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Plastic Glossary



Additives:

A diverse group of specialty chemicals incorporated into plastic formulations before or during processing, or to the surfaces of finished products after processing. Their primary purpose is to modify the behavior of plastics during processing or to impart useful properties to fabricated plastic articles. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).

Advanced Recycling Technologies (ART):

Processes that yield a variety of versatile and marketable end-products that are the building blocks from which new plastics and a variety of other products can be manufactured. This is achieved by converting or recycling plastics back into the raw materials from which they were made. ART includes such processes as methanolysis, glycolysis, hydrolysis, and thermal depolymerization. These technologies augment existing mechanical systems as part of an integrated approach to plastics recycling designed to increase the volume of post-consumer plastic plastics diverted from the waste stream and expand the variety of plastics that are recycled into new and useful products. (The Evolution of Plastics Recycling Technology, APC, 1994).

The American Plastics Council (APC):

A national organization whose mission is to actively demonstrate that plastics are a preferred material and a responsible choice in a more environmentally conscious world.
Ammonolysis:

A complete depolymerization process that breaks nylon into its building blocks or monomers that can then be repolymerized to make nylon in any form and for any market. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).

Automatic Plastics Sorting:

The separation of mixed plastics by resin type and/or color via a mechanical system. A system detects the plastic type (or types) to be segregated and removes those materials from the stream. Common systems utilize conveyors, resin/color detectors, computer analysis and tracking and air jet ejectors. For plastic packaging, the separation may be on a macro (whole container) or micro (chopped/ground particles) basis. ("Automatic Sorting for Mixed Plastics," Peter Dinger, BioCycle, March 1992; "Automatic Microsorting for Mixed Plastics," Peter Dinger, BioCycle, April 1992)

Bale:


The end product of a compaction process that is used to decrease the volume that material occupies by increasing the density and weight. Bales are typically 3' x 4' x 5' and must be bound with plastic stripping or wire to keep from falling apart. (Waste Reduction Strategies for Rural Communities, prepared by the MaCC Group, with support from Tennessee Valley Authority, March 1994).

Bisphenol-A (4,4'-isopropylidenediphenol):
 

An intermediate used in the production of epoxy, polycarbonate and phenolic resins. The name was coined after the condensation reaction by which it may be formed--two (bis) molecules of phenol with one of acetone (A). (Whittington's Dictionary of Plastics, published by Technomic Publishing).

Blow Molding:


A widely used process for the production of hollow thermoplastic shapes. The process is divided into two general categories: extrusion blow molding and injection blow molding. These processes are typically used to manufacture plastic bottles and containers. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995)
Extrusion Blow Molding: A parison or tube of plastic material is dropped or lowered from an extruder. Mold halves close around the parison, which is then expanded against the cavity wall by the injection of air. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995)
Injection Blow Molding: A two-stage process where plastic is first injection molded into a preform. The preform is then transferred to a blow mold where it is expanded. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).

British Thermal Unit (Btu):


The quantity of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. (The Recycler's Lexicon: A Glossary of Contemporary Terms and Acronyms, Resource Recycling Inc., 1995).


Buy-Back Recycling Centers:

A commercially located, staffed recycling facility that purchases small amounts of post-consumer plastic secondary materials from the public. Buy-back centers typically purchase aluminum cans and may also handle glass containers and newspaper. Typically, little processing of materials occurs at buy-back centers. (The Recycler's Lexicon: A Glossary of Contemporary Terms and Acronyms, Resource Recycling Inc., 1995).
Co-Collection:

The act of picking up post-consumer plastic (or secondary) materials or compostable materials simultaneously with garbage. (The Recycler's Lexicon: A Glossary of Contemporary Terms and Acronyms, Resource Recycling Inc., 1995).

Co-Combustion:
The simultaneous combustion of two or more fuel types to provide useful energy. Generally, a primary fuel is combusted with one or more supplemental fuels. Examples would include the co-combustion of wood with coal, or processed combustible materials derived from residential, commercial and industrial sources, which could include plastics-enhanced pelletized fuel products, with coal as the primary fuel in industrial or utility boilers. (Kenneth Smith, Vice President, wTe Corporation, Bedford, Mass., 1996).

