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Commonly Used Terms


Term Explanation
Airspace The remaining capacity of a licensed landfill.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) Biological breakdown by microorganisms of organic matter, in the absence of oxygen, into biogas (a mixture of carbon dioxide and methane) and digestate (a nutrient-rich residue).
Beneficiation An optical sorting process used to separate different colours of container glass to produce cullet for reprocessing and mixed fines.
Landfill BEPM:


Best Practice Environmental Management (BEPM) Landfill facility management in line with EPA publication in Best Practice Environmental Management – siting, design, operation and rehabilitation of landfills.
Biogas A gas generated by breaking down organic matter in the absence of oxygen, such as occurs in landfills. Biogas is typically comprised of 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide, and can be used as an energy source.
Biomass Biological material that is not fossilised, including forest and mill residues, agricultural crops and waste, wood and wood waste, animal waste, livestock operation residues, aquatic plants, fast growing trees and plants.
Biosolids Biosolids are organic solids derived from waste water treatment processes that can be managed to sustainably utilise their nutrient, soil conditioning, energy, or other value The solids that do not meet these criteria are defined as sewage sludge.
Buffer zone Buffer zones, or separation distances, aim to minimise the off-site impacts of sensitive land uses arising from unintended, industry generated odour and dust emissions.

A buffer zone is an area of land outside the operating area of a facility that is set aside to maintain an adequate distance between the facility and sensitive land uses (such as residential development) so those uses are not adversely affected by noise, odour or dust. The land may or may not be owned by the facility owner.

Category C Contaminated Soil Refer to Prescribed waste and prescribed industrial waste (PIW)
Collection system System for collecting materials from the kerbside, including bin type and collection frequency.
Commingled recyclables Materials combined generally for the purposes of collection, mainly through municipal collection services. Includes plastic bottles, other plastics, paper, glass and metal containers. Commingled recyclable materials require sorting after collection before they can be recycled. Can also be called commingled materials.
Commercial and industrial (C&I) waste Solid inert waste generated from trade, commercial and industrial activities including the government sector. It can include waste from offices, manufacturing, factories, schools, universities, state and government operations and small to medium enterprises e.g. food waste.
Composting The process of organic materials microbiological transformation under controlled aerobic conditions to create a pasteurised and stabilised organic product for application to suitable landuse.
Construction and demolition (C&D) waste Solid inert waste generated from residential and commercial construction and also includes demolition activities e.g. bricks and concrete.
Clean fill Material that has no known harmful effects on the environment. This material is a natural soil material and does not contain any chemicals or other materials such as concrete rubble. Also referred to as fill material.
Cullet Sorted glass feedstock resulting from the process (beneficiation) of mixed container glass. Generally consists of sorted streams of amber, flint and green glass of particle size greater that 5–10 mm depending on the capacity of the beneficiation plant.
Daily cover The layer of compressed soil or earth which is laid on top of a day’s deposition of waste on an operational landfill site. The cover helps prevent interaction between waste and air, reducing odours and creating a firm base for vehicles to work on.
Delamination The process of splitting a composite material into its component parts e.g. laminated glass.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) The Victorian Government state department providing policy planning, preparation of legislative amendments, leadership coordination and oversight of the environment portfolio.
Digestate The nutrient-rich residue remaining after anaerobic digestion of a biodegradable feedstock.
Drop-off centre/site Facility where households can drop-off selected materials and household items for recycling and reuse. Also referred to as drop-off facilities.
E-waste Electronic Waste (e-waste) comprises of electronic equipment with a plug or battery that requires a current to operate and that has reached end of it’s intended purpose. Includes goods such as televisions, computers, monitors and whitegoods such as fridges and washing machines.
Energy from waste The terms ‘energy recovery from waste’, ‘waste to energy’ or ‘energy from waste’ can be used interchangeably to describe a number of treatment processes and technologies used to generate a usable form of energy from waste materials.

