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This glossary of terms was compiled from a wide range of sources and covers some of the most commonly used waste-related words and abbreviations.

Please select a letter from the A-Z index to find the definition of a term.

A-Z index
Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide (or CO2) is a greenhouse gas that is released from the waste in landfill sites and contributes to climate change.
Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
CIWM is the leading professional body for waste and resource management. Visit for more information.
Civic Amenity Site
See Recycling Centre.
Climate Change
The term climate change is commonly used to mean global warming, but it also includes natural changes in the Earth’s climate. Climate change refers to the build-up of man-made gases in the atmosphere that trap the sun’s heat, causing changes in weather patterns on a global scale. Effects include changes in rainfall patterns, sea level rise, potential droughts, habitat loss, and heat stress.
Clinical Waste
Includes waste from the dental, medical, nursing, pharmaceutical and veterinary industries, which is usually incinerated to prevent the spread of infection.
Combined Heat & Power (CHP)
A CHP plant provides simultaneous generation of heat and power (usually electricity) in a single process.
Commercial Waste
Waste generated from commercial premises, ie those that are used primarily for trade, business, sport, recreation or entertainment.
Community Recycling Network for Scotland (CRNS)
The CRNS is a membership organisation set up to provide support and information for community led groups involved in recycling, reuse, composting, reduction and waste education activities. Visit for more information.
A material which, when applied to land, improves soil structure and enriches the nutrient content.
A process by which biodegradable material, such as garden waste, is converted, in the presence of oxygen from the air, into compost.
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA)
CoSLA is the representative voice of Scottish local government and also acts as the employers’ association on behalf of all Scottish councils. Visit for more information.
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