Coextrusion:

Involves a process where parts are blow-molded with walls containing two or more layers of different material. Coextrusion offers wide latitude for material selection and also allows the use of recycled materials. A material with good barrier properties, for example, can be used for the inside and outside surfaces of a blow molded bottle, while recycled material can be used for the internal layer. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).

Cogeneration:
The simultaneous production of power and another form of useful thermal energy from a single fuel-consuming process. The most common cogeneration systems being constructed today utilize combustion or co-combustion processes to produce electricity via a turbine as the principal product and steam and/or hot water as by-products. The electricity generally is sold to a utility or used for adjacent industrial processes and the steam and hot water generally are exported to adjacent companies for industrial process uses and for space heating. When combusting fuels in typical boilers, cogeneration is significantly more energy efficient than the generation of electricity alone. Approximately 75 percent of the energy value in the fuel can be extracted in a cogeneration facility compared to approximately 35 percent when electricity is produced solely. (Singer, Joseph G., "Combustion Fossil Power," Fourth Edition, Combustion Engineering, Inc., Windsor, Conn., 1991; Lund, Herbert F., "The McGraw-Hill Recycling Handbook," McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1993).

Combustion:

A chemical process in which oxygen rapidly combines with the fuel and converts the fuel into gases, primarily water (H20) and carbon dioxide (C02), and residues. The combustion process produces significant thermal energy (heat) and light, and generally is self sustaining-that is no external source of heat is required to maintain combustion of fuel. In modern, state-of-the-art waste-to-energy facilities, and in other modern energy production facilities, the combustion process is carefully controlled to extract maximum energy value from the fuel source and to reduce the generation of potentially harmful substances significantly well below stringent regulatory levels. Industrial and post-consumer plastic plastics that cannot be economically recycled are excellent fuel sources that combust very well in such facilities. The energy value of these plastics is comparable to oil and can be more than 50 percent greater than coal. (Tchobanoglous, George, Hilary Theisen and Rolf Eliassen, "Solid Wastes, Engineering Principles and Management Issues," McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1977; Lund, Herbert F., "The McGraw-Hill Recycling Handbook," McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1993).

Compatibilizers:

Additives that enable two or more materials to exist in close and permanent association indefinitely. They may be used to blend virgin and post-consumer plastic resins or different types of resins to maintain the quality of the products. (Dr. Ronald Liesemer, Vice President of Technology, APC, Washington, D.C., 1996).

Compounding:

The incorporation of additional ingredients needed for processing in order to have optimal properties. These ingredients may include Additives to improve a polymer's physical properties, stability or processability. Compounding is usually required for recycled materials for the following reasons:
Recycled materials are typically ground from parts that produce flakes. The compounding (palletizing) process turns them into pellets that can be more easily handled by traditional plastics processing equipment.

It allows Additives to be compounded into the recycled material to meet target application requirements.

It allows virgin materials to be mixed with recycled materials to meet material specifications for performance and recycled material content targets.

It provides a very important homogenization step. Recycled materials are usually a mix of many different grades of the same basic material. Even though the materials might be from the same family, differences in molecular weight, copolymer ratios, etc. can lead to a mixed material having poor homogeneity. The intensive physical mixing in a molten polymer that is achieved during extrusion can homogenize different grades of materials and even some types and amounts of foreign material that might not have been removed during the recycling process. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).

Cradle-To-Grave Analysis:

A methodology that quantifies energy consumption and environmental emissions at each stage of a product's life cycle, beginning at the point of raw material extraction and proceeding through processing, manufacturing, consumer use, and final recycling, reuse or disposal. (Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis of High Density Polyethylene and Bleached Paperboard Gable Milk Containers, Franklin Associates, Ltd., February 1991)

Curbside Collection:

A collection process where consumers place designated recyclables at the roadside or curb, usually in a special container or bag, for collection separate from non-recyclable material such as garbage. (The Blueprint for Plastics Recycling, The Council for Solid Waste Solutions, 1991).
Densification:

A process that lowers the volume-to-weight ratio in order to reduce shipping costs. Baling is the most common form of densification, although some handlers of post-consumer plastic plastics granulate or grind collected material. (The Blueprint for Plastics Recycling, The Council for Solid Waste Solutions, 1991).

