Glossary of Recycling Terms

Buyback Center

A recycling facility that pays cash for some recyclable products.

Corrugated Cardboard

Boxes and other items made of waffle-type corrugated cardboard.

California Refund Value (CRV)

Consumers pay CRV when they purchase beverages from a retailer and are reimbursed when they redeem the container at a buyback recycling center.

Curbside Recycling

Collection of recyclable materials at homes for transfer to a designated collection site or recycling facility.

Drop-off Recycling Center

Designated location where recyclables are accepted from the public. No cash is paid for recyclable materials at drop-off centers. Centers may not be staffed.

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

Materials commonly used in and around households that contain toxic substances. These include but are not limited to:

  • Cleaning products
  • Paint
  • Antifreeze
  • Motor oil
  • Lead-acid batteries
  • Pesticides
  • Insecticides
  • Hobby and pool chemicals


Disposal of solid waste at a permitted disposal site or facility.

Mixed Paper

Recyclable paper products commingled in the same load:

  • White paper
  • Colored paper
  • Card stock
  • Brochures
  • Junk mail
  • Envelopes with and without windows
  • Magazines, etc.

Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)

A facility where recyclable materials are sorted from the general waste stream for recycling.

Office Paper

Usually refers to white paper types recovered from offices for commercial recycling.

Post-Consumer Recycled Content

Recyclable items that are manufactured into new products. For example: plastic soda pop bottles can be recycled into fabric to make clothing and carpet.

Pre-Consumer Materials

Reusable materials that are produced as the bi-product of manufacturing another item. The byproduct material is still virgin material but is put to a different use as opposed to landfilling. For example: fabric scraps and remnants are produced as a byproduct of clothing manufacturing. The fabric scraps are then used as filling for animal beds. The fabric scraps are considered pre-consumer materials which otherwise would have been landfilled.


Collecting, processing, marketing and ultimately using a material that would have been thrown away.


The use of a product more than once in its same form for the same purpose or for different purposes. For example: old tires can be made into planters or rubber floor mats.

Universal Waste

Universal wastes are hazardous wastes that are generated by a wide variety of people that contain mercury, lead, cadmium, copper and other substances hazardous to human and environmental health. In general, universal waste may not be discarded in solid waste landfills. Examples of these wastes are batteries, fluorescent tubes, and some electronic devices.

Wood Waste

Unpainted, untreated lumber, and pallets.

Yard Waste

  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Weeds
  • Twigs and branches
  • Fruits and vegetables