Must-have Waste Management Glossary

  •   December 29th, 2014
  •   Category: Regulations
  •   Posted by: Ecodyger


Biochemical Oxygen Demand, is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms in a body of water to break down organic material present in a given water sample at certain temperature over a specific time period. The term also refers to a chemical procedure for determining this amount. This is not a precise quantitative test, although it is widely used as an indication of the organic quality of water. The BOD value is most commonly expressed in milligrams of oxygen consumed per litre of sample during 5 days of incubation at 20 °C and is often used as a robust surrogate of the degree of organic pollution of water. BOD can be used as a gauge of the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants.
Calorific value The calories or thermal units contained in one unit of a substance and released when the substance is burned.


Chemical oxygen demand. In environmental chemistry, the COD test is commonly used to indirectly measure the amount of organic compounds in water. Most applications of COD determine the amount of organic pollutants found in surface water (e.g. lakes and rivers) or wastewater, making COD a useful measure of water quality. It is expressed in milligrams per liter (mg/L) also referred to as ppm (parts per million), which indicates the mass of oxygen consumed per liter of solution.


A mixture of decaying organic matter used to fertilize and condition the soil.


The natural biological decomposition of organic material in the presence of air to form a humus-like material. Controlled methods of composting include mechanical mixing and aerating, ventilating the materials by dropping them through a vertical series of aerated chambers, or placing the compost in piles out in the open air and mixing it or turning it periodically.


The EU Ecolabel helps you identify products and services that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle, from the extraction of raw material through to production, use and disposal. Recognised throughout Europe, EU Ecolabel is a voluntary label promoting environmental excellence which can be trusted.

Fertilizer (or fertiliser)

Is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants.


Food Waste Disposers


Green Public Procurement


International Panel on Climate Change


Institute for the Protection and Environmental Research (Italy)


Life-cycle assessment. Also known as life-cycle analysis.


A product or solution formed by leaching, especially a solution containing contaminants picked up through the leaching of soil.

Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT)

The terms mechanical biological treatment or mechanical biological pre-treatment relate to a group of solid waste treatment systems. These systems enable the recovery of materials contained within the mixed waste and facilitate the stabilisation of the biodegradable component of the material.


Municipal waste


Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) or solid recovered fuel/ specified recovered fuel (SRF) is a fuel produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste (MSW) with a Waste converter technology. RDF consists largely of combustible components of municipal waste such as plastics and biodegradable waste. RDF processing facilities are normally located near a source of MSW and, while an optional combustion facility is normally close to the processing facility, it may also be located at a remote location. SRF can be distinguished from RDF in the fact that it is produced to reach a standard such as CEN/343 ANAS.


Is a water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains. In loose American English usage, the terms “sewage” and “sewerage” are sometimes interchanged


System tracking control of refuse

Soil Improver

Is a product which is added to soil to improve the soil’s physical qualities, especially its ability to provide nutrition for plants. In general usage the term soil conditioner is often thought of as a subset of the category Soil Amendments which more often is understood to include a wide range of fertilizers and non-organic materials. Soil conditioners can be used to improve poor soils, or to rebuild soils which have been damaged by improper management. They can make poor soils more usable, and can be used to maintain soils in peak condition.

Waste Hierarchy

Is a process used to protect the environment and conserve resources through a priority approach established in waste policy and legislation. The hierarchy establishes preferred program priorities based on sustainability. To be sustainable, waste management cannot be solved only with technical end-of-pipe solutions and an integrated approach is necessary. The waste management hierarchy indicates an order of preference for action to reduce and manage waste, and is usually presented diagrammatically in the form of a 5 steps pyramid:

  1. Prevention – preventing and reducing waste generation.
  2. Reuse and preparation for reuse – giving the products a second life before they become waste.
  3. Recycle – any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes. It includes composting and it does not include incineration.
  4. Recovery – some waste incineration based on a political non-scientific formula that upgrades the less inefficient incinerators.
  5. Disposal – processes to dispose of waste be it landfilling, incineration, pyrolisis, gasification and other finalist solutions.

Photo Credit: Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher