result European Regulations on allowable emission limits were introduced for all newly registered goods vehicles.
These emission limits have been steadily reduced with the latest version known as "Euro 4" applying to all new goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes registered after 1 Oct 2006.
These emission limits will be further reduced from Oct 2009 with the introduction of "Euro 5".
A "Euro 6" standard is already under development.

67. Factory Waste

This is primarily waste generated from production processes. Examples include unused extruded film and waste cut outs during the conversion of plastic bags.
Some of this material may be recovered through a closed loop system and reused. The remainder (Net Factory Waste) may require converting for re-use. Unlike PCW (Post-Consumer Waste) the sources of Factory Waste and segregation of different materials are ordinarily an integral part of the manufacturing process. (See also Pre-Consumer Waste).

68. FISS

FISS stands for the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy and was developed by a committee set up by DEFRA that includes food retailers, suppliers and distributors. The purpose of FISS is to identify areas within the food industry where improvements can be made towards more sustainable distribution.
The FISS committee has developed working principles to ensure "change that lands":
(a) "Facts not emotions"
(b) "Working with the grain"
(c) "Front foot not back foot"
(d) “Fish where the big fish swim"?
(e) “Keep it real"

The FISS committee also identified six specific areas within transport which it considers have the most opportunity for environmental savings.
These are:
(a) Greater capacity vehicles
(b) Improved engine efficiency
(c) Transport collaboration
(d) Telematics and CVRS technology
(e) Logistics systems redesign
(f) Out of hours deliveries.

69. Fluidised Bed Combustion

There are two main types of fluidised bed combustor namely Bubbling Fluidised Beds (BFB) and Circulating Fluidised Beds (CFB).
Basically a bed of sand or similar inert material is fluidised by air jets and heated to high temperatures than will combust waste materials.
Both BFB and CFB methods require the prior removal of heavy and inert objects and non-ferrous metals.
It is worth noting that CFB is claimed to handle wider types of waste and produce less NOx emissions that BFB.

70. Food Industry Sustainability Strategy


71. Forest Stewardship Council

FSC certified forests and managed to ensure long term timber supplies while protecting the environment and the lives of forest-dependent people.
A system of chain of custody certificates traces products through the supply chain to the consumer.
The FSC logo is a registered trademark and can only be used for certified products.

72. Freight Best Practice

An established programme run by the Department for Transport aimed at achieving greater levels of safety and reduced fuel consumption.
Freight Best practice is aimed at vehicles over 3.5 tonne GVW as is free to all UK users. See also Van Best Practice.

73. Freight Exchanges

See On-Line Freight Exchanges

74. FTSE 4 Good

The Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) top 100 companies are, on joining the largest 100 companies by market value, members of the FTSE4Good Index. Companies that fail to meet the set criteria are removed from the FTSE4Good Index.
The Index measures a number of criteria including Corporate Social Responsibility and is important as a factor in determining investment decisions and as such may impact on the share price and share trading activity.

75. Gasification

Gasification is a process that treats raw materials at a high temperature with controlled amounts of oxygen or air and steam. The result is a gas mixture called synthesis gas (syngas) that can be used as a fuel and a char which usually requires disposal.
The potential advantages of gasification are that syngas may be more efficient that direct combustion of the original waste and that it produces less waste material that Pyrolysis.

76. Global Warming

The increase in mean surface temperatures.
The term is often used interchangeably with 'climate change' but climate change is actually the impact of global warming.

77. Greenhouse Effect

See Greenhouse Gases.

78. Greenhouse Gases

The Kyoto Protocol recognises 6 direct greenhouse gases and 4 indirect ones. The 6 direct GHGs are Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) Nitrous Oxide (N2O) , Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6). The 4 indirect GHGs are Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOCs) and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2). Greenhouse Gases are important because they Some gases can absorb infrared radiation and retain it in the atmosphere.
CO2 is the best known but other greenhouse gases include water vapour, methane, nitrous oxide and a variety of hydrofluorocarbons.
Rather like the glass in a greenhouse prevents heat loss, these gases prevent the sun’s rays from passing back through the earth's atmosphere and out into space. The result is to further heating of the earth's surface and Global Warming.