Design for Recycling:

This concept aims to encourage pre-production planning for safe and efficient recycling by the elimination, to the extent possible, of hazardous and non-recyclable materials from the production process. (Design For Recycling: The Scrap Recycling Industry's Perspective, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), 1991).

Dioxin:

Dioxin is a naturally occurring compound and a by-product of environmental events such as volcanoes and forest fires. man-made processes such as manufacturing, paper and pulp bleaching, and exhaust emissions also yield dioxin. To find out more, go to the Chlorine Chemistry Council.

Discards:

The components of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) remaining after recovery for recycling and composting. These discards are presumably combusted or disposed of in landfills, although some MSW is littered, stored, disposed of on site or burned on site, particularly in rural areas. (Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1995 Update, prepared for U.S. EPA Municipal and Industrial Solid Waste Division Office of Solid Waste, March 1996).

Drop-Off Center:

A centrally located depot to which consumers bring recyclables that does not provide payment for delivered materials. (The Blueprint for Plastics Recycling, The Council for Solid Waste Solutions, 1991).

Durable Goods:
 

Consumer products with a useful life of three years or more that include major appliances, furniture, tires, lead-acid automotive batteries, consumer electronics, automobiles and other items. (Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1995 Update, prepared for U.S. EPA Municipal and Industrial Solid Waste Division Office of Solid Waste, March 1996).

End Market:

Any product that utilizes post-consumer plastic plastic in its manufacture. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995)

End Product:
A fabricated value-added item that does not include Bales, flake or pellets. (1995 post-consumer plastic Plastics Recycling/Recovery Rate Survey, Glossary of Terms, R.W. Beck & Associates).

Endocrine:
For more information on the theory of endocrine disruption go to the Canadian Chemical Producers Association, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, the Chlorine Chemistry Council or the Bisphenol-A Web Site sponsored by the Global Bisphenol-A Industry Group of The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. and the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC).

Energy Recovery:
The process of recovering the thermal energy produced when fuels are converted to gases and residues through the combustion process. The thermal energy generally is recovered through the use of heat exchangers that extract the energy from the hot combustion gases. Heat exchangers can be air to air units similar to those used in residential or commercial hot air heating systems or air to water/steam units (boilers) that can be designed to generate either hot water or steam, similar to residential and commercial hot water and steam generation heating systems. Large electric power production facilities, including modern waste-to-energy plants, that supply needed power to our homes, hospitals and factories, maximize thermal energy recovery efficiency through the utilization of high temperature, high pressure steam generating boilers that recover both the radiant energy from the combustion process inside the furnace as well as the energy in the hot combustion gases. The high heating value of plastics makes them a valuable source of energy that can be readily recovered in modern waste-to-energy plants. (Tchobanoglous, George, Hilary Theisen and Rolf Eliassen, "Solid Wastes, Engineering Principles and Management Issues," McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1977; Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc., "Small-Scale Municipal Solid Waste Energy Recovery Systems," Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 1986).

Environmental Marketing Guidelines:
U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, issued in July, 1992, are voluntary guidelines for product manufacturers using environmental advertising and marketing. They are intended to help prevent misleading environmental marketing claims. (Environmental Packaging; U.S. Guide to Green Labeling, Packaging and Recycling. Thompson Publishing Group, October 1995).

Extrusion:
One of the most common plastics processing techniques covering a vast range of applications in which resins are melted, heated and pumped for processing. Extrusion machines accomplish these tasks by means of one or more internal screws. In extrusion, the material to be processed is sheared between the root of the screw and the wall of the barrel that surround it. This process produces frictional energy that heats and melts the substance as it is conveyed down the barrel. Melted extrudate from the machine is further processed after the extrusion phase, which typically produces pellets, sheet, cast film, blown film, fibers, coatings, pipes, profiles or molded parts. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).

Feedstock Recycling:

A group of recycling technologies employing various processes that convert mixtures of plastics into petroleum feedstocks or raw materials that can be used in refineries and petrochemical facilities for making new products. These technologies augment existing mechanical systems as part of an integrated approach to plastics recycling designed to increase the volume of post-consumer plastic plastics diverted from the waste stream and expand the variety of plastics that are recycled into new and useful products. (The Evolution of Plastics Recycling Technology, APC, 1994).

