|The breakdown of organic waste
in the absence of oxygen. Produces a useful biogas (mainly methane)
and a solid digestate that can be composted to produce a soil
| Aarhus Convention
|Aarhus Convention on Access to Information,
Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice
in Environment Matters
A UN Convention widely recognized as the world’s foremost
international instrument promoting access to environmental information,
public participation in environmental decision-making,and access
to justice in environmental matters.
The convention has been ratified by most European states and by
the EU itself. Ireland is a signatory of the convention but has
not yet ratified it. Click here
to view a simplified guide to the convention.
|The solid residue formed after something
is burned or incinerated.
|Changes to the design, manufacturing, packaging,
purchasing, and use of products so as to reduce or eliminate the
amount and toxicity of waste throughout the product life cycle.
|The decomposition of biodegradable waste,
in the presence of oxygen, to produce compost that improves soil
structure and enriches its nutrient content.
|Refers to a group of chemical compounds
from three closely-related families: dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs),
chlorinated dibenzofurans (CDFs) and polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs). One of the most well known (and most toxic) forms of dioxin
is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, or TCDD.
Dioxins are formed as a by-product of combustion processes such
as waste incineration and burning fuel.
Studies show that short-term exposure to high levels of dioxins
may result in skin and altered liver function. Long-term exposure
is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous
system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions. The International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorises dioxin as a “known
|Landfilling or incinerating waste that cannot
be eliminated, reused, or recycled. The lowest priority in the
| Fluidised bed incinerator
|An incinerator that uses a bed of hot sand
or other granular material to transfer heat directly to waste.
| Hazardous waste
|Waste that is dangerous, or capable of having
harmful effects on human health and the environment. For example,
flammable, explosive, oxidising, corrosive, toxic, ecotoxic, radioactive
or infectious materials.
|The burning of waste at high temperatures
in the presence of sufficient air to achieve complete combustion,
either to reduce its volume or its toxicity.
|Minimising any waste that cannot be prevented,
through cleaner production, reuse, or recycling.
|Preventing the creation of waste in the
first place is the top priority in the Waste Hierarchy. Key to
waste prevention is the concept of Cleaner Production. This involves
changes to the design, manufacturing, packaging, purchasing, and
use of products so as to reduce or eliminate the amount and toxicity
of waste throughout the product life cycle.
| Recover energy
|Recovering energy from waste, typically
by incineration. However, it is important to know that recycling
saves more energy that can be generated by incineration, and that
incineration is not the only way to transform waste to energy.
For example, using landfill gases as fuel, anaerobic digestion,
and composting are also waste-to-energy processes.
|Collecting and remanufacturing products
as the same thing or as part of a different product.
|Extending the life of a product by repairing,
modifying, or creating new uses for it, generally in its original
| Sustainable waste
|Using material resources efficiently to
cut down on the amount of waste produced. And, where waste is
generated, dealing with it in a way that actively contributes
to the economic, social and environmental goals of sustainable
| Thermal Inversion
|Thermal inversion occurs when a layer of
warm air settles over a layer of cooler air that lies near the
ground. The warm air holds down the cool air and prevents pollutants
from rising and scattering. Click here
for animated diagram.
| Waste Hierarchy
|This principle is at the heart of EU, National,
and County policy. It sets out a hierarchy of options for dealing
with waste, with prevention as the highest priority and disposal
(thermal treatment and landfill) as a last resort.
| Waste stream
|The flow of waste material from source to
| Zero Waste
|A goal that is being embraced by businesses
and governments worldwide – in particular, Canada, New Zealand,
Australia, and some US states. It aims to change the one-way flow
of materials through society to a circular system that ensures
that products are made to be reused, repaired, or recycled.