Examples of usable forms of energy include electricity, heat and transport fuels.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Established under the auspices of the Environment Protection Act 1970, EPA’s role is to be an effective environmental regulator and an influential authority on environmental impacts.
Feedstock Raw material used to manufacture products. Material varies depending on what is being produced. Often referred to a volume measurement.
Fines (glass) Unsorted sub 5–10 mm glass material left over from the glass beneficiation process. It can contain contamination including plastics and small pieces of metals. These fines can be further processed to produce a glass sand product which has a number of potential uses.
Food organics Food waste from households or industry, including food processing waste, out-of-date or off-specification food, meat, fruit and vegetable scraps. Excludes liquid wastes.
Garden organics Organics derived from garden sources e.g. grass clippings, tree prunings. Also referred to as green organics.
Gasification Thermal technology that converts material into combustible gases by partial oxidation under the application of heat, leaving an inert residue.
Hard waste The term applied to household garbage that is not usually accepted into the municipal kerbside garbage bins e.g. old fridges and mattresses.
Incinerator Site that facilitates the disposal of waste streams through incineration without producing another useful end product or capturing value from the waste material.
Hubs The concentration ‘hub’ of reprocessing facilities where there is sufficient waste derived feedstock to support viable reprocessing options. The location of hubs will vary for individual material streams.
Illegal dumping Illegal dumping is the deliberate and unauthorised dumping, tipping or burying of waste on land that is not licensed or fit to accept that waste.
In-vessel composting Composting technology involving the use of a fully enclosed chamber or vessel in which the composting process is controlled by regulating the rate of mechanical aeration. Aeration assists in heat removal, temperature control and oxygenation of the mass. Rate of aeration can be controlled with temperature, oxygen or carbon dioxide feedback signals.
Kerbside waste/collection Waste collected by municipal councils from residential properties, including garbage, commingled recyclables and garden organics, exclusive of hard waste.
Landfill Discharge or deposit of solid wastes onto land that cannot be practically removed from the waste stream.
Landfill levy A levy applied at differential rates to municipal, C&I and prescribed wastes disposed of at licensed landfills in Victoria. Landfill levies are used solely for the purposes of environment protection and fostering environmentally sustainable use of resources and best practice in waste management. They fund the activities of WRRGs, SV and EPA, helping to establish waste management infrastructure, industry waste reduction programs, education programs, regulatory controls and enforcement regimes. Levies also provide an incentive to minimise the generation of waste, sending a signal to industry that the government supports efforts to develop alternatives to disposal to landfill.
Leachate Contaminated water that has percolated through or drained from a landfill.
Litter Any small, medium or large item placed inappropriately.
Materials recovery facility (MRF) A centre for the receipt, sorting and transfer of materials recovered from the waste stream. At a MRF, materials are also sorted by type and treatment, which may include cleaning and compression.
Mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant MBT plants combine mechanical sorting (such as in a MRF) with biological treatment of organic waste to process residual organic waste. Material remaining after treatment (often referred to as ‘digestate’) can be added to compost or used as fuel in a thermal waste-to-energy facility.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) Solid waste generated from municipal and residential activities, and including waste collected by, or on behalf of, a municipal council. MSW does not refer to waste delivered to municipal disposal sites by commercial operators or waste from municipal demolition projects.
Open windrow composting operation A type of outdoor composting process where organic materials are piled in to windrows and are turned for aeration.
Optical sorting Technologies used to sort glass by colour type, and plastics by polymer type.
Organic material Plant or animal matter originating from domestic or industrial sources e.g. grass clippings, tree prunings and food waste.
Prescribed waste and

prescribed industrial waste (PIW)

