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Abatement Technology means technologies for reduction or lessoning of pollution, and can include both cleaner production and end of pipe technologies

Acid Rain
Atmospheric drops combine with a range of chemical pollutants such as carbon and sulphur dioxide to form rain, mist or snow that is more acid than normal. It can cause damage to plants many thousands of kilometres away from where it formed.

Activities are actions, processes operations or services in the workplace that must be carried out in order to achieve objectives.

Aerosols are particles of matter, solid or liquid, larger than a molecule but small enough to remain suspended in the atmosphere. Natural sources include salt particles from sea spray and clay particles as a result of weathering of rocks, both of which are carried upward by the wind. Aerosols from human activities are often considered pollutants.

AFL-CIO is the US equivalent of Britain's TUC, the organisation that brings together most trade unions.

Agenda 21 is the name of the agreement signed by most countries at the Rio Conference in 1992. "Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems of today and also aims at preparing the world for the challenges of the next century. It reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment co-operation."

Agribusiness is where the culture and skills have been taken out of agriculture and replaced by business connections. The farm becomes a sandwich with the business interests of the input, fertiliser and pesticide, companies and the output control of retailers and major food industries.

Agrochemicals are chemicals such as pesticides and fertilisers produced by major chemical companies - the input agribusiness, and applied to farmland.

Alkinisation is a form of salinisation where the water contains sodium or sodium salts causing the soil to disintegrate completely and become rock-hard waste.

AQS is the Air Quality Strategy introduced in the Environmental Act 1995. This strategy sets levels for nine pollutants, to protect human health or the environment.

Around the earth there is an envelope of gases held by gravity. The gases are mainly nitrogen and oxygen, together with elements of inert gases hydrogen, ozone, radon, and carbon dioxide. There are different layers - the troposphere nearest the earth, then the stratosphere up to 50 kilometres, then the mesosphere, the thermosphere, and the ionosphere out to about 400 km.

Originally an 'eco-audit' was a workplace inspection looking for environmental effects of the work. This meaning can often be heard in Europe today. Nowadays, the word is closer to the meaning of a financial audit.

An environmental management system audit is part of all environment management system. It is a systematic and documented verification process of objectively obtaining and evaluating evidence to determine whether an organisation's environmental management system conforms to the environmental management system criteria set by an organisation, and for communication of the results of this process to management. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.6)

Authorisationscontain conditions on both the quality and quantity of effluent permitted. See Consents.

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BATNEEC is the Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Cost. Many companies have to demonstrate they are using BATNEEC in order to be authorised to operate. BATNEEC strikes a balance between the best available technology and what the sector of industry can generally afford. BATNEEC is not applicable in Scotland.

Benchmarking involves comparing the measures in your organisation for certain factors with those in a similar organisation as a way to set and understand your own standards.

Biodegradable materials are those that can be broken down, usually by micro organisms. Most organic wastes such as food and paper are biodegradable

Biodiversity is the wealth of life on earth. It refers to the millions of plants, animals, and micro-organisms, their genes and the relationships they build into the living environment

Biofuels are those fuels derived from organic matter, such as plants, wood and their immediate by-products. The term also includes fuel produced by the action of micro-organisms on waste products like dung, compost and municipal rubbish

Biogeochemical cycles
They are the global cycles of nutrient elements between living organisms and non-living (geological) environment, ie soil, water, rocks and air. An example is the carbon cycle

Biological control is control of pests by the introduction of other living things, rather than pesticides, into their environment.

Biological diversity (Biodiversity) means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Biomass is the total mass of living matter occupying any given area or ecological unit. Also used to describe fuel from living sources.

Biomass energy is energy in the form of gaseous and liquid fuels, heat and electricity derived from organic matter of plant and animal origin. Traditional sources of biomass consist of agricultural and forestry residues and waste from animal husbandry. New biomass sources include specifically grown energy crops, particularly short rotation coppice (SRC) of willow or poplar

Biomes are characterised by a dominant vegetation and defined by the species within them. Examples include the desert biome and the rainforest biome.

Biomimicry copies nature, in terms of processes, cycles or laws, for the benefit of production e.g. from butterflies to banknotes

Biosphere is the sum of all ecosystems

Biotechnology means any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.

BOD Biological Oxygen Demand
This is the amount of oxygen taken from the water by all processes - mainly biological. Some pollutants demand this oxygen, thereby depriving other biological processes.

BPEO is Best practicable Environmental Option and relates to the disposal or dispersal with the lowest environmental impact in the long term. The aim of BPEO is: "to find the optimum combination of available methods of disposal so as to limit damage to the environment to the greatest extent achievable for a reasonable and acceptable total combined costs to industry and the public purse"

Brown Agenda is a people-centred approach that believes the rich consume too much, placing pressure on the environment, and the poor fall back on natural resources to meet their needs, degrading the environment. Alleviating poverty thus helps the environment.

Brownfield sites are those that have previously been developed and now lie idle. The name contrasts with "Greenfield" sites, which are sites being developed on agricultural or green belt land..

Bund is an enclosure designed to hold at least 110% of the contents of a liquid storage vessel, tank or drums without their being able to escape. Bunds are usually made of concrete or masonry but can be metal.

By-product synergy is an aspect of the eco-efficiency approach. It entails using the by-products and wastes of one industry as the raw materials and resources for another. It is the synergy among diverse industries, agriculture, and communities resulting in profitable conversion of by-products and wastes to resources promoting sustainability.

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Capacity building is the development of the skills and activities of individuals in an organisation to their full capacity. It means investment made with the purpose of enhancing the ability of individuals to achieve their development goals.

Capitals Model is the basis for a new generation of management tools that link the following capitals:

  • Finance Capital reflects the productive power of other types of capital and enables them to be owned or traded.

  • Natural Capital is any stock or flow of energy and matter that yields valuable goods and services that includes resources, some of which are renewable (timber grain fish water) whilst others are not fossil fuels) sinks which absorb neutralise or recycle wastes and process such as climate regulation. Natural capital is the basis not only of production but of life itself.

  • Human Capital consists of our health knowledge skills and motivation Investing in human capital for instance through education - is vital for a flourishing economy. Failure to invest generates poverty which is both orally indefensible and socially inefficient in that it prevents millions of people from fulfilling their potential and becoming engaged in the creation of wealth.

  • Social Capital is the value added to nay activity by human relationships and co-operation. It is located in social structures or institutions such as families, communities, businesses, trade unions,, schools, and voluntary organisations

  • Manufactured Capital comprises material goods - tools machines, buildings and other forms of infrastructure which contribute - which contribute to the production process, but are not used up in it. Capitalism is the name for a society based on the ownership of manufacturing capital to control the means of production
Carbon cycle is the route taken by the element carbon in its cyclical movement between living organisms and the non-living environment. The element combines with other elements to make larger molecules needed for living tissues. It is a vital nutrient constantly recycled through the water, air and land using living things as the transport system.

Carbon dioxide is produced whenever fossil fuels or wood are burnt. Each tonne of oil burnt produces over 3 tonnes of CO2. Road transport and electricity generation rely on the burning of fossil fuels releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the UK 50% of emissions come from private cars with fossil-fuel power stations making up most of the remainder. In the developing world it is estimated that four billion tonnes of carbon are released into the atmosphere from deforestation by cutting and burning.