79. Green Design

An approach that seeks to improve a product's ecological quality, by reducing its negative impact on the environment throughout its lifecycle. It involves taking account of the environment during a product's design or improvement phase. This is a progressive process, which is part of a continuous, cyclical improvement approach.

80. Green Dot

The Green Dot symbol is used on packaging in many European countries. The symbol signifies that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recycling of packaging within those countries through a Green Dot Scheme.

81. Greenhouse Effect

The trapping of the sun's heat in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases. The consensus view is that the impact of human behaviour is altering the delicate balance that has been kept the earth's weather systems relatively stable, so leading to climate change.

82. Greenhouse Gas Protocol

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol divides the measurement of carbon footprint measurement into three specific categories which are termed scopes.
Scope 1 covers all direct emissions resulting from combustion. Examples include gas used to heat buildings, diesel to operate an in-house commercial fleet and petrol for company cars when used on company business.
Scope 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol covers all direct electricity use. Examples include electricity used to light and heat warehouses and offices.
Scope 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol covers all other activities that a business undertakes that impact on overall carbon emissions.
These indirect activities include:
(a) Business travel by air, train or bus
(b) Collections made by third-party parcel or pallet carriers
(c) The proportion of a supplier's or manufacturer's own carbon footprint that relates to goods and services supplied to the business.
Scope 3 may in future be divided into specific agreed categories.

83. Green Supply Chain

An approach that seeks to minimise a product or service's ecological footprint.

84. Grey Water Reclamation

The re-use of water from sinks, showers and vehicle washes for other activities such as flushing toilets.
This reduces the amount of clean water used both saving costs (for metered water) and reducing indirect carbon emissions.
See also Rainwater Harvesting.

85. Hazardous Waste

Under UK law certain types of waste material are designated hazardous.
Although all substances can be potentially hazardous, it is the particular characteristics of the substance or product or the circumstances in which it is used that renders it hazardous.
Hazardous waste is therefore subject to much more stringent and regulated disposal or reprocessing methods.

86. Hybrid Vehicle

A vehicle that is powered by both a conventional combustion engine and electric batteries.
Such vehicles require less fuel usage and are therefore seen as more environmentally friendly.

87. Incineration

The burning of waste at high temperatures to generate energy (technically a form of waste recovery) and to reduce the weight and volume of material sent to landfill. Incinerators are seen as less environmentally friendly than the recovery and recycling of waste material due to the amount of smoke, gases and ash they generate.

88. Indirect Greenhouse Gases

See Greenhouse Gases

89. Industrial Waste

Waste from any factory or any premises occupied by industry (excluding mines and quarries) as defined in Schedule 3 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992.

90. Integrated Pollution & Prevention Control

A control system that follows EU Directive (96/91) on integrated pollution prevention which aims to minimise the environmental impacts of a range of industries. In the UK the requirements of the EC Directive are being implemented under a system called Pollution Prevention Control (PPC).
The main aim of IPPC is to achieve a high level of protection of the environment taken as a whole by, in particular, preventing or where that is not practicable, reducing emissions into the air, water and land.

91. In-Vessel Composting

In-Vessel composting is an industrial composting process that utilises metal tanks or concrete bunkers to control both air flow and temperature.

92. IPPC

See Integrated Pollution & Prevention Control

93. ISO14001

ISO14000 is an international standard which specifies a management system to control the environmental issues surrounding a business.
The system requires the organisation to:
a) Produce an environmental policy,
b) Identify its major environmental effects and all environmental legislation applicable to the organisation
c) Produce a series of environmental objectives and targets, and a management programme for achieving these.
See Life Cycle Assessment.

94. I-VC

See In-Vessel Composting

95. Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted by consensus at the third Conference of Parties (COP3) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Kyoto in 1997. Under the protocol countries are legally bound to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 2012.
The targets vary between countries with developing nations set less onerous targets than developed countries.
It is worth noting that the USA is not a signatory to the protocol and that the protocol is due to expire in 2012.
Negotiations regarding a replacement were took place in Copenhagen in 2009 but without a clear result.