These wastes are defined in the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009. EPA closely regulates these wastes because of their potential adverse impacts on human health and environment. Prescribed wastes carry special handling, storage, transport and often licensing requirements, and attract substantially higher disposal levies than non-prescribed solid wastes. Also referred to as hazardous waste.
Process derived fuels Also called process engineered fuel (PEF) or refuse derived fuel (RDF) is a fuel produced after basic processing in a MRF or MBT to increase the calorific value and remove recyclable materials and contaminants of municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial waste, and construction and demolition waste.
Processing facilities Facilities which either receive materials directly from collection systems or from recovery facilities for further sorting and/or processing to provide material for use in the generation of new products.
Product stewardship A concept of shared responsibility by all sectors involved in the manufacture, distribution, use and disposal of products, which seeks to ensure value is recovered from products at the end of life.
Public place recycling Public place recycling (PPR)facilities found in public areas, such as parks, reserves, transport hubs, shopping centres and sport and entertainment venues that allow the community to recycle on site.
Putrescible waste Waste that readily decomposes, including food waste and organic waste from gardens.
Pyrolysis Thermal breakdown of waste in the absence of air, to produce char, pyrolysis oil and syngas e.g. the conversion of wood into charcoal.
Recyclables While this term strictly applies to all materials that may be recycled, generally used to refer to the recyclable containers and paper/cardboard component of kerbside waste e.g. it excludes garden organics.
Recycling A term that may be used to cover a wide range of activities, including collection, sorting, reprocessing and manufacture into new products.
Reprocessing Changing the physical structure and properties of a diverted waste material that would otherwise have gone to landfill; adding financial value to the processed material.
Resale centre/shop A centre/shop that enables the sale and subsequent re-use of good quality, saleable products and materials that were disposed of by their previous owner.
Residual waste Residual material that remains after any source separation or reprocessing activities of recyclable materials or garden organics. Waste that is left over after suitable materials have been recovered for reuse and recycling. The environmental or economic costs of further separating and cleaning the waste are greater than any potential benefit of doing so.
Resource recovery The process of obtaining matter or energy from discarded materials. Occurs at resource recovery centres.
Resource recovery centre Facilities established to receive and/or recover re-usable and recyclable materials that would otherwise be destined for disposal. Can be combined with a transfer station and may include resale centres.
Sectors, industry sectors Groupings of industries used to generalise patterns in waste generation and disposal e.g. construction and demolition, food services including food retail and food manufacturing, small to medium enterprises.
Shredder floc Residue directly arising from large scale shredding operations to recover metals. Shredded material includes, but is not limited to, end of life vehicles, white goods, machineries, drums and corrugated material.
Social licence to operate The concept of a ‘social licence to operate’ has evolved from corporate social responsibility and is based on the idea that a business not only needs appropriate government or regulatory approval but also a ‘social licence to operate’. The social licence is the acceptance that is continually granted to industry and facility operators by the local community or other stakeholders to operate.
Solid industrial waste (SIW) Solid waste generated from commercial, industrial or trade activities, including waste from factories, offices, schools, universities, state and federal government operations and commercial construction and demolition work. Excludes MSW, wastes that are prescribed under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and quarantine wastes.
Solid waste Non-hazardous, non-prescribed, solid waste materials, ranging from municipal garbage to industrial waste.
Source separation The practice of segregating materials into discrete material streams prior to collection by, or delivery to, processing facilities.
Spokes The sequence of activities that move materials from waste generators to (and from) hubs e.g. collection, transport and sorting. The length of the spoke and hence the location of the hub for a particular material stream is influenced by the impact of transport on the margin of return for that particular material stream.
Stockpiling Storage of waste materials.
Sustainability Victoria (SV) Statutory authority established in October 2005. SV works across the areas of energy, waste and water with communities, industries and government applying the best ideas and encouraging action to enable change in environmental practices.
Transfer station A facility allowing the drop-off and consolidation of garbage and a wide range of recyclable materials. Can be combined with a resource recovery centre and may include resale centres, and do not undertake processing activities.
Waste Any discarded, rejected, unwanted, surplus or abandoned matter, including where intended for recycling, reprocessing, recovery, purification or sale.

Anything that is no longer valued by its owner for use or sale and which is, or will be, discarded. In this document, the term ‘solid waste’ refers to non-hazardous, nonprescribed, solid waste materials ranging from municipal garbage to industrial waste.

Waste and resource recovery group (WRRG) Barwon South West WRRG is one of the seven statutory authorities established under the Environment Protection Act 1970   responsible for preparing the Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plans.
Waste and Resource Recovery Planning Framework The planning framework as defined in the amendments to the Environment Protection Act 1970
Waste management industry Applies to those involved in managing waste e.g. collectors, sorters, processors and landfill operators.
Waste minimisation The concept of, and strategies for, waste generation to be kept to a minimum level in order to reduce the requirement for waste collection, handling and disposal to landfill. Also referred to as waste avoidance.