Carcinogens are agents, usually chemical, that promote cancer.

Carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals of a defined species that a given environment can support over the long term. The notion of limits is fundamental to the concept of carrying capacity. However, our limited understanding of complex, non-linear systems leads to uncertainty in calculating carrying capacity in relation to humans. Some argue that the concept is meaningless as free market conditions and technological innovation can extend limits indefinitely

CFCs are Chloroflourocarbons These are compounds that were seen as very useful compounds that could be used in a number of ways and were very stable. They have now been found to degrade ozone in the outer atmosphere and to contribute to global warming.

Chemical energy is the form of energy that changes in a chemical reaction; e.g. when natural gas burns, chemical energy is transformed into heat.

Chemical weathering is the breakdown of rocks by chemical action e.g. limestone is dissolved by rainwater containing carbon dioxide.

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Cleaner Production is the continuous application of an integrated preventive environmental strategy to processes and products in order to reduce risks to human and the environment. For production processes, cleaner production includes conserving raw materials, water and energy, eliminating toxic raw materials and reducing the quantity and toxicity of all emissions and wastes into water and into the atmosphere, and of waste. For products, the strategy focuses on reducing all impacts during the entire life cycle of the product, from raw material extraction to the ultimate disposal of the product. Cleaner production requires applying know-how, improving technology and changing of attitudes.

Clean Development Mechanism is an instrument of the International Climate Policy following the Kyoto Protocol that could ideally reward countries funding clean technologies in developing countries.

Climate Change (also referred to as 'global climate change') is sometimes used to refer to all forms of climatic inconsistency, but because the Earth's climate is never static, the term is more properly used to imply a significant change from one climatic condition to another. In some cases, 'climate change' has been used synonymously withthe term, 'global warming'; scientists however, tend to use the term in the wider sense to also include natural changes in climate. Climate change definitions

Clinical Waste - healthcare waste or healthcare risk waste - is classified as industrial waste for legislative purposes. Handlers of clinical waste are also subject to the duty of care provisions in section 34 of the EPA. Most clinical waste is also subject to the Special Waste Regulations 1996. The Controlled Waste Regulations 1992 define clinical waste as:

  • Any waste which consists wholly or partly of human or animal tissue, blood or other body fluids, excretions, drugs or other pharmaceutical products, swabs or dressings, syringes, needles or other sharp instruments, being waste which unless rendered safe may provide hazardous to any person coming into contact with it, and

  • Any other waste arising from medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, pharmaceutical or similar practice, investigation, treatment, care, teaching or research, or the collection of blood for transfusion, being waste which may cause infection to any persons coming into contact with it.
COD is short for Chemical oxygen demand, a test that measures the potential capacity for a microorganism to react with oxygen.

Common but Differentiated Responsibility is a Principle of Rio Declaration. It says: "States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global degradation States have common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and the technologies and financial resources they command" (Principle 7)

Commercial Waste includes waste from: offices, showrooms, hotels, private garages (more than 25 sq m), club/social premises, markets or fairs, courts, government departments, local and central government premises, corporate bodies, tents on land other than camp sites.

Community is the collection of organisms (of various species of plant and animal groups or people) that live together in a particular habitat or area.

Competency is the set of skills and attitudes, described in terms of behaviours, which can be observed and which is essential for effective environmental performance. Competence is the ability to perform in the workplace to the standards required.(MCI NVQ 4)

Compliance is meeting the required standards, specifications, procedures or law.

Consent is a type of permit or authorisation: Discharge consents for discharge of trade effluent to controlled waters are issued by the Environmental Agency or Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. Trade effluent discharge consents are issued by the sewerage undertaker (England & Wales) or water authorities (Scotland) allowing discharge of trade effluent to public sewer.

Conservation of mass, law of This states that mass is conserved in chemical reaction: the mass of the reactions is equal to the mass of the products. Nuclear reactions may appear to, but do not, break this law (see below).

Conservation off energy, law of This states that the total amount of energy in a physical system is always constant ie energy can neither be created or destroyed. Some or all of the energy may be converted from one form into another.

Conservation recognises that natural communities of plants and animals are not static and it involves preventing any development that would alter or destroy natural habitat but not interfering unduly with ecological changes that occur naturally.

Consultation is asking others for their views and involving them openly in decision-making. A more strict legal definition, as found in the Health and Safety at Work Act, requires employers to inform employee representatives of proposals, and be give them the chance to respond, and take note of their response, without necessarily any commitment to do anything about the response. See also negotiation

Consumption capacity is a term employed in the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 1999 with respect to organic solvents used by certain processes. It means the amount of organic solvent that a company has the potential to use if it were working at the extreme capacity to do business with its current equipment.

Contaminated land is land contaminated as a result of past or current pollution by substances that could give rise to damage to the health of living organisms (including humans, animals, fish, plants etc.), habitats, crops, controlled waters and buildings.

Continual Improvement involves the identifying areas for improvement, developing and implementing plans for improvement evaluating the results and using the findings to develop further improvements (MCI NVQ 4). It is the process of enhancing the environmental management system to achieve improvements in overall environmental performance in line with the organisation’s environmental policy. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.1).

Controlled Waste includes waste from domestic, industrial and commercial premises as well as special waste for which there are additional regulations. (EPA Part II 1992)

Controlled waters are rivers, streams, estuaries, canals, lakes, ponds, ditches and groundwater as far out as the UK territorial limit. Most legislation relating to discharges of effluent (other than to sewer) applies to controlled waters. The statutory definition of controlled waters is given in the Water Resources Act 1991, section 104 (1) and COPA 1974 section 30A (d).

Conventions are agreements made between minimum number of states within the United Nations governing various environmental impacts. They are now called Multilateral Environmental Agreements - MEAs

CoP is the Conference of Parties (Nations) which have ratified the UN Conventions. The primary role of the CoP is to keep the implementation of the Convention under review and to take the decisions necessary for the effective implementation of the Convention.

Corporate Social Responsibility is the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life. (Source:
World Business Council for Sustainable Development)

Credits are real and quantifiable reductions in a source’s emissions (sulphur, nitrogen or carbon oxides) that can be used for market-based trading solutions for environmental control. See www.emissions.org The world’s first exchange-traded market in carbon credits is Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE).

Cumulative is the act of accumulation that acquires or increases by successive additions, or by “heaping on” - as opposed to organic growth. Persistent chemicals often accumulate in parts of the food chain.

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Dematerialisation: Companies are beginning to reduce the physical materials that go into the manufacture, delivery and use of their products. Sometimes it just means use, others it means redesigning products so that components can be recaptured for reuse or recycling at the end of their useful lives.

Deplete is an environmental word for the decrease of a finite resource.

Desertification is the ultimate stage in the process of unnatural land degradation, when the fertility of the its soil has been completely and irreversibly destroyed.

