Terms

The Three "R"s:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Biodegradable
Able to break down or decompose rapidly under natural conditions and processes.

Buyback Centers
Locations where consumers can drop off recyclables and receive payment for them.

Climate change
A significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions, or in the distribution of weather around the average conditions (more or fewer extreme weather events).

Compost
Nature’s way of recycling, and refers to a solid waste management technique that uses natural processes to convert organic materials to humus through the action of microorganisms. Compost is a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land.

Conservation
The wise use of natural resources (nutrients, minerals, water, plants, animals, etc.) and planned action or non-action, to preserve or protect living and non-living resources.

Contaminant
Any item or material that reduces the quality of paper for recycling or makes it unrecyclable, such as metal, foil, glass, plastic, stickies, food, hazardous waste, carbon paper, waxed boxes, and synthetic fabrics. Collecting paper co-mingled with other recyclables may increase contaminants.

Ecology
The branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment, including other organisms.

Environment
All of the biotic and abiotic factors that act on an organism, population, or ecological community and influence its survival and development. Biotic factors include the organisms themselves, their food, and their interactions. Abiotic factors include such items as sunlight, soil, air, water, climate, and pollution.

Ecosystem
ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.


Global Warming
Is the rise in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century, and its projected continuation. Since the early 20th century, Earth's mean surface temperature has increased by about0.8 °C (1.4 °F), with about two-thirds of the increase occurring since 1980. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and scientists are more than 90% certain that it is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.

Humus
The stable, long lasting organic material resulting from decomposition of plant or animal matter which forms the organic portion of the soil.

Landfill
A disposal site where solid waste, such as paper, glass, and metal, is buried between layers of dirt and other materials in such a way as to reduce contamination of the surrounding land. Modern landfills are often lined with layers of absorbent material and sheets of plastic to keep pollutants from leaking into the soil and water, which is also called sanitary landfill.

Minimum Recycled Content Laws
Laws requiring a product or type of packaging to contain a certain percentage of recycled material.

Post Consumer Material
Any household or commercial product which has served its original, intended use.

Recycled content
The portion of a product or package that contains materials that have been recovered or otherwise diverted from the solid waste stream either during the manufacturing process or after consumer use. Many paper products are made with 100% recycled content.

Recycling
Term used to describe a series of activities that includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers, and manufacturing the raw materials into new products.

Sustainability
Environmental sustainability is the ability to maintain the qualities that are valued in the physical environment.

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