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Recycling Glossary

Baler - (vertical, horizontal, two-ram) compresses materials into dense rectangular bales which are tied with wire. Baling assists handling, storage and transportation of materials.

Black barrel – 90-gallon plastic residential garbage container with wheels, a handle and hinged lid, serviced with an automated sideloader.

Blue recycling barrel a plastic residential recycling container with wheels, a handle and hinged yellow lid, serviced with an automated sideloader.

C&D – construction and demolition debris.

Closed-loop recycling – recycling materials into their original form.

Commingle – to mix different recyclable materials in the same container.

Compactor – 10- to 40-cubic-yard closed containers in which debris is compressed to save space. There are two types: the break-away, in which the hydraulic compacting ram and container unit are separate pieces of equipment; and the self-contained, where the ram and container are one unit.

Crusher/blower – machine which flattens aluminum cans then pneumatically transfers the material to a trailer.

Dumpster – the trademarked name of a 2-, 3-, 4-, 6- or 8-cubic-yard commercial garbage container commonly made of steel (or sometimes aluminum or plastic), with a plastic lid, serviced with a front end loader truck.

EPA – the Environmental Protection Agency (federal government).

E-Scrap or E-Waste - electronic equipment such as computers, printers, televisions, etc. These contain hazardous components and should be disposed of at the County's Household Electronics & Chemical Collection Center.

FDEP – the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (state government).

Front End Loader – a commercial solid waste collection truck equipped with two hydraulic forks used to pick up and empty Dumpsters from the front.

Generator – a sector, such as residential or commercial, responsible for producing waste or recyclables.

Hazardous waste – corrosive, toxic, flammable and reactive substances that pose a threat to public health, safety and the environment. Hazardous materials include ni-cad batteries, oil-based paint, used motor oil and other automotive fluids, electronics, many pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, pool chemicals, solvents, fertilizers, fluorescent lamps, wood preservatives, HEC3, and mobile collections for disposal.

HEC3 - Household Electronics and Chemical Collection Center, a county-operated facility for the safe disposal of most household hazardous wastes and electronics. The facility also offers a Swap Shop where unused materials such as oven cleaners, latex paint and furniture polish can be picked up by residents for reuse at no charge.

HHW – household hazardous waste.

Integrated solid waste management – the management of municipal solid waste using all available means – disposal in a landfill, incineration, recycling, composting or mulching and a hazardous waste disposal program.

"Jaws" or grappel truck – a solid waste collection vehicle equipped with a clam bucket attached to a hydraulically-operated boom. Its purpose is to collect bulk materials (for instance, appliances, logs, large piles of yard waste) that are too heavy to be picked up by a solid waste worker or too large for standard rear end loader collection.

KAB – Keep America Beautiful, Inc., a non-profit organization whose network of local, statewide and international affiliate programs educate individuals about litter prevention and ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and properly manage waste materials.

KPB - Keep Pinellas Beautiful

Landfill, sanitary – a system of trash and garbage disposal in which the waste is buried between layers of earth to build up low-lying land. Pinellas County’s landfill is completely surrounded by a subsurface manmade clay wall keyed into a natural layer of impermeable clay, which prevents any contaminated water from leaving the site. Ash residue left from the incineration process at the WTE plant is used as daily landfill cover.

Long ton – 2,240 pounds. Ferrous metals (white goods, steel cans, etc.) are weighed in long or metric tons.

MRF – materials recovery facility.

MSW - municipal solid waste.

NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard, a common public response to proposed public or private construction projects such as landfills and WTE plants.

OCC – old corrugated cardboard.

ONP – old newsprint.

OP – office paper.


  • PET (coded #1) – polyethylene terephthalate, a common plastic resin used in beverage containers;
  • HDPE (coded #2) – high-density polyethylene, a resin commonly used for milk and water jugs, plastic grocery and trash bags;
  • PVC or V (coded #3) - polyvinyl chloride or vinyl, used for film, plumbing pipes and auto products;
  • LDPE (coded #4) - low-density polyethylene, commonly used in bread and frozen food bags, dairy container lids caps;
  • PP (coded #5) – polypropylene, used for food wraps, yogurt cups, margarine lids, many non-food items;
  • PS (coded #6) – polystyrene, used for foam meat trays, coffee cups, egg cartons, fast food containers;
  • Other (coded #7) – all other plastics such as multi-layer packaging, polycarbonate and ABS, often used to make durable goods like cookware, lamp housings, name plates, automotive trim, bathtubs and computer housings.

Post-consumer waste – waste remaining after consumers use a product. Examples include bottles, food wrappers, newspaper, office paper and many other items.

Pre-consumer waste – manufacturing waste that does not reach the consumer as a useful product. Also called process waste.

Putrescible – liable to rot or decompose, the best example being food waste.

Rear End Loader – a traditional solid waste collection truck loaded manually from the rear, used for collection of yard waste, junk and miscellaneous trash.

Recycle – to divert useful materials from the disposal stream for processing, sale to an end user, and reintroduction into the economy as a remanufactured or new product.

RFT – Recycle Florida Today, Inc., an association dedicated to promoting successful recycling in the state of Florida.

Roll-off – a 10- to 40-cubic-yard open top container used for collecting C&D, remodeling debris and other bulk waste. Roll-offs are transported with a special vehicle which uses hydraulics to roll the container on and off the truck.

Short ton – 2,000 pounds. Materials such as cardboard, newspaper, aluminum and plastics are weighed in short tons.

Sideloader – an automated residential solid waste collection truck with a hydraulic arm used to pick up and dump black barrels and blue barrels.

Single stream recycling- a method of recycling that makes it easier to recycle more by eliminating the need for sorting and separating recyclables at the curb. All recyclables are collected in a wheeled-cart, with a lid, by a recycling-only truck and are transported to a sorting facility.

Source reduction – an action to reduce waste at the point of generation. Source reduction strategies include reuse, recycling and composting.

SWANA – the Solid Waste Association of North America, a large international trade association (7,000 members) which represents the solid waste and recycling industry. The local SWANA affiliate is the Florida Sunshine Chapter, with 600 members.

Transfer trailer – large trailers used to haul compacted garbage from the transfer station to the WTE plant.

Transfer station – facility at which solid waste trucks dump their loads in a pit. The garbage is then compacted and pushed into large tractor trailers for transportation to the WTE plant.

UBC – used (aluminum) beverage cans.

Waste reduction – actions that reduce waste, such as package design, double-sided copying, recycling.

White goods – large enameled appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, etc.). In Clearwater, white goods are usually collected using "jaws" trucks.

WTE (or RTE) – waste-to-energy or refuse-to-energy. A power plant (such as Pinellas County’s) that uses municipal solid waste as part or all of its fuel supply. In Pinellas, the incineration of around 3,000 tons of waste per day produces energy which is sold to Progress Energy, and used to provide electricity to 40,000 homes in the county.