Dioxins are a group of 80 or so chlorinated compounds that occur as contaminants of a number of industrial processes involving chlorinated substances. One dioxin, TCDD, is one of the most toxic compounds known and was found as a contaminant of 245T weedkiller, called 'Agent Orange' in Vietnam. It was also released over the town of Seveso in Italy in 1976 after an explosion in a local factory. It is now the subject of European controls.

Dispersion is the movement of individuals away from each other. It applies to both organisms and molecules of pollutant, which become less concentrated further from the source.

Discharge is the flow of surface water in a stream or canal or the outflow of ground water from a flowing artesian well, ditch, or spring. Can also apply to discharge of liquid effluent from a facility or to chemical emissions into the air through designated venting mechanisms.

Discounting is the implicit weighting in favour of the present over the future.

Dumping has two meanings. One is the everyday use of throwing away rubbish in an unofficial landfill. This term has been extended to the habit of developed countries distributing excess and unwanted products (in particular food and chemicals) very cheaply on developing countries.

Duty of Care A duty of care applies to anybody who carries, keeps, treats, or disposes of waste, or who acts as a third party and arranges matters such as imports or disposal. They must ensure that nobody in the chain commits an offence regarding waste

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Eco-efficiency is the efficiency with which environmental resources are used to meet human needs and can help achieve the aim of maximising benefits while minimising risks.

Eco-footprint is the area of land and water required to support a defined economy or population at a specified standard of living. Industrialized economies are considered to require far more land than they have, thus, through trade, impacting on resources in other countries. Also known as 'appropriated carrying capacity', this concept also incorporates the distributional aspects of sustainable production and consumption.

Ecology is the study of communities of living organisms and the relationships among the members of those communities and between them and the physical and chemical constituents of their surroundings.

Ecological rucksack is the total weight of material flow 'carried by' an item of consumption in the course of its life cycle. Like the ecological footprint, the ecological rucksack concept deals with displaced environmental impacts but has a more technical focus. It is concerned with reducing material intensity and resource inefficiency

Economic instruments can be broadly defined as policy tools which take advantage of market principles to achieve their objectives

Ecospace is the capacity of the environment to support human activities by regenerating renewable resources and absorbing waste. The boundaries of environmental utilization space are determined by the patterns and level of economic activity. Allocating ecospace at a national or per capita level can illustrate present inequities.

Ecosystems are systems in which organisms interact with each other and with their environment. According to the originator o the term, there are two parts; the entire complex of organisms (biome) living in harmony and the habitat in which the biome exists.

EDCs are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, and are sometimes called "gender benders" in the popular press. They disrupt hormones, including sex hormones, at very low concentrations.

El Nino is a climatic phenomenon occurring irregularly, but generally every 3 to 5 years. El Ninos often first become evident during the Christmas season (El Nino means Christ child) in the surface oceans of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The phenomenon involves seasonal changes in the direction of the tropical winds over the Pacific and abnormally warm surface ocean temperatures. The relationship between these events and global weather patterns are the subject of much research in order to predict seasonal/annual fluctuations in the climate.

Electrical energy. Fundamentally, this is the form of energy that a charged particle has by virtue of its position. Electrical energy is converted in, for eg electrical appliances.

Electromagnetic spectrum is the complete spectrum of electromagnetic waves. It extends from the comparatively long-wavelength radio waves, through microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation and X-rays, to the comparatively short-wavelength y-rays [wrong symbol]

Emissions is the release of a substance into the atmosphere

Employee Involvement refers to internal communication, training and assignment of responsibilities in job descriptions, as outlined in EMAS.

Employee Participation in environmental protection means the involvement and empowerment of employees in helping management to improve their company’s impact on the environment. The United Nations recommended to "educate staff on the ways in which sustainable development affects their firm and how they can utilise these criteria in their specific tasks'

'End-of-pipe' equipment is that used to treat, handle, measure or dispose of emissions and wastes from production. This contrasts with "Integrated" equipment.

Energy is the measure of the ability to do work

Energy Coeft is the ratio between the rate of increase of GDP and the increasing use of energy

Energy conversion is the transformation of energy from one form into one or more other forms.

Energy of the environment (earth science) is the energy of the transporting medium. This is the most important factor governing the transport and sorting of particles, and whether a particle of a given size will be transported or not.

Environment is the “surroundings in which an organisation operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans and their interrelation. Surroundings in this context extend from within the organisation to the global system. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.2)

Environment Agency was established in the UK in …plus web page..

Environmental Aspect is any aspect of an organisation's activities, products or services that can interact with the environment. A significant aspect is an environmental aspect that has or can have a significant environmental impact. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.3)

Environmental Agreements are voluntary agreements between industry and public authorities in the achievement of environmental objectives

Environmental Assessment is the process undertaken at the planning stage of a new company project of estimating the environmental consequences of the scheme. Law now often requires it.

Environmental Awareness aims to create general awareness of environmental issues, their causes and solutions by bringing about changes in perception.

Environmental Condition Indicator (ECI) is the specific expression that provides information about the local, national or global condition of the environment. (ISO 14031: 1999 definition 3.3)

Environmental Consequence is the assessment criteria used to determine the environmental impact rating. Any consequence rating is based around the environmental impact of the relevant aspect while taking into account the site setting and sensitivity.

Environmental Debt is the cost of restoring previous environmental damage as well as the cost of recurring restoration measures. Unless measures are taken to alleviate environmental degradation, environmental debt continues to rise and the burden is transferred to future generations. Some environmental damage such as species extinction is not restorable, and therefore cannot be included in the environmental debt.

Environmental Effect is any direct or indirect impingement of the activities, products or service of the organisation upon the environment whether adverse or beneficial. Work affects the environment, the result of which is an environmental effect. Effects became replaced between BS7750 and ISO 14001 by impacts.

Environmental Engagement is a self assessed measure of the strengths and weaknesses in management approach of an organisation, and has been developed into an Index of the top FTSE 100 companies by Business in the Environment.

Environmental Impact is the change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, which wholly or partly result from the organisation’s activities. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.4)

Environmental Impact Rating is the scoring system use for assessing the significance of any identified environmental aspects associated with processes and activities.

Environmental Management is he organised effort of all functions of an organisation with the main objective of enabling it to comply with existing environmental legislation and to continually improve its impact on the environment.

Environmental Management Systems (EMS) are those systems introduced by management, similar to those for quality production. It is the part of the overall management system that includes organisational structure, planning, activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing, and maintaining the environmental policy. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.5). There are a number of recognised systems, including the European EMAS and the ISO 14001.

Environmental Marketing is defined by Environmental Marketing Management as the holistic marketing process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying the requirements of customers and society, in a profitable and sustainable way

Environmental Objective is the overall goal, arising from the environmental policy, that an organisation sets itself to achieve, and which is quantifiable where practicable. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.7)

Environmental Performance is the relationship between the organisation and the environment. It includes: the environmental effects of resources consumed, the environmental impacts of the organisational process, the environmental implications of its products and services, the recovery and processing of products and meeting the environmental requirements of law (MCI NVQ 4) Environmental Performance has two definitions according to the International Standards Organisation.