Generation:
A figure that refers to the amount (weight, volume or percentage of the overall waste stream) of materials and products as they enter the waste stream and before materials recovery, composting or combustion takes place. (Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1995 Update, prepared for U.S. EPA Municipal and Industrial Solid Waste Division Office of Solid Waste, March 1996).

Glycolysis:
A process that stops short of complete depolymerization, but breaks long polymer chains into short-chain oligomers that are repolymerized into virgin polymer. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


Granulating:
A size-reduction process used for production scrap, post-consumer plastic packaging, industrial parts, or other materials that must be downsized for further processing. Granulators consist of a feed hopper, cutting chamber, classifying screen, and rotating knives that work in concert with stationary-bed knives to reduce the plastic scrap until it is small enough to pass through the classifying screen. The resulting particles, called regrind, can vary in size from 3 mm to 20 mm. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


Green Dot:
Germany's Packaging Ordinance of June 12, 1991, designed to eliminate any packaging that cannot be reused, recycled or incinerated for energy recovery. Its aim is to keep packaging separate from the municipal waste stream by forcing retailers and distributors to take back used packaging materials and reuse, recycle or dispose of it. A private company established by industry to fulfill obligations under the Ordinance, Duales System Deutshland (DSD), guarantees that the packaging of participating members will be collected for reuse or recycling. In return, the products of DSD members can bear the "green dot." (Environmental Packaging; U.S. Guide to Green Labeling, Packaging and Recycling. Thompson Publishing Group, October 1995).e intensive physical mixing in a molten polymer that is achieved during extrusion can homogenize different grades of materials and even some types and amounts of foreign material that might not have been removed during the recycling process. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


Handler:
An organization that prepares recyclable plastics by sorting, densifying and/or storing the material until a sufficient quantity is on hand. When the handler completes processing, the material is not ready to be manufactured into a new product, but it has been made more valuable. (Waste Reduction Strategies for Rural Communities, prepared by the MaCC Group, with support from Tennessee Valley Authority, March 1994).


Hauler:
A company that transports post-consumer plastic and other materials to a handler or other processor. (Stretch Wrap Recycling: A How-To Guide, APC, 1994).


High Density Polyethylene (HDPE):
HDPE refers to a plastic used to make bottles for milk, juice, water and laundry products. Unpigmented HDPE bottles are translucent and have good barrier properties and stiffness. They are well suited to packaging products with short shelf lives such as milk. Pigmented HDPE bottles generally have better stress crack and chemical resistance than bottles made with unpigmented HDPE. These properties are needed for packaging such items as household chemicals and detergents, which have a longer shelf life. Injection-molded HDPE is resistant to warpage and distortion. It is used for products such as margarine tubs and yogurt containers. (Plastic Packaging Opportunities and Challenges, APC, February 1992)

Industrial Scrap:


Any plastic resin or products, such as factory regrind and plant scrap, recycled outside of the primary manufacturing facility. Also referred to as post-industrial or pre-consumer plastics. (1995 post-consumer plastic Plastics Recycling/Recovery Rate Survey, Glossary of Terms, R.W. Beck & Associates).


Injection Molding:
A process that involves transmitting melted resin into a mold's cavity; the molten resin then cools and solidifies, and the finished piece is ejected from the mold. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA):
An objective process to evaluate the environmental burdens associated with a product, process or activity by identifying and quantifying energy and materials used and wastes released to the environment, to assess the impact of those energy and materials uses and releases on the environment, and to evaluate and implement opportunities to affect environmental improvements. The assessment includes the entire life cycle of the product, process or activity, encompassing extraction and processing of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation and distribution, use/reuse/maintenance, recycling and final disposal. (A Technical Framework for Life-Cycle Assessment, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), January 1991).


Life Cycle Inventory (LCI):
An objective, data-based process of quantifying energy and raw material requirements, air emissions, waterborne effluents, solid waste, and other environmental releases incurred throughout the life cycle of a product, process or activity. (A Technical Framework for Life-Cycle Assessment, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), January 1991).


Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE):

A plastic that is used predominantly in film applications due to its toughness, flexibility and relative transparency. LLDPE is the preferred resin for injection molding because of its superior toughness and is used in items such as grocery bags, garbage bags and landfill liners. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995; Plastic Packaging Opportunities and Challenges, APC, February 1992).


Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE):
A plastic used predominantly in film applications due to its toughness, flexibility and relative transparency. LDPE has a low melting point, making it popular for use in applications where heat sealing is necessary. Typically, LDPE is used to manufacture flexible films such as those used for plastic retail bags and garment dry cleaning and grocery bags. LDPE is also used to manufacture some flexible lids and bottles, and it is widely used in wire and cable applications for its stable electrical properties and processing characteristics. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).
Methanolysis:
An advanced recycling process where methanol is introduced to PET or other polyester-based material in a chemical processing plant. The polyester is broken down into its basic molecules, including dimethyl terephthalate and ethylene glycol. These precursors are then re-polymerized into purified raw resin. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


Materials Recovery Facility (MRF):
A facility that receives materials in a form unacceptable by the marketplace. The MRF separates, removes contamination, sorts, densifies, and stores recyclable material types. Each material is prepared to meet the requirements of a specific market. MRFs are generally considered handlers. (Waste Reduction Strategies for Rural Communities, prepared by the MaCC Group, with support from Tennessee Valley Authority, March 1994).


Monomer:
A relatively simple compound that can react to form a polymer (i.e., polymerize). (Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., edited by Michael L. Berins).


Municipal Solid Waste (MSW):
A phrase for garbage generated from residential, commercial, institutional and industrial sources that falls into six basic categories-durable goods, non-durable goods, containers and packaging, food wastes, yard trimmings and miscellaneous organic and inorganic wastes. Wastes from these categories include appliances, newspapers, clothing, food scraps, boxes, disposable tableware, office and classroom paper, wood pallets and cafeteria wastes. (Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1994 Update, prepared for U.S. EPA Municipal and Industrial Solid Waste Division Office of Solid Waste, November 1994).
 

Non-Durable Goods:

Consumer goods with a useful life of less than three years that include newspapers, paper towels, plastic cups and plates, disposable diapers, clothing, footwear and other items. (Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1994 Update, prepared for U.S. EPA Municipal and Industrial Solid Waste Division Office of Solid Waste, November 1994).
 

Packaging Efficiency:
A quantification of the efficiency by which competing packaging materials deliver product to market. It is derived by comparing the volume of product delivered per pound of packaging. It is one way to quantify the achievement of source reduction, i.e., delivering the most product per unit of packaging. ("Factoring the Value of Source Reduction into Packaging Use/Post-Use Economics," Ronald Perkins, Recycle 93 Sixth Annual Forum, Davos, Switzerland).


Pelletizing:
A process for producing a uniform particle size of virgin or recycled plastic resins. Molten polymer from an extruder is forced through a die to form multiple strands of resin (similar to the chopping of spaghetti from extruded dough). Traditionally the strands are pulled by nip rolls through a water bath to cool and solidify and then into a cutting chamber where they are chopped into approximately 1/4" lengths. Modern systems incorporate underwater pelletizers where the strands are cut by a rotating knife immediately upon exiting the die. This operation takes place in a closed head as water circulates through to cool and carry the pellets away. Both methods move the pellets to a dewatering/drying system prior to final packout. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


Phthalate Ester (o-phthalic ester):
Any of a large class of plasticizers produced byt he direct action of alcohols on phthalic anhydride. The phthalates are the most widely used of all plasticizers and are generally characterized by moderate cost, good stability, low toxicity and good all-around properties. (Whittington's Dictionary of Plastics, published by Technomic Publishing). To find out more go to the Phthalate Esters Panel's new website or visit the American Chemistry Council website. A special web site has been established to adress the facts about phthalates esters in toys. To find out more, go to http://www.vinyltoys.com/.


Plastic:
(1) One of many high-polymeric substances, including both natural and synthetic products, but excluding the rubbers. At some stage in its manufacture, every plastic is capable of flowing, under heat and pressure if necessary, into the desired final shape. (2) Made of plastic; capable of flow under pressure or tensile stress. (Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., edited by Michael L. Berins, 1991).


Plastic Bottle:
A rigid container that is designed with a neck that is narrower than the body, normally used to hold liquids and emptied by pouring. (How To Develop a Viable post-consumer plastic Handling Business, APC, 1993).


Plastic Film:
A thin flexible sheet that only holds a particular shape when supported. (How To Develop a Viable post-consumer plastic Handling Business, APC, 1993).