96. Landfill Site

A licensed facility used to bury waste materials. There are currently over 1,500 licensed sites in the UK.

97. Landfill Tax

In general operators of landfill sites are liable for tax on all waste deposited. There are certain exceptions for controlled and exempt categories of waste.
This tonnage based tax is passed onto waste collection companies who in turn pass them onto their business customers.
Landfill tax has been subject to above inflation increases.
It has been described as a popular tax in so far as increases are seen not so much as increasing revenue but in reducing landfill activity.
As such further above inflation increases can be expected.

98. LCA

See Life Cycle Assessment

99. LCI

Life Cycle Inventory - see Life Cycle Assessment

100. Life Cycle Analysis

See Life Cycle Assessment

101. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

A technique by which the environmental impacts of a material, process or product are identified and systematically assessed over its entire life-cycle.
The ISO (International Standards Organisation) divides LCA into four phases:
a) General guidelines and principles and scope of a LCA are described in ISO 14040- 14041
b) Inventory and material/energy analysis in ISO14041
c) Environmental impact assessment in ISO 14042 and
d) Interpretation of results in ISO14043
The main object of a LCA is to create a basis for environmental improvement so that decisions made lead to minimal environmental impact.
Other terms used include: cradle to grave or cradle to cradle analysis, eco-balance, resource analysis and environmental profile.
Note that an LCA differs from an LCI (Life Cycle Inventory) in that an LCI is limited to identification of inflows and outflows, collection of data and calculations of raw material and energy consumption and emissions.
An LCA goes further in making an assessment of the effects on the environment.

102. London Low Emission Zone

The London Low Emission Zone is a scheme established in London in 2008 to charge vehicle drivers for using vehicles with engine emissions that are greater than 120 mg.

103. Materials Recovery Facility

A plant or facility that receives waste, segregates it by various material types and prepares recyclable waste for reuse.
MRFs may be separated into two types namely those dealing with "clean" waste such as uncontaminated cardboard and those dealing with "dirty" waste.
Clean MRF facilities accept recyclable solid waste materials that have undertaken some segregation at source; it is usually generated from either residential or commercial sources.
Dirty MRF facilities accept mixed waste that requires a greater degree of segregation through manual or mechanical sortation.

104. MBT

See Mechanical Biological Treatment System

105. Mechanical Biological Treatment System

A waste processing facility or plant that combines a sorting facility with a form of biological treatment such as anaerobic digestion or composting.

106. Mechanical Heat Treatment

A waste processing facility or plant that combines a sorting facility with a form of biological treatment such as anaerobic digestion or composting.

107. MHT

See Mechanical Heat Treatment

108. Microgeneration

Small scale generation of energy.
Examples include solar panels and domestic wind turbines.

109. Mobius Loop

An internationally recognised symbol used to indicate that an object is capable of being recycled - not that it has been recycled.

110. Mobius Loop Percentage

The percentage shown in a Mobius Loop is the percentage of recycled material contained within that product.
The Mobius Loop indicates that the product is capable of being recycled.
The recycled material within the product is therefore capable of being recycled again.

111. MRF

See Materials Recovery Facility

112. On-Line Freight Exchanges

On-Line Freight Exchanges enables those requiring the collection or delivery of to access hauliers looking for consignments to transport.
The advantage for shippers can be lower costs and for hauliers increased revenue and the filling of both the outbound and return legs of a journey.
The environmental advantage is that surplus vehicle capacity is utilised with much less empty miles being incurred.
There are several such exchanges with some requiring some form of vetting and agreement to a code of conduct whilst others a much less restrictive.
Some exchanges specialise in parcels or pallets size deliveries and others on full vehicles loads either at a regional, UK or pan-European level.