  • Measurable results of the environmental management system, related to an organisation’s control of its environmental aspects, based on its environmental policy, objectives and targets. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.8)

  • Results of an organisation’s management of its environmental impacts (ISO 14031: 1999 definition 3.7)
Environmental Performance Criterion is an environmental objective, target, or other intended level of environmental performance set by the management of the organisation and used for the purpose of environmental performance evaluation

Environmental Performance Evaluation (EPE) is the process to facilitate management decisions regarding an organisation’s environmental performance by selecting indicators, collecting and analysing data, assessing information against environmental performance criteria, reporting and communicating, and periodic review and improvement of this process. . (ISO 14031: 1999 definition 3.9).

Environmental Performance Indicator is a specific expression that provides information about an organisation’s environmental performance. .(ISO 14031: 1999 definition 3.10). There are two sorts of EPI.
  • Operation Performance Indicator (OPI) provides information about the environmental performance of the organisation.

  • Management Performance Indicator (MPI) provides information about management’s efforts to influence environmental performance.

Environmental Policy is a statement by the organisation of its intentions and principles in relation to its overall environmental performance which provides a framework for action and for the setting of its environmental objectives and targets. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.9)

Environmental Practices are work practices that reduce impacts on the environment.

Environmental Principles are values that direct improvement in environmental protection at work, and include cleaner production, energy efficiency and waste hierachy.

Environmental Programmes describe the specific means of achieving objectives and targets and include a description of the measures taken to achieve them.

Environmental Protection aims to reduce environmental pollution caused during normal operations - to reduce or prevent emissions to air or water, to dispose of waste materials, to protect land, soil and groundwater, to prevent noise and vibration, or to protect the natural environment.

Environmental Quality Standards (EQSs) are laid down by the European Council. They refer to maximum levels of pollutants in the air or water that will be permitted.

Environmental Statements crop up in two places, as part of the process of environmental assessment (above) and the last part of the European environmental management system. In this, a company states what targets it has set to reduce environmental impact and how successful they have been achieving them. These statements are verified by external auditors.

Environmental Target is the detailed performance requirement, quantified where practicable, applicable to the organisation or parts thereof, that arises from the environmental objectives. and that needs to be set and met in order to achieve those objectives. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.10)

Emissions Trading is the creation of surplus emission reductions at certain stacks, vents or similar emissions sources and the use of this surplus to meet or redefine pollution requirements applicable to other emissions sources. This allows one source to increase emissions when another source reduces them, maintaining an overall constant emission level. Facilities that reduce emissions substantially may "bank" their "credits" or sell them to other facilities or industries

Equality is the quality of being fair, usually used in relation to sex, race and disabilities.

Equity is the quality of being equal, fair or even handed usually in relation to earnings/wealth.

Erosion is the process of wearing away the surface of the earth's crust usually by mechanical action of water or ice or by particles transported by wind, water or ice.

Eutrophication is the enrichment of aquatic environments with high levels of dissolved plant nutrients, such as nitrate and phosphate ions, leading to high algal growth. It is a natural process that can be exacerbated by human activity e.g. from leached fertilisers.

Exported packaging - is packaging that is exported out of UK and so does not count to packaging obligations.

Extended Product Responsibility requires companies to take life-cycle responsibility for their products. Companies redesign their products, or their products' delivery mechanisms, to make it easier to take back products and capture these used products' value through recycling, refurbishing, reuse or other means. Product take-back initiatives also have required companies to create educational, informational or training programs to help customers understand how to purchase, use and dispose of products to facilitate their reuse or recycling.

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Factor Four is the idea that resource productivity should be quadrupled so that wealth is doubled, and resource use is halved. The concept has been summed up as "doing more with less". It is argued that this would result in substantial macro-economic gains

Factor 10 Club argues that the intensity of material and energy use in the economy should be reduced by a factor of ten in industrialised countries over the next 30-50 years, in order halve global CO2 emissions while allowing for continuing economic growth. See Unit 3 <..\Unit Texts\Unit 3.doc>

Finite is used to describe substances that are found in limited amounts e.g. oil

Food chain is the sequence of organisms usually beginning with plants, that successively depend on each other for food, the chain shows the direction of the flow of energy between organisms

Food web is a group of inter-linked food chains that shows how energy flows through an eco-system.

Fossil Fuel is a general term for combustible geologic deposits of carbon in reduced (organic) form and of biological origin, including coal, oil, natural gas, oil shales, and tar sands. A major concern is that they emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burnt, thus significantly contributing to the enhanced greenhouse effect.

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Gaia's hypothesis treats the earth as a single living organism, in which biological chemical and physical factors all play important roles. This inseparable whole is regulated and kept adapted for life by living organisms themselves. The theory was put forward by James Lovelock who sees Gaia as 'a complex entity involving the Earth's biosphere, atmosphere, oceans and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet'.

GDP is the Gross Domestic Production, a common measure of economic progress.

Genetic Engineering is the new technique of finding and transferring desirable genes from one organism. Concerns

Genetics is the study of the way characters of living things are passed from one generation to the next.

Geothermal energy is the energy gained by tapping the hotspots near the surface of the Earth's crust.

Globalisation can be thought of as a process, in which economic markets, technologies and communications gradually come to exhibit more "global" characteristics, and less "national" or "local" ones. That is what the OECD say. There are lots of definitions, including “The growing integration of economies worldwide through increases in trade, investment flows, and technology transfer, facilitated by rapid advances in communications and information technology and an international policy environment which emphasizes trade liberalization, privatisation, and deregulation of financial markets.”

Global Warming is an increase in the near surface temperature of the Earth. Global warming has occurred in the distant past as the result of natural influences, but the term is most often used to refer to the warming predicted to occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases. The Earth's surface has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past 140 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently concluded that increased concentrations of greenhouse gases are causing an increase in the Earth's surface temperature and that increased concentrations of sulfate aerosols have led to relative cooling in some regions, generally over and downwind of heavily industrialized areas. Related to greenhouse effect…

GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms which according to the EU are "an organism in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination".

Greenhouse Effect is produced as greenhouse gases allow incoming solar radiation to pass through the Earth's atmosphere, but prevent most of the outgoing infra-red radiation from the surface and lower atmosphere from escaping into outer space. This process occurs naturally and has kept the Earth's temperature about 59 degrees F warmer than it would otherwise be. Current life on Earth could not be sustained without the natural greenhouse effect. More definitions relating to global warming and greenhouse gases

Greenhouse Gases (GHG) are those gases contributing to the greenhouse effect and are carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), nitrous oxides, and methane. Global Warming Potential (GWP) is the index used to translate the level of emissions of various gases into a common measure in order to compare the relative radiative forcing of different gases without directly calculating the changes in atmospheric concentrations.

Green track is a shorthand expression from the US for alternative pathways that companies take by committing themselves to environmental objectives that go beyond compliance with pollution control laws.

Greenwash is disinformation produced by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image, when it has not doing much for the environment.

Grey Water is wastewater from household use, such as sink and bathrooms, that is being re-used, e.g as cistern flush water. Black water is effluent from household use being used for cistern flushing.