Plastic Packaging:
When a host of different plastics, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinylidene dichloride (Saran), nylon, etc., provide containment, protection, information and utility-of-use (convenience) for commercial products. (Plastic Packaging Opportunities and Challenges, APC, 1992).


Plastics Recovery Facility (PRF):
A facility that receives recyclable plastics and then separates, removes contamination, sorts by resin type and color, condenses, and stores the segregated plastic types. Sorted plastic bottles and containers are then Baled and shipped to recycling markets. (Q & A: Plastics Recovery Facility fact sheet, The Garten Foundation, 1994).


Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE):
PET is clear, tough and has good gas and moisture barrier properties. Some of this plastic is used in PET soft drink bottles and other blow molded containers, although sheet applications are increasing. Cleaned, recycled PET flakes and pellets are in great demand for spinning fiber for carpet yarns and producing fiberfill and geotextiles. Other applications include strapping, molding compounds and both food and non-food containers. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


Polymer:
A high-molecular-weight organic compound, natural or synthetic, whose structure can be represented by a repeated small unit, the monomer (e.g., polyethylene, rubber, cellulose). Synthetic polymers are formed by addition or condensation polymerization of monomers. If two or more different monomers are involved, a copolymer is obtained. Some polymers are elastomers, some plastics. (Plastics Engineering Handbook of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., edited by Michael L. Berins, 1991).


Polypropylene (PP):
Polypropylene has excellent chemical resistance, is strong and has the lowest density of the plastics used in packaging. It has a high melting point, making it ideal for hot-fill liquids. In film form it may or may not be oriented (stretched). PP is found in everything from flexible and rigid packaging to fibers and large molded parts for automotive and consumer products. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995; Plastic Packaging Opportunities and Challenges, APC, February 1992).


Polystyrene (PS):
Polystyrene is a very versatile plastic that can be rigid or foamed. General purpose polystyrene is clear, hard and brittle. It has a relatively low melting point. Typical applications include protective packaging, containers, lids, cups, bottles, trays and tumblers. (Plastic Packaging Opportunities and Challenges, APC, February 1992).


post-consumer plastic Plastic:
Any plastic that has entered the stream of commerce, served its intended purpose, and has now been diverted for recycling or export. This includes residential, commercial and institutional plastic. This does not include industrial scrap material like factory regrind and plant scrap used within the primary manufacturing facility. (post-consumer plastic resin is also known as PCR). (1995 post-consumer plastic Plastics Recycling/Recovery Rate Survey, Glossary of Terms, R.W. Beck & Associates).


Process Engineered Fuels (PEF):
PEF, (some known as pellet fuels), are produced from a mixture of industrial and/or commercial plastic scrap and other industrial and/or commercial scrap materials and/or from plastic and other materials diverted from the waste stream, along with binding agents and Additives. The proportions of the major plastic and other components can be varied to yield a pellet fuel possessing the desired combustion characteristics. PEF is designed to provide a highly predictable and uniform Btu content, burn rate and flame temperature, and PEF of a particular composition will yield ash with known characteristics. (Comments of the American Plastics Council on Proposed Revisions to Title V Operating Permit Regulations, submitted to the U.S. EPA, October 30, 1995).


Pyrolysis:
The thermal decomposition of organic material through the application of heat in the absence of oxygen. (The Recycler's Lexicon: A Glossary of Contemporary Terms and Acronyms, Resource Recycling Inc., 1995).

Reclaimer:


An organization that further processes recyclable materials. When the reclaimer finishes processing, the material is ready to be remanufactured into a new product. Reclaimers sell post-consumer plastic pellets or flake to product manufacturers. Some reclaimers also manufacture end products. (Waste Reduction Strategies for Rural Communities, prepared by the MaCC Group, with support from Tennessee Valley Authority, March 1994).


Recovered Material:
Materials and by-products that have been recovered (or diverted) from solid waste. It does not include those materials and by-products generated from and commonly reused within an original manufacturing process (industrial scrap). (Standard Classification for Recycled post-consumer plastic Polyethylene Film Sources for Molding and Extrusion Materials, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), April 1994).


Recovery:
The process of obtaining materials or energy resources from solid waste. (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, 245.101).


Recycling:
The series of activities by which discarded materials are collected, sorted, processed and converted into raw materials and used in the production of new products.