113. Oscillating Kiln Combustion

Rotary and Oscillating Kilns are widely used outside of the UK. Both systems involve the use of a kiln and a secondary combustion chamber. The rotating action moves the waste through a kiln and the tumbling action exposes the waste to heat and oxygen.
The process is regarded as less efficient than Fluidised Bed Combustion.

114. P3

See Polluter Pays Principle.

115. PCW

See Post Consumer Waste.

116. Packaging Waste Regulations

In 1997 the Producer Responsibility Packaging Waste (Shared User Responsibilities) Regulations were introduced in response to European Directives. The Regulations place obligations on all parts of the supply chain to recover and recycle packaging materials.
Companies are required to submit data on an annual basis either directly to the Environment Agency or indirectly through a compliance scheme such as Valpak and Wastepak.
Data includes details of packaging "handled" and that recovered/recycled as validated by PRNs.
Failure to comply is a criminal and cases may be heard in the High Court; several UK companies have incurred sizeable fines for non-compliance.

117. PAS 2050

PAS 2050 is a Publicly Available Specification co-sponsored by the BSI (British Standards Institute) and the Carbon Trust.
It provides a standard for assessing the impact of Greenhouse Gases for products during their life-cycle.
PASs are often the first stage of development leading to agreed EN (European) or (International) ISO standards.

118. Photo-Biodegradable

Product having the capacity to be broken down by exposure to UV light.

119. Plasma Arc Treatment

Plasma arc is a waste treatment process that uses an electrical arc gasifier to create electrical energy and high temperatures.
Electricity is passed between electrodes to create an electrical arc. The nearby temperature can reach almost 4000oC and is able to break down most types of waste to a gaseous form.
Depending on the input waste, gas can be removed as Syngas.

120. Plastic

Plastic is not just one material.
Plastic is made from polymers and additives; a polymer consists of many small molecules joined together.
Depending on the chemistry of the molecules and the way they are joined together, the polymers can have very different properties.
Fillers, stabilisers and softeners may also be required to make the polymer suitable for practical use.
The most common types used in packaging are: PE (Polyethylene), PET (Poly Ethylene Terephthalate), PA (Polyamide), PC (Polycarbonate), PP (Polypropylene), PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and PS (Polystyrene).
Note that a plastic may be (a) degradable but not bio-degradable, (b) bio-degradable but not compostable, or (c) compostable.

121. Polluter Pays Principle

This is the basic principle that the producer responsible for pollution should meet the cost of making good or preventing the damage to the environment.

122. Pollution Prevention & Control

A system following the European Community Directive (96/91) PPC implements the UK the requirements of the EC Directive (96/91).
The PPC regime replaced the existing legislation under Part 1 of the Environment Protection Act 1990.
The main objective is to achieve a high level of protection of the environment taken as a whole by, in particular, preventing or where that is not practicable, reducing emissions into the air, water and land.

123. Post Consumer Waste

Material or products used by the consumer for its original purpose and then discarded. Examples include bottles, food wrappers and newspapers. See also preconsumer waste.

124. PPC

See Pollution Prevention and Control.

125. Pre-consumer waste

Manufacturing waste or material that does not reach the end consumer as a useful product but is instead discarded during the manufacturing or processing operation. This also includes waste or material that cannot be directly fed back to that operation without further processing. This is also known as process waste and includes any scraps, trimmings and overruns.

126. PRN

Packaging Recycling Notes.
See Packaging Waste Regulations.

127. Process waste

Another term for pre-consumer waste (PCC).

128. Prodegradant

An additive used to promote degradation in a material.

129. Producer Responsibility

The principle that places responsibility for the environmental impact associated with a product onto the producers of that product.
Producer Responsibility is intended to address environmental problems from initial minimisation of resource use, through extended product life span, to recovery and recycling of products once they have been disposed of as waste.
The EC has applied producer responsibility to packaging, vehicles and electrical/ electronic products and batteries with other products likely to follow in the future.

130. Product Stewardship

Assessment of the risks associated with products, and seeking to ensure these risks are properly managed throughout the supply chain through stewardship programmes involving customers, suppliers and distributors.