Gross primary production (GPP) the total amount of light energy converted by plant photosynthesis to organic chemical energy in organic molecules in a given area and given time

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Habitat is the local surroundings in which an organism normally lives. Other individuals of the same species (i.e. by a population) will share the habitat. There will usually be a community of other populations (i.e. of other species) in the same habitat

Half-Life is the time required for a pollutant to lose one-half of its original concentration, or the time required for half of the atoms of a radioactive element to decay or the time required for the elimination of half a total dose from the body.

Halogens are the highly reactive elements fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine.

Halons are bromine-containing compounds with long atmospheric lifetimes whose breakdown in the stratosphere causes depletion of ozone. Halons are used in fire fighting.

Harm is hurt, injury, damage or loss of inherent quality to people or the environment . “Harm to the health of living organism or other interference with ecological systems of which they form part and, in the case of man (sic) includes harm to his property." (Statutory Regime for Contaminated Land July 1999)

Hazard is “something with the potential to cause harm” according the HSE. Almost anything may be a hazard, but may or may not become a risk

Heat is the energy that is transferred when two objects at different temperatures are brought into contact.

Holistic approach looks at the whole picture. The totality of something is much greater than the sum of its component parts and they cannot be understood by the isolated examination of their parts.

Household Waste includes waste from premises occupied by a charity; land belonging to domestic property, caravan or residential home; private garage; moored houseboat; camp sites; prisons and penal institutions; public meeting halls; royal palaces; litter collected under section 89 of the EPA.

HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is the tripartite UK body responsible for making and enforcing health and safety laws.

Hydrocarbons describe a wide range of compounds that contain hydrogen and carbon molecules. Many oil, paraffins, and coal are hydrocarbons.

Hydrological (water) cycle is he cycle of the earth's water supply from the atmosphere to the earth and back which includes precipitation, transpiration, evaporation, runoff, infiltration, and storage in water bodies and groundwater.

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Immune system is the name given to the body’s response to protect us from disease and invasion from foreign bodies. Once our body has been invaded, the immune system copies the invading body and our defence mechanism so that should we be invaded again we are ready to attack. The reason why AIDS has taken on such importance in the last few years is that the virus that causes AIDS attacks the immune system thereby destroying all body defences.

Industrial ecology uses the metaphor of metabolism to analyse production and consumption by industry, government, organizations and consumers, and the interactions between them. It involves tracking energy and material flows through industrial systems, e.g. a plant, region, or national or global economy.

Industrial Waste includes waste from: commercial garages / maintenance premises; laboratories and scientific research associations; workshops; dredging and tunnelling waste; clinical waste; aircraft, poisonous or noxious waste from certain processes (e.g. dry cleaning, paint mixing/selling, pesticide sales); premises for breeding, boarding, stabling or exhibiting animals; waste oils; waste solvent; scrap metals; waste imports and waste from ships

'Integrated' expenditure on environmental protection relates to new or modified production facilities, which have been designed so that environmental protection is an integrated part of the process.

Integrated Waste Management uses a variety of practices to handle municipal solid waste and can include source reduction, recycling, incineration, and landfilling.

Interested Party is an individual or group concerned with or affected by the environmental performance of an organisation. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.11)

International Organisation for Standardisation is a world wide federation of national standards bodies or ISO member bodies. Each member body can be represented on the technical committees, which prepare the standards. They drew up the ISO 14000 series on environment management and ISO 9000 series on quality. All their standards are voluntary, consensus, private-sector standards. The ISO organisation has no power to impose standards on any country or organisation. They produced ISO 14001/4, ISO 1400 10/11/12 and ISO 14031 to promote environmental standards and the ISO 9000 series for quality. See ISO

IPC is Integrated Pollution Control which tries to integrate the control of pollution to land, air, and water.

IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is the International body charged by the United Nations with examining the effects of and formulating responses to future world climate.

ISO is Greek for ‘equal’. It is not an acronym of the International Organisation for Standardisation, although they use the term for many of their standards. The ISO 14000 series emerged form the Uruguay round of the GATT negotiations and the Rio Summit on the Environment 1992.

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JustTransition keeps workers and communities whole when toxic chemicals, or other environmental damaging processes, are banned or phased out e.g a fund raised from a surcharge on the polluting process can provide for employees to make the transition to other jobs.

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Kinetic energy is the energy an object has by virtue of its motion.

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Landfill is the disposal of waste by tipping it on the land. Nowadays waste can only be tipped on licensed landfill sites that protect against contamination of land and water.

Leachates are liquids that have seeped through waste sites.

Lead-free Petrol is vehicle fuel that does not contain tetraethyl lead a compound added to stop "knocking" or "pinking".

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a systematic tool for assessing the environmental impacts of a work process in order to build an inventory and make an evaluation of inputs and outputs and to identify the most significant aspects of the process.

Light energy is the form of energy associated with visible light.

Limits of Growth was the title of a book produced in the early 1970s by a research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that purported to show that “under the most optimistic assumptions….the world cannot support present rates of economic and population growth”. The title has become a short-hand for the earth running out of resources.

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MEAs (Multilateral Environmental Agreements) the new term for the International Conventions

Methane gas in the atmosphere is increasing at a greater rate than carbon dioxide. Changes in agricultural production from traditional farming methods to agri-business are the main cause. Rice production and cattle ranching are mainly responsible. Cattle produce methane I the gut, releasing it from both ends.

Mineral cycle is the cycle, within an ecosystem, of a mineral element between living and non-living parts of the natural world. Mineral cycling does not involve the atmosphere, they are so called as main reservoir is in rocks (mineral)

Mineral is a naturally occurring chemical element or compound possessing a definite crystalline structure

Monoculture is the cultivation of vast tracts of land under one crop.

Monterrey is the UN Summit in 2001 that spurred poor countries to commit to improve their environmental policies and governance in exchange for promises by rich countries to deliver more aid, and open their markets to trade.

Mutagens are those substances that can alter (mutate) the genes - the bits of material that pass on characters in living cells.

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Natural capital is an extension of the economic notion of capital (manufactured means of production) to environmental 'goods and services'. It refers to a stock (e.g., a forest) which produces a flow of goods (e.g., new trees) and services (e.g., carbon sequestration, erosion control, habitat). Natural capital can be divided into renewable and non-renewable; the level of flow of non-renewable resources (e.g. fossil fuels) is determined politically.

Natural resource is something (as a mineral, forest, or kind of animal) that is found in nature and is valuable to humans.

Natural resource accounting and green GDP are alternative systems of national accounting and performance measures, which incorporate ecological and human welfare considerations.

Natural Step is a framework of thinking developed by a group of Swedish people, including Karl-Henrik Robert, which says that substances should not be produced faster than they can be reintegrated into cycles of nature.

Negotiation is a joint process between employer and employee representatives leading towards agreement.

Net primary production (NPP) The part of GPP that remains after the plants have used some of the GPP in respiration. NPP may increase plant biomass, be eaten, or after death pass to decomposers and detritivors or be buried in peat and compressed ultimately to form coal

NGOs are non government organisations. They are what their name says - organisations that are not governmental!. These include the main environmental organisation such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, but also include womens groups, Hazards groups and local pressure groups, Trade unions are sometimes included although they prefer to be seen as social partners. Companies, while not governmental, prefer not to be seen as NGOs.