Recycling Markets:
Individuals or businesses that purchase post-consumer plastic and/or post-industrial recyclable materials. Markets specify what kind of recyclables they purchase, what price the material is worth and in what form the material is needed. Recycling markets for plastics fall into two broad categories: See Handlers and Reclaimers. (Waste Reduction Strategies for Rural Communities, prepared by the MaCC Group, with support from Tennessee Valley Authority, March 1994).


Redemption Center:
A centrally located depot to which consumers bring recyclables that provides payment for delivered materials. (The Blueprint for Plastics Recycling, The Council for Solid Waste Solutions, 1991).


Resin:
Any of a class of solid or semi-solid organic products of natural or synthetic origin, generally of high molecular weight with no definite melting point. Most resins are polymers. (Plastics Engineering Handbook of The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., edited by Michael L. Berins, 1991).


Resource Conservation:
A wide array of activities that include reducing the energy consumed and pollution generated during manufacture and over the useful life of a product; extending the life of material used to make a product through reuse and recycling; reducing the amount of material needed to make a product initially; utilizing options available for recovering value from materials when they are ultimately discarded, such as energy recovery and fuel pellets. (American Plastics Council, Washington, DC, 1996).


Responsible Care:
The chemical industry's health, safety and environmental performance improvement initiative launched in 1988 by the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA). Developed to respond to public concerns about the manufacture and use of chemicals, CMA members commit to support a continuing effort to improve the industry's responsible management of chemicals. (1994-95 Responsible Care Progress Report, Chemical Manufacturers Association).


Rigid Plastic Container:
A formed or molded plastic container that serves as a package, and maintains its shape when empty and unsupported. (How To Develop a Viable post-consumer plastic Handling Business, APC, 1993).

The Society of Plastics Engineers, Inc. (SPE):
A technical society for the plastics industry that is a preferred supplier of engineering, scientific and business knowledge required by the SPE membership. Its goal is to promote this knowledge and increase education of plastics and polymers worldwide. (Leadership 2000: Strategies for the Next Century, SPE, 1996).


The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI):
A trade organization of more than 2,000 members representing all segments of the plastics industry in the United States. SPI's operating units and committees are composed of resin manufacturers, distributors, machinery manufacturers, plastics processors, moldmakers and other industry-related groups and individuals. (SPI Boilerplate, 1996).


Solid Waste:
Garbage, refuse, sludges, and other discarded solid materials resulting from industrial and commercial operations and from community activities. It does not include solids or dissolved material in domestic sewage or other significant pollutants in water resources, such as silt, dissolved or suspended solids in industrial wastewater effluents, dissolved materials in irrigation return flows or other common water pollutants. (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, 240.101).


Source Reduction:
The design, manufacture, use or reuse of materials or products (including packages) to reduce their amount or toxicity throughout their useful life and when they are reused, recycled, landfilled or incinerated. Because it is intended to reduce pollution and conserve resources, source reduction should not increase the net amount or toxicity of wastes generated throughout the life of a product. Source reduction is sometimes referred to as waste prevention. (National Recycling Coalition: Definitions Approved by NRC Board of Directors, September 10, 1995).


Source Separation:
The sorting of individual secondary materials at the point of collection or generation for recycling. Many curbside recycling programs require the hauler to separate paper, glass, metal cans and plastic containers into their appropriate bins on the truck when collected. (The Recycler's Lexicon: A Glossary of Contemporary Terms and Acronyms, Resource Recycling Inc., 1995).


Stabilizers:
Stabilizers increase both virgin resin's and post-consumer plastic plastic's strength and resistance to degradation. Heat stabilizers provide resistance to thermal degradation during periods of exposure to elevated temperatures. Thermal degradation is reduced not only during processing but also during the useful life of the finished products. Light stabilizers are used in a variety of resins to limit the effects of sunlight or other sources of ultra violet radiation. Antioxidants can be used as sacrificial Additives to protect plastics from oxidizing environments. Stabilizers are important for post-consumer plastic plastics because reprocessing exposes the material to additional heat histories through compounding and molding. It is also important to replenish sacrificial Additives that might have been expended during the material's previous application and/or during the added heat histories. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


STYROFOAM:

STYROFOAM is a trademarked name for a specific form of insulation manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company. "STYROFOAM" is not
synonymous with "polystyrene."


