Trash Goes To School
Waste Management Institute
- AEROBIC: Occurring or living in the
presence of oxygen.
- ANAEROBIC: Occurring or living without
- AQUIFER: A geologic formation from
which groundwater can be obtained.
- BAUXITE ORE: Mineral from which aluminum
- BIODEGRADABLE: The ability of a substance
to be changed into simpler, usually harmless, substances by the
action of microorganisms.
- BOTTOM ASH: Solid residual which remains
after burning. Found in the bottom of an incinerator.
- CARCINOGEN: A chemical or substance
capable of causing cancer.
- COMPOSTING: The process of collecting
organic materials such as lawn clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps
and manure to be layered so as to decompose into fertile humus.
When organic matter is broken down in an airtight container (without
air), it is called anaerobic composting. When the organic matter
is exposed to air, it is called aerobic composting.
- CONSERVATION: The preservation of
natural resources from loss or waste.
- CONTAMINANTS: Materials that pollute
and harm our environment.
- COST AVOIDANCE: Finding the least
expensive option for accomplishing a task. In the case of waste
disposal, recycling can be a cost avoidance measure if it saves
tipping fees at the landfill.
- CULLET: Ground or crushed glass.
- DECOMPOSITION: To process of breaking
down or rotting.
- DIOXIN: A toxic chemical which may
be formed from processes such as bleaching paper or burning certain
- DUMP: Now illegal, dumps were open
unsanitary disposal sites used prior to sanitary landfills. (Verb)
To throw away garbage or solid waste in a place set apart for
- ECOLOGY: The scientific study of the
relation of living things to one another and to their environment.
A scientist who studies these relationships is called an "ecologist".
- ECOSYSTEM: A system made up of a community
of living things and the physical and chemical environment with
which they interact.
- EFFLUENT: Liquid discharged as waste,
such as water used in an industrial process, or treated sewage.
- EMISSIONS: Effluents such as those
resulting from the combustion of a fuel.
- ENERGY RECOVERY FACLITY: A resource
recovery plant which generates energy by burning solid waste.
- ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COUNCIL (EMC):
A group of citizens that advises and raises concerns for decision-makers
about environmental issues.
- FEASIBILITY STUDY: An assessment of
whether a project is capable of being completed, both physically
- FINITE RESOURCE: A resource that exists
in a measurable amount and is nonrenewable (once it is used up,
it is gone forever).
- FERROUS METAL: Iron-based metal. You
can tell if a metal is iron by using a magnet.
- FIXED COSTS: Costs that are unrelated
to the volume of business conducted.
- FLY ASH: Small solid particles of
ash and soot generated when coal, oil, or waste materials are
- GARBAGE: Solid waste, anything that
we no longer want or use.
- GROUNDWATER: Water which is in the
spaces between soil particles or cracks in rocks under the ground.
- HARDNESS: A characteristic of water,
caused by salts of calcium, magnesium, and iron.
- HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL: A chemical that
is dangerous to handle or dispose of.
- HAZARDOUS WASTE: A waste material
that is dangerous to handle or dispose of, including toxic chemicals,
radioactive wastes, old explosives, and some biological wastes.
- HUMUS: Decayed organic materials (grass,
leaves, etc.); rich soil.
- ILLEGAL DUMPING: To unlawfully throw
away garbage or waste in any place not authorized to accept waste
- INCINERATOR: A thermal device in which
solid waste is burned for the purpose of volume reduction. An
incinerator used to obtain energy is classified as an energy
- INORGANIC: Composed of matter that
is not animal or vegetable; not having the organized structure
of living things. Most inorganic compounds do not contain carbon
and are derived from mineral sources.
- LANDFILL: A place where unwanted materials
are dumped. They are then compacted with large machines and covered
with soil. Modern landfills have a liner under the garbage and
a cover on top.
- LEACH: To remove dissolved substances
by the action of percolating water or other liquids.
- LEACHATE: Liquid that has percolated
through solid waste and/or been generated by solid waste decomposition
and has extracted, dissolved or suspended materials in it. The
liquid may contaminate ground or surface water if not properly
- LITTER: Waste materials carelessly
discarded in an inappropriate place. Littering is against the
- MATERIAL MANAGEMENT: Management of
resources that we used to dispose of in landfills. Examples
include source separation and recycling.