Niche describes the role played by a particular species within the ecosystem.

NIMBY means “Not In My Back Yard” and refers to the habit of everybody to want any environmental degradation to go on somewhere else.

Nitrates are materials containing the “nitrate” ion group made of nitrogen and oxygen; sources include animal wastes and some fertilizers; can seep into groundwater; linked to human health problems, including "blue baby" syndrome (methemoglobinemia).

Nitrogen Cycle is the process whereby nitrogen, which is vital to all plant life, is circulated through food chains.

Nitrogen Fixation is the conversion of airborne nitrogen into nitrates, mainly by bacteria mainly in the soil. Nitrogen has little biological use, nitrates are food to other plants. Because of the commercial significance of nitrates, there are now industrial nitrogen fixing processes based on the Haber process.

Nitrous oxides are releasing during fossil fuel burning. In addition to being a greenhouse gas they are also ozone depleters. The increased use of fertilisers with the expansion of intensive farming is another major source of nitrogen oxides.

Nuclear fission and fusion is the source of energy that is released either by splitting (fission) the nucleus of a heavy atom (usually uranium) or fusing (fusion) the nuclei of two light atoms.

Nuclear reprocessing is the recovery of unused plutonium or uranium from irradiated fuel that has been used up in nuclear reactors- the systems used to carry out nuclear fission.

Nuisance can be public or private. Public nuisance is an act or omission that materially affects the reasonable comfort and convenience of a definable section of the public and is a criminal act. Private nuisance is any unlawful interference with a person’s use or enjoyment of land or some connection with it, and usually for some prolonged period of time.

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Obligated Company is one that has packaging that exceeds thresholds set by the Packaging Regulations, and so must register with the Agency to reduce the waste from that packaging.

Occupational Exposure Standard (OES) is the concentration of an airborne substance, averaged over a reference period, for which, according to current knowledge, there is no evidence that is likely to be injurious to employees if they are exposed by inhalation, day after day, and which is specified in a list , document EH 40, approved by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC).

OECD is the Organisation for economic Co-operation and Development and promotes policies to achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment in Member countries. These include all EU countries, plus Canada, Iceland, Turkey, US, Japan, Australia New Zealand and recently S.Korea.

Opportunities are developments, either inside or outside the organisation, which could have a positive impact on work or plans if appropriate action is taken.

Opportunity costs are the costs of the activity in terms of what could have been done instead.

Organic originally meant “derived from living matter”. In chemistry it means chemicals containing carbon and hydrogen with other elements such as oxygen and nitrogen. Nowadays, organic commonly refers to food produced without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides - leading to the tautology organic vegetables!

Organisation is a company, corporation, firm, entreprise, site, authority or institution, or part or combination thereof, whether in corporate or not, public or private, that has its own functions and administration. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.12)

Organism is an individual plant or animal

Organochlorines are organic compounds that contain chlorine. many are pesticides. They are are relatively persistent and accumulate in food chains, some are suspect carcinogens, and all produce dioxins when burnt.

Organophosphates are pesticides that contain the phosphate group. They are less persistent than organochlorines but are more toxic to people as they can affect the nervous system.

Orimulsion is a bitumen fuel produced by the Venuzuelan State Oil company. It consists of 70% bitumen and 30% water and is said to produce more energy than coal and can be burned in traditional oil fired power stations. It also produces a lot more sulphur dioxide.

Oxidation Pond is a basin to retain wastewater before final disposal. Bilogical oxidation of organic matter occurs by natural or artificial transfer of oxygen to the water from air.

Oxidising Agent is a chemical which gives up oxygen in a chemical reaction. It can also mean to take hydrogen from a substance. Oxidising agents in the air include ozone and nitrogen dioxide.

Oxygen Cycle the continuous movement of oxygen. Oxygen is a major and vital component of all living matter. Most comes from the process of photosynthesis carried out by plants.

Ozone is a form of oxygen that is produced when atmospheric oxygen is electrically charged. Oxygen is usually found as two atoms together as O2, whereas ozone is when there are three - as O3. It is found at ground level, created from exhaust gases, where it is dangerous and at levels high in the sky where it is protective.

Ozone depletion potential (ODP) is a relative index indicating the extent to which a chemical product may cause ozone depletion. The reference level of 1 is the potential of CFC-11 and CFC-12 to cause ozone depletion. If a product has an ozone depletion potential of 0.5, a given weight of the product in the atmosphere would, in time, deplete half the ozone that the same weight of CFC-11 would deplete.

Ozone layer is a thin layer of stratoshere - between about 15 kilometres out and 50 kilometres out from the earth. The ozone layer was formed by oxygen from plants reacting with ultraviolet light of the sun. Concentration of ozone is heaviest between 25-35 km, but is almost certainly being depleted by pollution with CFCs.

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Packaging is “All products made of any materials of any nature to be used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of any goods” This includes boxes, pallets, containers, tubes, bags and sacks made out of paper, board, timber, glass, metals, plastics, ceramics and the like. It can also include labelling, tape, wrapping, binding and tying materials See also Special Packaging

Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) are tradeable certificates showing the types and amounts of packaging waste recovered by an accredited reprocessors and the type of recovery undergone.

Particulates are tiny pieces of solid or liquid matter, such as soot, dust, fumes, or mist.

PBTs are substances which are Persistent, Bio-accumulative, and Toxic. See also VPVBs

Persistence is the word used for chemicals that do not break down very easily and remain persistent (in one form or another) in the environment

Pesticides are chemicals that are aimed to kill pests - including insects (insecticides) weeds (herbicides) and moulds (fungicides). The insecticides include organochlorines and organophosphates. While being applied, they get into the air, water and food systems of the world causing a wide variety of hazards, from affects on nerves to cancer.

pH is the scale for all liquid chemicals. Acids and alkalis are the chemicals at each end of the pH spectrum. The scale runs from 0 (acid) to 14 (alkali). At both ends the chemicals are very reactive and corrosive, but in between or mixed together they become neutral. The most neutral chemical is water, pH 7.

Photochemical smog consists of oxidants caused by the reaction of sunlight on hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides from vehicle and industrial emissions. The photochemical smog causes cause eye irritation, headaches, coughs and damage lung tissues. Long term effects of exposure are not fully known but it is thought to affect the immune system. The name “smog” was also used in the early 1950s to describe fogs consisting of sulphur dioxide and soot that hit many major UK cities.

Photosynthesis is possibly the most important process on earth. It is how plants transform the energy of the sun to power the conversion of carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates, producing oxygen as a by-product. Carbohydrates are the basis of all food and oxygen is required by all animals to live.

PIC (Prior Informed Consent) refers to the system, under procedures established by the UN, of notifying receiving countries of exports of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted within producing countries.

Plankton are free floating minute plants or animals in the sea, lakes or rivers. The plant forms photosynthesise (above), supplying food for all the sea food chains. They are also said to be responsible for one quarter of Europe’s acid rain (above) due to their production of dimethyl sulphide which converts to sulphur dioxide and then sulphuric acid and in the spring and summer.