131. Product Take Back

Activities to obtain use products from industrial customers or consumers, and then recycle or reuse these products.

132. Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is a waste treatment process that breaks down organic materials under pressure and in the absence of oxygen.
The process is most effective for processing pre-sorted carbon-rich waste materials such as sewerage and agricultural waste.
The process produces a gas that can be combusted to produce electricity as well as both liquid and solid residues that may require additional processing.
See also Gasification.

133. Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

QFD is a helpful quality planning tool, which is used to identify the outputs required by customers, and then trace these outputs to causal inputs which can be controlled by the organisation.
This will typically include product design and manufacturing process characteristics. As such, QFD can be used to identify which manufacturing process characteristics are key drivers of product and service quality for the customer.

134. Rain Forest Alliance

An organisation based in the USA that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour.
Only those farms and forestry enterprises that meet assessed criteria receive the Rainforest Certification Seal.
The comprehensive criteria include strict guidelines protecting the environment, wildlife, workers and local communities.

135. Rain Water Harvesting

The collecting and use of rainwater for activities such as flushing toilets. As with Grey Water Reclamation, this reduces the amount of clean water used both saving costs (for metered water) and reducing indirect carbon emissions.

136. Recovery

Process of obtaining a valuable resource from a potential waste material.

137. Recyclable Product

See also Mobius Loop.
Product that is capable of being recycled to produce another product.

138. Recycled Product

The finished product contains an element of recycled material sourced from either post consumer or production waste.

139. Recycled Access Symbols

A new set of on pack symbols being launched in the UK.
There are three symbols:
(a) "Widely recycled" means that 65% of people have local access to recycling collection facilities for these items
(b) "Check Locally" means that between 15% and 65% of people have local access to recycling collection facilities for these items
(c) "Not recycled" means that less than 15% of people have access to recycling facilities for these items.
Although materials may be recycled the lack of local infrastructure may negate the opportunity for recovery and recycling.

140. Regenerative braking

A regenerative brake is an energy recovery mechanism that reduces vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic energy into a useful form of energy instead of dissipating it as heat as with a conventional brake.
The converted kinetic energy is stored for future use or fed back into a power system for use by other vehicles.
Electrical regenerative brakes either feed the generated electricity back into the supply system or as n the case of battery electric and hybrid electric vehicles the energy is stored in a battery or bank of capacitors for later use.
Energy may also be stored by compressing air or by a rotating flywheel.

141. Renewable Energy

Energy obtained from sources that will not run out, unlike oil and coal. Examples include energy from wood, wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and waste sources.

142. Renewable Product

The finished product is manufactured from a naturally occurring raw material that will be replenished through normal ecological cycles.
Examples include paper, soft woods and corn.

143. Repairable Item

An inventory item that is not normally consumed in use but one which will be repaired and re-used as part of the normal stock policy for that item. Such items have a repair lead-time as well as a procurement lead-time.

144. Repairable Period

The Repairable Period is the total out of service time, including transit time, from when a repairable component becomes unfit for use until the time it is returned to stock and is available for further use.

145. Resource Depletion

The period reserves are expected to last at current consumption rates, calculated by dividing the mass of each resource flow by the static reserve life.

146. Reverse Logistics

The requirement to plan the flow of surplus or unwanted material or equipment back through the supply chain after meeting customer demand.
The purpose of reverse logistics is to ensure that products/materials are returned from the user to the producer in order to be recycled, reused or reconditioned.
In traditional logistics, flows are defined unidirectionally whereas in reverse logistics the chain is covered in the opposite direction.

147. Reprocessing

The treatment of recyclable or compostable materials to produce secondary materials that can either be used as a material to produce new products or as a fuel to generate energy.

148. Risk Assessment

The qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation performed in an effort to define the risk posed to human health and /or the environment by a specified activity or process.
A risk assessment is a response to the following key questions:
(1) What can go wrong?
(2) How likely is it to occur?
(3) What are the consequences?

149. Rotary Kiln Combustion

See Oscillating Kiln Combustion

150. SAFED

Safe and Efficient Driving. A UK recognised driver training scheme aimed at reducing accidents and reducing fuel consumption.