- METHANE: An odorless and colorless
gas that is produced by anaerobic decomposition of solid waste.
Its chemical formula is CH4. Methane can cause asphyxiation
and is explosive.
- MUNICIPAL SOLID: Solid waste produced
within a community by residential,
- WASTE: commercial and institutional
- NATURAL RESOURCES: Valuable, naturally
occurring materials such as wood, minerals, air, or water.
- NONRENEWABLE RESOURCES: Natural materials,
which because of their scarcity, the great length of time required
for their formation, or their rapid depletion are considered
finite, i.e., exhaustible.
- ORGANIC: Derived from living organisms.
Also, designating any chemical compound containing carbon.
- PACKAGING: A covering used to protect
and promote a product.
- PERMEABILITY: A measure of the rate
at which water can percolate through soil.
- PETROCHEMICAL: Chemical made from
petroleum; used in making plastic.
- PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE: Designed to
last for a limited period of time; not durable.
- PLANNING DEPARTMENT: A government
body that plans for a community's future with regard to space,
land use, water supplies, etc.
- POLLUTION: Harmful substances deposited
in the air, water, or land, leading to a state of dirtiness,
impurity or unhealthiness.
- PRECYCLING: Activities that reduce
the amount of waste produced.
- PULP: Fiber material from which paper
and cardboard is made.
- RECYCLING: The act of removing from
the overall waste stream those materials that can be reconstituted
into new products.
- REDUCTION: Decreasing the amount of
trash produced by buying only what is needed, avoiding disposables,
and choosing products that are not overpackaged.
- REFUSE-DERIVED FUEL: A solid fuel
derived from municipal solid waste that has been processed to
improve its combustion characteristics.
- RENEWABLE RESOURCE: A resource derived
from an endless or cyclical source, such as the sun, wind, falling
water (hydroelectric), biofuels, fish, and trees. With proper
management and wise use, the consumption of these resources can
be approximately equal to replacement by natural or human-assisted
- RESERVE BASE: The amount of a nonrenewable
natural resource that still remains to be used.
- RESOURCE RECOVERY: Use of high technology
to burn mixed solid waste and produce energy and, in some cases,
industrial fuel. Resource recovery may involve mechanical separation
of recyclables before or after burning.
- SANITARY LANDFILL: A specially engineered
site for disposing of solid waste on land constructed so as to
reduce hazards to public safety and health.
- SCRUBBER: Machines used to remove
particulate matters and pollutant gases from exhaust gas streams.
- SEWAGE: Liquid/solid waste from our
- SLUDGE: Solid muddy materials left
after sewage has settled.
- SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT: The controlling,
handling, and disposal of all trash.
- SOLVENTS: Liquid that are able to
dissolve other substances; often have detrimental effects to
- SOURCE REDUCTION: Reducing waste at
the source, producing less waste or decreasing its toxicity.
- SOURCE SEPARATION: The separation
of recyclable materials from trash at home, in school, or by
- STATIC USE: Rate of use of a natural
resource remaining level (not increasing or declining).
- SUPERFUND: A fund the U.S. Government
has formed to handle hazardous waste problem.
- TIPPING FEE: Charge at a disposal
site to dump garbage. Usually expressed in $/ton.
- TOXIC SUBSTANCES: Materials that can
cause death or disease, mutations, deformities, or malfunctions
in organisms or their offspring.
- TRANSFER STATION: An intermediate
collection facility temporarily holding solid waste en route
to another facility.
- TRASH: Material considered worthless,
unnecessary or offensive that is usually thrown away. Generally
defined as dry waste material and not including food waste and
ashes. The term is often used interchangeably with the word garbage.
- TURBIDITY: A cloudy condition caused
by particles suspended in a liquid.
- VARIABLE COSTS: Costs which rise or
fall as the volume of business increases or decreases.
- WASTE MANAGEMENT: The managment of
garbage through a variety of methods including reduction, recycling,
composting, incineration, landfilling, etc.
- WASTE STREAM: The solid waste produced
by people or industries within a given area, location, or facility.
- WASTE-TO-ENERGY: Process of burning
waste to produce energy/electricity.
- WATER TABLE: The top of the groundwater