Pollutant is, strictly, too much of any substance in the wrong place or at the wrong time.

Polluter Pays Principle (PPP) means what is says - the polluter should pay for any damage to health or environment. Public money should not be used to subsidise pollution reduction systems for private industry. A private organisation, which is being polluted, may say that it is the offender that should pay to clean up E.g it should be farmers to pay for cleaning nitrogen from water rather than the breweries who need it clean.

Pollution is the adverse alteration of land, air or water by a substance. When any alteration is considered adverse, a substance becomes a pollutant.

Pollution Prevention (often called 'P2') means avoiding the creation of pollution in the first place rather than dealing with its consequences after the fact - very similar to 'Cleaner Production'.

POPs are Persistent Organic Pollutants such as PCBs, DDT, Dieldrin and Dioxins. The text of a Protocol has been agreed under the UNECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution to control POPs emissions using process and product controls.

Population is the total number of organisms under study. Population density refers to the concentration of those organisms in any given area. The science of measuring population densities and dynamics was derived from studies of insects, especially pests. It has since been extended to human populations.

Potable is drinkable water and must be free of disease-causing organisms, have a desirable taste, smell, colour and cloudiness and contain no harmful chemicals. Full legal definition in Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995

Precautionary principle is part of the Rio Declaration. It says: "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation" (Principle 15). Loosely speaking it means you can reject things that are worrying.

Preservation involves maintaining areas unchanged from the conditions they were in when their importance was first recognised.

Prevention of Pollution is the use of processes, practices, materials or products that avoid, reduce or control pollution, which may include recycling, treatment, process changes, control mechanisms, efficient use of resources and material substitution. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.13).

Procedure is the guidance concerning the control operations and tasks. The procedure can stand alon or fit with existing procedures.

Product Stewardship denotes the responsible management of the health, safety and environmental aspects of the basic configuration of a business in terms of a product throughout its life-cycle and / or the investment and operations to produce a process or provide a service.

Putrescible refers to anything that can decay, rot, decompose e.g. animal and vegetable matter.

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Quality Systems are the fore-runners of environment management systems. They were developed in the 1980s to control quality by achieving more accurate production, thereby cutting down waste. They lead to the idea of Total Quality Management (TQM) that encouraged the consumer to drive all developments - as evidenced with the advert "everything we do is driven by you".

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Radiation. There are two types of radiation - ionising and nonionising. Nonionising radiation from the sun is essential although excess is dangerous. Exposure to all levels of ionising radiation causes complex disturbances in living tissues.

Recovery is the reprocessing or recycling of materials into new products or using the packaging as a fuel (waste to energy process

Recovery obligation is the amount of materials to be recovered that a company obligated under the Packaging Regulations must achieve when registered directly with the Environment Agency.

Recycling is a form of recovery by reprocessing of waste materials to produce a usable raw material or product. Recycling includes organic recycling, e.g. composting under controlled conditions, but not energy recovery.

Recycling obligation is the amount of packaging that must be recycled by a company obligated under the Packaging Regulations..

Red-list substances are those substances considered to be toxic, persistent or bio-accumulative enough to require BATNEEC to reduce them and listed in the Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes and Substances) Regulations 1991. Practical guidance for red list substances (and grey and black EU list substances) find at http://www.ifi.co.uk/ecm-eff.htm

Reengineering is a new management technique that examines the whole work process rather each individual task. This technique has profound implications for environmental management.

Renewable is any resource that can be exploited without depletion because it is constantly replenished. Plants lend themselves to being renewable resources. Sun, wind and water should be infinitely renewable. The opposite is Non-renewable of finite.

Respiration is the process where both plants and animals produce energy by burning carbohydrates in their cells using oxygen. Carbon dioxide is produced as a by-product. Plants are taken out of hospitals at night to stop the oxygen being depleted and the carbon dioxide building up.

Responsible Care is the scheme established by the Chemical Industries Association that builds on quality management and health and safety systems to include environmental concerns.

Resources are the people, time, equipment, materials, services, energy and premises.(MCI NVQ 4)

Review. This is the part of a environment management system that reviews what has already gone on. It comes both at the beginning of the process and at periodic intervals after. The review looks at the main environmental impacts of the organisation, relevant law and what the company has done already done about the environment.

Right to Discharge is an alternative the polluter-pays principle. Any organisation wishing to discharge a pollutant pays, or is given special allocation for the right to pollute. The intent is levy money before rather than after the event, thus encouraging organisations to clean up.

Risk is “the likelihood of the hazard’s potential being realised” according to the HSE

Risk Assessment is the process of estimating the risk to health or environment of a product or work process by determining the possible extent of damage and the likelihood of that damage occurring. The goal is to produce “objective” data as a basis for making managerial or regulatory decisions.

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Salinisation refers to land that has become too salty to support life. Ill-planned irrigation schemes have greatly exacerbated the problem.

Seller is somebody, in the Packaging Regulations, who supplies to an "end user"

Sequestration is where carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and stored by soil or trees. These areas are called "sinks" (see below). This absorbed, 'Sequestered' carbon can be counted as credit, that can then be used as a commodity in a carbon trading system.

Significant Environmental Aspect is “an environmental aspect that has or can have a significant environmental impact” according to ISO 14001.

Sink is a reservoir that takes up a pollutant from another part of its cycle. Soil and trees act as natural “sinks” for carbon.

Smog is a mixture of smoke, chemical pollutants and fog (dispersed water droplets). Smog hit many UK cities in the 1950s and early 1960s, killing nearly 5000 elderly people.

Social capital is a measure of the ability of people to work together for common purposes in groups and organisations. Social capital of the nation can be measured or assessed by the quality of life and quality of living and working conditions. The size or level of social capital in a country determines the extent everyone can make full use of their physical, mental, and social capacities.

Solar Energy is the energy from the sun and it provides the source for all energy sources - wind, water, waves, biofuels and fossil fuels.

Solvent is any liquid used to dissolve and disperse useful substances. Much work is going on to replace organic solvents that are known to cause nervous disorders with water based solvents.

Special Packaging is packaging that handles special waste (below). It contribute to a company's overall packaging obligation but is exempt from the recovery and recycling obligation

Special Waste is solid or liquid that must be disposed of in accordance with the Special Waste Regulations. This includes substances on the EU Hazardous Waste List and a has one of more of the following hazardous characteristics: explosive, oxidising, highly flammable, flammable, irritant, harmful, toxic, carcinogenic, corrosive, infectious, teratogenic, mutagenic, substances and preparations which release toxic or very toxic gases, substances and preparations which after disposal can produce a hazardous characteristic, ecotoxic.

Species are usually described as a group of organisms that reproduce only with themselves. It has also been heard to be described as a 'concept of a good taxonomists mind'

Stakeholders are people or groups of people who have a vested interest in the success of the organisation and the environment

Statistical Process Control (SPC) was developed by W.E Deming as a tool to examine the deviation from the mean of what was required. He proposed that more attention is paid to why things are not at the mean and in so doing demonstrated that the cause for most faults were not individuals’ as much as the organisation of the management system. Environmentally it is the ultimate way to reduce waste.

