Agricultural waste
waste produced in agricultural operations. Some of the management challenges include excrement from animals, dead animals, and fertilizer and pesticide run-off.
uptake and sequestration of pollutants by organisms from their ambient
Biological waste
waste containing mostly animal and plant materials including animal excrement
concentration of certain substances up a food chain. It is a very important mechanism in concentrating pesticides and heavy metals in organisms such as fish
biochemical oxygen demand aka biological oxygen demand. Amount of O2 needed for organisms to break down organic matter. Units = mg O2 / liter in 5 days of incubation at 20 °C
land and buildings with waste or hazardous material present that could be a hindrance to use of the property in the future. The EPA estimates there are hundreds of thousands of brownfields sites in the country.
Circular economy
system in which waste from one firm or organization is feed for another. In an ideal circular economy there is no net waste. In practical terms, any use of waste as a raw material is called a contribution to a circular economy.
chemical oxygen demand. Units = mg O2 / liter
mechanical shredding or pulverizing of waste. It is used in solid waste or waste-water treatment.
waste elimination techniques comprising landfills, containment, underground disposal, dumping at sea and all other disposal methods.
place where solid wastes are left without environmental controls.
uncontrolled waste disposal
Hazardous waste
wastes that pose a hazard to humans or the environment. Typically classified as hazardous due to toxicity, corrosivity, infectiousness, reactivity, or flammability.
High level radioactive waste
waste generated inside a nuclear reactor. Highly radioactive and dangerous.
Household waste
waste material usually generated in the residential environment. Most goes into the municipal waste stream.
chemical reaction of water and another substance, usually resulting in the transformation of the other substance to one or more new substances with smaller molecular weights.
controlled burning of solid, liquid or gaseous waste materials at high temperatures.
Industrial ecology
description of the interplay between industries with respect to movement of materials and energy.
Industrial symbiosis
playing out of the circular economy in which waste or bioproducts from one industry become feedstock for another industry.
Intermediate Processing Center (IPC)
Materials Recovery Facility.
water that has percolated through or drained from landfills waste, or even solid waste in temporary storage.
plastic tarp placed under waste before long-term storage. Often used in landfills to prevent leachate from entering groundwater.
Low-level radioactive waste
radioactive wastes that does not require shielding during normal handling and transportation.
Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)
building where commingled recyclables are separated and processed.
Municipal waste
wastes produced by residential, commercial and nonprofit non-industrial activities that are collected by local authorities.
acronmym for Not In My Backyard. Political opposition at local level to the siting of objectionable things such as waste processing facilities or landfills.
Organic waste
or green waste, is organic material from plant or animal sources. Examples include food, garden and lawn clippings. Sometimes called wet waste. Sometimes the category is expanded to include waste paper.

Organic waste composes about 30 percent of household waste in the US. In some countries it is 60 percent of household waste. It’s the organic portion of the municipal waste stream that smells bad and attracts pests.

Burying organic waste in landfills is not an optimal solution and it’s not just because of the resources we lose. When organic waste is dumped in landfill, it undergoes anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen) and generates methane. Another problem with mixing organic waste in the municipal waste stream relates to later removal of recyclables. Contact with the organic waste can reduce the economic value of the recyclables.
Putrescible Waste
waste subject to bacteriological breakdown.
Radioactive waste
waste contaminated with radionuclides at concentrations greater than a level established by law or regulation.
Solid waste
useless and sometimes hazardous material with low liquid content. Solid wastes include municipal garbage, industrial and commercial waste, sewage sludge, wastes resulting from agricultural and animal husbandry operations and other connected activities, demolition wastes and mining residues.
Sustainable materials management
use and reuse of materials in the most productive and sustainable way throughout the lifecycle of the materials, while minimizing the impact on the environment.
dry solid waste generated in domestic premises and offices.
acronym for Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure, a process used to determine whether a waste is toxic under RCRA.
Water pollution
presence in water of harmful and objectionable material
areas of land that drain to surface water - streams, lakes, ponds, estuaries, and surrounding land - the boundaries of a watershed are set by hydrology of the land. Ground-water recharge areas are part of a watershed.
White goods
household appliances - e.g. refrigerators and washing machines - designated as waste.

Material Glossary

stone, gravel, and sand used to make concrete.
a panel product that consists of wood chips pressed and bonded with a resin. Used to make furniture.
Fly Ash
byproduct of coal combustion that is used as a cement replacement in concrete.


External Links

Get in Touch

  • Email:
    dan – at –
  • Address:
    205 Government Street
    Mobile, AL 36602