Sustainable Development:
 

To meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (The World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, Oxford University Press, 1987).


Thermoforming:

The process of heating a thermoplastic sheet to a working temperature and then forming it into a finished shape by means of heat or pressure. (Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


Thermoplastic:
(1) Capable of being repeatedly softened by heat and hardened by cooling. (2) A material that will repeatedly soften when heated and harden when cooled. Typical of the thermoplastic family are the styrene polymers and copolymers, acrylics, cellulosics, polyethylenes, polypropylene, vinyls and nylons. (Plastics Engineering Handbook of The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., edited by Michael L. Berins, 1991).


Thermoset:
A material that will undergo or has undergone a chemical reaction through the application of heat and pressure, catalysts, ultraviolet light, etc., leading to a relatively infusible state. Typical of the plastics in the thermosetting family are the aminos (melamine and urea), most polyesters, alkyds, epoxies, and phenolics. (Plastics Engineering Handbook of The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., edited by Michael L. Berins, 1991).
 

Unit Pricing:
Also known as variable rate pricing or pay-as-you-throw, is a system under which residents pay for municipal waste management services by unit of waste collected rather than through a fixed fee. Note: 1) Costs under unit pricing systems can be allocated based on either volume or weight; 2) Fixed fee systems usually collect such fees through property taxes regardless quantity of waste collected. (Pay-As-You-Throw; Lessons Learned About Unit Pricing. U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, EPA530-R-94-004, April 1994).

Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC):

In addition to its stable physical properties, PVC has excellent transparency, chemical resistance, long-term stability, good weatherability, flow characteristics and stable electrical properties. The diverse slate of vinyl products can be broadly divided into rigid and flexible materials. Rigid applications, accounting for 60 percent of total vinyl production, are concentrated in construction markets which include pipe and fittings, siding, carpet backing and windows. Bottles and packaging sheet are also major rigid markets. Flexible vinyl is used in wire and cable insulation, film and sheet, floor coverings, synthetic-leather products, coatings, blood bags, medical tubing and many other applications. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 1995).


Waste Reduction
Source Reduction: The design, manufacture, use or reuse of materials or products (including packages) to reduce their amount or toxicity throughout their useful life and when they are reused, recycled, landfilled or incinerated. Because it is intended to reduce pollution and conserve resources, source reduction should not increase the net amount or toxicity of wastes generated throughout the life of a product. Source reduction is sometimes referred to as waste prevention. (National Recycling Coalition: Definitions Approved by NRC Board of Directors, September 10, 1995).

Waste-To-Energy
The conversion and recovery of the energy value in waste materials through the application of high temperature, controlled combustion. The recovered thermal energy can then be converted to electrical energy in steam driven turbine generators for plant use and for export/sale, or it can be exported and sold directly as steam or hot water for industrial processes and space heating. The recovered energy also can be used to generate chilled water for industrial processes or air conditioning. Most waste-to-energy projects employ combustion facilities specifically designed to accommodate the anticipated waste deliveries. These state-of-the-art, dedicated boilers are designed to extract the maximum energy value from the delivered waste materials and to simultaneously reduce the generation of potentially harmful gases and residues from the combustion process to well below stringent regulatory levels. The waste materials routinely delivered to such facilities include municipal solid wastes (MSW) such as residential and commercial wastes; non-hazardous institutional wastes; and non-hazardous, non-manufacturing industrial solid wastes. Industrial plastic wastes and post-consumer plastic plastics that cannot be economically recycled provide an excellent source of fuel for waste-to-energy facilities. There are other waste-to-energy projects that utilize existing, appropriately modified industrial or utility boilers to combust specially prepared fuels derived from solid wastes-these are called refuse derived fuels, or RDF. (Integrated Waste Services Association, "Waste Energy," IWSA, Washington, Date Unknown; Keep America Beautiful, Inc., "Overview: Solid Waste Disposal Alternatives," KAB, Inc., Stamford, Conn., April 1989).

Waste Wise:
A program initiated by EPA in 1994 to assist businesses in taking cost-effective actions to reduce solid waste through waste prevention, recycling collection, and buying or manufacturing recycled products. (Waste Wi$e; EPA's Voluntary Program for Reducing Business Solid Waste. U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, EPA530-F-93-018, October 1993).
 


 

 

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