Steady state economy is a human economy characterized by constant population, capital stocks and rate of material/energy throughput such that there is sustainable equilibrium between human activities and the environment. While these elements are constant, "cultural capital" can change; thus a distinction is made between growth (quantitative) and development (qualitative).

Substantial change is any change that will result in a significant negative effect on the environment in the opinion of the Environment Agency for Part A1 processes, or the Local Authority for Part A2 or B processes, as regulated under the Pollution Prevention and Control regulations 1999

Supply Chains integrate the procuring, producing, and delivering products and services to customers, including sub-suppliers, suppliers, internal operations, trade customers, retail customers, and end users and manage the material, information, and funds flows.

Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It first came to prominence with the Bruntland Report of 1987 and is the basis of Agenda 21.

Sustainability."Something is sustainable if you can carry on doing it indefinitely. If you can't - it isn't." Jonathen Porritt

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Task is the smallest indivisible part of an activity when it is broken down to a level best understood and performed by a specific person.

TBT or Technical Barrier to Trade is what it says - something technical that may prevent trade.

Technical Fix is the idea that technology alone can solve problems - rather than recognise the role of social, economic and political influences.

Teratogen is a substance that deforms the foetus directly.

Thermal pollution is the increase in temperature of a body of water due to the discharge of water used as a coolant in industrial processes or power production and can cause damage to aquatic life

Third World is a term used since the 1940s to describe developing countries. These were countries that depended for over 70% of their economy on primary production - agriculture or provision of raw materials, as opposed to manufacturing and servicing industries. The First World were those governed by markets, the Second World being the centrally planned countries. New descriptions are now necessary.

Toxic means having the characteristic of causing death or damage to humans, animals, or plants; poisonous.

Toxic substances (or toxin) are those chemicals or other substances that can cause damage to the health of living organisms.

TQEM means Total Quality and Environmental Management and does for environmental management systems what Total Quality Management did for ISO 9000, turning it from a series of procedures to a way of life at work

Triple Bottom Line is for companies aiming for sustainability, who have to perform to not just a single financial bottom line, but the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, environmental quality and social equity.

Type 1 Agreements are made between countries and carry the status of soft law, whereas Type 2 Agreements are voluntary and made between business and countries, to promote sustainable development.

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Valorise means to reuse, recycle or incinerate waste with energy recovery.

Value shift is when human and social values change over time. Freeing slaves and enfranchising women were once thought extraordinary, now they are taken for granted. New concepts such as environmental justice and responsible consumerism are moving the same way.

Volatile organic compound (VOC) The environmental or legislated definition: Constituents that will evaporate at their temperature of use and which, by a photochemical reaction, will cause atmospheric oxygen to be converted into potential smog-promoting tropospheric ozone under favourable climatic conditions. Some areas classify a substance to be a VOC based on its vapor pressure. Scientific definition: Any hydrocarbon, except methane and ethane, with a vapour pressure equal to or greater than 0.1 mm Hg.

VPVBs are substances which are Very Persistent and Very Bio-accumulative. See also PBTs.

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Waste is any substance or object that is discarded by the business that was responsible for producing it. Every business produces waste covered by environmental legislation - even if the producer does not consider it to be toxic, harmful or large in quantity

Waste Brokerage is when waste companies circulate lists of types of wastes, giving other companies the opportunity to use these wastes.

Waste Hierarchy proposes that waste reduction is the best way to deal with waste, re-use the second best option, followed by recovery (e.g. recycling) and a last resort disposal.

Water Vapour is the most abundant greenhouse gas and is the water present in the atmosphere in gaseous form. Water vapour is an important part of the natural greenhouse effect.

Waterborne disease is a disease spread by contaminated water. More Water definitions.

Water Quality Standards are purity standards of water for domestic use which are internationally acceptable. The World Health Organisation (WHO) publishes “Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality”. In Europe the Directive “The Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption” 80/778/EEC sets standards for the UK. (Check latest)

Wave radiation. This is the property of glass which accounts for the heating effect of greenhouses. It is also the property of carbon dioxide.

Weather is the specific condition of the atmosphere at a particular place and time. It is measured in terms of such things as wind, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, cloudiness, and precipitation. In most places, weather can change from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season. Climate is the average of weather over time and space. A simple way of remembering the difference is that 'climate' is what you expect (e.g., cold winters) and 'weather' is what you get!

Weathering is the chemical and mechanical breakdown of rocks due to atmospheric forces.

Wetlands are areas occasionally or always covered with shallow fresh or salt water.

World Trade Organisation (WTO). The international body set up as part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in order to promote free trade. More



Abatement Technology means technologies for reduction or lessoning of pollution, and can include both cleaner production and end of pipe technologies

Acid Rain
Atmospheric drops combine with a range of chemical pollutants such as carbon and sulphur dioxide to form rain, mist or snow that is more acid than normal. It can cause damage to plants many thousands of kilometres away from where it formed.

Activities are actions, processes operations or services in the workplace that must be carried out in order to achieve objectives.

Aerosols are particles of matter, solid or liquid, larger than a molecule but small enough to remain suspended in the atmosphere. Natural sources include salt particles from sea spray and clay particles as a result of weathering of rocks, both of which are carried upward by the wind. Aerosols from human activities are often considered pollutants.

AFL-CIO is the US equivalent of Britain's TUC, the organisation that brings together most trade unions.

Agenda 21 is the name of the agreement signed by most countries at the Rio Conference in 1992. "Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems of today and also aims at preparing the world for the challenges of the next century. It reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment co-operation."

Agribusiness is where the culture and skills have been taken out of agriculture and replaced by business connections. The farm becomes a sandwich with the business interests of the input, fertiliser and pesticide, companies and the output control of retailers and major food industries.

Agrochemicals are chemicals such as pesticides and fertilisers produced by major chemical companies - the input agribusiness, and applied to farmland.

Alkinisation is a form of salinisation where the water contains sodium or sodium salts causing the soil to disintegrate completely and become rock-hard waste.

AQS is the Air Quality Strategy introduced in the Environmental Act 1995. This strategy sets levels for nine pollutants, to protect human health or the environment.

Around the earth there is an envelope of gases held by gravity. The gases are mainly nitrogen and oxygen, together with elements of inert gases hydrogen, ozone, radon, and carbon dioxide. There are different layers - the troposphere nearest the earth, then the stratosphere up to 50 kilometres, then the mesosphere, the thermosphere, and the ionosphere out to about 400 km.

Originally an 'eco-audit' was a workplace inspection looking for environmental effects of the work. This meaning can often be heard in Europe today. Nowadays, the word is closer to the meaning of a financial audit.

An environmental management system audit is part of all environment management system. It is a systematic and documented verification process of objectively obtaining and evaluating evidence to determine whether an organisation's environmental management system conforms to the environmental management system criteria set by an organisation, and for communication of the results of this process to management. (ISO 14001: 1996 definition 3.6)

Authorisationscontain conditions on both the quality and quantity of effluent permitted. See Consents.

© ep@w Publishing Company Ltd. 2000
2002 Edition