CalRecycle’s Green Glossary
Environmental Acronyms You May Not Know, but Should
MRF, GHG, EPR, CRV, and HHW—while these acronyms read like an environmentalist’s alphabet soup, they have important meanings. Since environmental issues affect all of us, it’s important that we know what they mean. Here’s a list of acronyms and their meanings.
CRV: California Redemption Value
The 5- or 10-cent “deposit” made when purchasing an eligible beverage container. Once eligible containers are returned to a certified recycling center, the customer receives his or her “deposit” back. Make sure not to cross state lines with the intention of collecting CRV in California if you bought beverage containers in another state—it’s illegal!
EJ: Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice means the fair treatment and equitable protection from environmental harm and fair access to environmental benefits, regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, race, income, or location. Socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods are historically and disproportionately affected by environmental harm. CalRecycle reaches out to communities and has a number of programs that work to protect disadvantaged neighborhoods from poor environmental conditions.
EPP: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Purchasing of goods and services while taking into consideration the environment and public health. These considerations may include distance traveled to distribute the product, energy used to create the product, amount of packaging considered to be excessive, and the product’s durability and recyclability, which could cut down on disposal.
EPR: Extended Producer Responsibility
The concept that manufacturers should be responsible for their product, or its remains, after it reaches the end of its useful life. For example, with extended producer responsibility you might be able to return used batteries so their manufacturer can dispose of them properly, or the packaging material used to ship a product, so the company can reuse it. Rather than relying solely on efforts to recycle our discards, EPR places responsibility on manufacturers to find innovative ways to reduce their waste. Read about EPR programs for carpet, paint, and mattresses in California.
GHG: Greenhouse Gas
Greenhouse gases are gases that absorb and emit energy from the sun and get trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane. Greenhouse gases can be produced as a result of human activities like driving, farming, and organic waste decomposition.
HHW: Household Hazardous Waste
Some items we use in our everyday lives, such as paint and motor oil, contain potentially hazardous materials that require special care when disposed. They’re not necessarily dangerous, but if spilled, broken, and/or disposed of improperly, they can contaminate the soil, water, and/or air in the surrounding environment.
MCR: Mandatory Commercial Recycling
In order to reduce GHG emissions (aren’t you glad you know what those are now?), businesses that make 4 cubic yards of waste or more per week (about the size of a standard dumpster) are required by law to recycle it by composting, reusing, or recycling.
MORe: Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling
Similar to MCR regulations, Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling refers to the requirements for businesses in California to recycle organic waste, or waste that is plant-or animal-based e.g. food, yard/garden waste, wood, paper, etc. Organic waste makes up more than a third of California’s waste stream, which decomposes in landfills creating GHG emissions that contribute to climate change. However, organics can be kept out of landfills and recycled into nutrient-rich compost instead.
MRF: Materials Recovery Facility
Pronounced “murf,” a materials recovery facility receives and sorts recyclable materials to sell to processors. MRFs can utilize a combination of manual and mechanical labor to sort materials. There are two types of MRFs: “dirty” and “clean.” Dirty MRFs sort through solid waste, e.g., your trash can, to recover any materials that might be recyclable. Clean MRFs sort through recyclables that have already been pre-separated from trash, usually by the consumer who has a curbside recycling bin.
RAC: Rubberized Asphalt Concrete
RAC is a road paving material made by blending ground-up recycled tires with asphalt to produce a binder, which is then mixed with conventional aggregate materials. It’s cost-effective, durable, safe, and quiet, besides being an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional road paving materials.
TDA: Tire-Derived Aggregate
A form of shredded scrap tires used for civil engineering projects like retaining walls and drainage systems. Since California alone generates more than 40 million waste tires, TDA is a constructive way to recycle tires that would otherwise end up in landfills or become fire and health hazards if disposed of improperly.