Green Glossary

Air Pollution:

Occurs when harmful chemicals like dust, gas and fumes enter our atmosphere. This can harm the health of humans, animals and plants.


Capable of breaking down in time and becoming part of the earth without harming it at all.

Carbon Footprint

The amount of greenhouse gas emissions an individual produces in his or her daily life. A big carbon footprint is bad for the environment.


The act of turning organic waste (leaves, fruit & vegetable waste) into much that can be used as a fertilizer. Composting is nature's way of recycling.


The preservation of the environment and the management of our natural resources.

Energy Efficiency:

The ratio of useful energy you get from a system to the energy supplied to it.

Fossil Fuels:

Any combustible organic material such as oil, coal, or natural gas. These fuels were formed from the decomposing remains of organisms placed under immense pressure and heat for hundreds of millions of year.


Any materials unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted that cannot be recycled.

Household Hazardous Waste:

Household chemicals and other substances (i.e. herbicides, pesticides, paint, cleaning solvents) for which the owner no longer has a use for. If disposed of improperly, these products can become dangerous to ourselves and our environment.


A method of solid waste disposal where garbage is buried between layers of dirt, clay and other materials in such a way as to prevent contamination of the surrounding land and water. Our region's landfill has a 6 foot double composite liner system composed of layers of clay rock and sheets of plastic to prevent pollutants from leaking into the surrounding environment at the landfill site. The site is routinely monitored and tested.

Natural Resources:

Things that people need to live or work that come from nature. Our food, the air we breathe, the wind and water we use to power our electric plants and the fuels we put in our cars are all examples of natural resources. They are found in nature, not man-made in a laboratory or factory.


Collecting, separating and processing items that would have been thrown away and reusing them or making them into brand new items.

Recycling Center:

This is where all of our region's recyclables (paper, plastic, metal and glass) are delivered for sorting and processing. Then, materials are shipped to manufacturers to be turned into new things.


Reducing the amount of waste we produce benefits our environment and can save money and energy. You can reduce waste by purchasing in bulk, buying items with less packaging and switching to reusable instead of single-use items.


Much of our waste can be reused over again to help us produce less trash and benefit our environment. For example, you can refill a purchased bottle of water with water from home to minimize the number of plastic bottles being discarded.

Single Stream Recycling:

A system of recycling in which all recyclables (paper, plastic, metal and glass) are mixed together in your recycling bin instead of being sorted into separate groups. Our region operates a single stream recycling center where we take mixed recyclables and sort them into groups for recycling.


Using resources to meet our needs, but preserving the environment while doing so. Sustainability is an economic state where the demands placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations.

Water Pollution:

The addition of harmful chemicals to natural water. Sources of water pollution in the U.S. include industrial waste, run-off from fields treated with chemical fertilizers, and run-off from areas that have been mined.