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A guide to the jargon of the zero waste movement.

Zero Waste: Is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills and incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.

Precycle: The practice of reducing waste by attempting to avoid bringing items which will generate waste into home or business.

Upcycle: Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

Circular Economy:  Is a generic term for an industrial economy that is producing no waste and pollution, by design or intention, and in which material flows are of two types, biological nutrients, designed to reenter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients, which are designed to circulate at high quality in the production system without entering the biosphere as well as being restorative and regenerative by design.

Composite Material:  Is a material made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components. Diapers and juice boxes are made of composite materials, composite materials make it harder to recycle.

Organic Waste: Any waste which can be broken down into carbon dioxide, water, methane or simple organic molecules by micro-organisms and other living things using composting, aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion or similar processes.

Have any other terms that you would like to add? Let me know in the comments below!

Written by: Mollie Mac