151. Scopes 1,2 and 3

Scopes 1, 2 and 3 are used to help identify and measure the direct and indirect Greenhouse Gas emissions of an organisation.
For more details see Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

152. SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction)

See AdBlue.

153. SmartWay

Established in 2004 by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Smartway is an accreditation scheme for products and services that have reduced transport related emissions.
The main difference from the UK Freight Best Practice and Van Best Practice Schemes is no such public authority accreditation is given in the UK and the UK focus is primarily on behavioural change.

154. Speed Limiters

These are devices that are fitted to vehicles and enable the maximum speed of a vehicle to be restricted.
These are commonly set for commercial vehicles for reasons of safety and fuel economy.

155. Sustainable Business

A sustainable business is one that has moved beyond compliance and risk mitigation to capture financial benefits from improving the social and environmental impact of business operations.
As defined by the Sustainability Forum:
Sustainable businesses enhance their long term competitive position by continually innovating their products, processes and business model to escape the conventional trade-offs between fuelling growth and minimising resource demands.

156. Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is the ability to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission 1987 definition).
In 1992 the UN Rio Summit added to this definition by stipulating that any development policy must incorporate economic, social and environmental components.

157. Sustainable Transport

Transport which generates less pollution while still meeting specific volume and cost performance targets

158. Sustainable Urbanism

Sustainable urbanism is a concept for the future development of urban areas.
Key facets of a sustainable urban environment include:
(a) Integrating transportation and land use
(b) Creating sustainable neighbourhoods, including energy efficient housing, car-free areas, and locally-owned and sourced stores
(c) Linking humans to nature including neighbourhoods suitable for walking and cycling with safe open public spaces that promote a health lifestyle
(d) Neighbourhood rain water re-use systems
(e) Locally generated heat and power through waste recovery

159. Teardrop trailers

A new design of trailer that is designed to reduce drag and improve vehicle aerodynamics.
The curved roof of such trailers resembles the wing of an aircraft.
The benefits are reduced fuel consumption and therefore lower carbon emissions.

160. Telematics

Telematics describes the process of long-distance transmission of computer-based information. In vehicles this specifically refers to the convergence of telecommunications and information processing and covers GPS navigation, integrated hands-free cell phones, wireless safety communications and automatic driving assistance systems.

161. Van Best Practice

A free programme to be launched in 2009 by the Department for Transport aimed at achieving greater levels of safety and reduced fuel consumption.
See also Freight Best Practice.

162. Waste Hierarchy

A model to rank waste options in order of sustainability. Reduce (Purchase less and use less), Reuse and Recycle.
Waste material should only be disposed of when these three options are not practical. Any materials that cannot be reduced, reused or recycled should ideally be replaced.

163. Waste Minimisation

Actions that reduce waste by preventing waste energy, materials and emissions at source.
Waste minimisation includes innovation within the production process. For example many glass bottles use less glass than they did ten years ago.
This means that less energy is used to make the bottles and less glass waste is produced when the bottles are thrown away.
So too, tin coating has become progressively thinner to the point where they represent less than 1% of the weight of a can.

164. Waste Recovery

Actions to reduce overall consumption by capturing and reusing waste energy, materials and emissions.
Examples include the segregation of waste cardboard and plastic for recycling rather than landfill and energy recovery through the use of heat exchangers.

165. Waste Reduction

See Waste Minimisation

166. WRAP

A not for profit organisation set up in 2001 and funded by DEFRA and devolved administrations.
WRAPs' specific objective is "Helping business and the public to reduce waste, to use more recycled materials and to recycle more things more often".

Please note:
(a) The above definitions have where possible been obtained from attributed sources and in good faith,
(b) This Glossary should not be used as the basis for any legal document or contract,
(c) Definitions are constantly evolving and some definitions may be superseded over time,
(d) This Glossary is not a complete list and will be updated based on user feedback
Please forward details of any errors found and/or terms that should be added to the Glossary to