Glossary

  • Biodegradable Products Institute
  • Vermont Food Recovery Hierarchy
*Glossary still under construction* 
  • Bedded Pack – “Accumulated bedding materials and manure under covered housing. The farmer using a bedded pack starts with an initial thick layer of bedding, adding more daily or weekly. The herd is housed on the pack during the dormant season, lounging, loafing and eating there. The bedded pack ends up being several feet thick by spring. In the winter, it provides a comfortable place for the herd to spend the cold months, storage for manure, and, after composting the pack, a superlative amendment for pastures and hayfields.” [UVM Extension]
  • Blue Bin Recyclables – In Vermont, solid waste management districts provide blue bins for residents to use for recycling pickup. Items that are allowed in these bins are known as “Blue Bin Recyclables.” These items must be clean, and at least 2” large in at least 2 directions. statewide, there are six materials that must be recycled. These are: paper, aluminum, cardboard, steel, glass and hard plastics. Recycling helps reduce energy expenditure, conserve resources, create jobs, and save state financial resources.
  • Bokashi – “Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning “fermented organic matter.” The compost process will create a “pre-compost”, pickled mixture of your kitchen scraps - including meats, bones, fats, and dairy products. Bokashi is an anaerobic process that takes place in a tightly lidded bucket. Many commercial buckets are available but not necessary. Be sure whatever vessel you are using is able to be easily drained; a spigot at the bottom of the bucket is the most convenient. Layer the bucket with your kitchen scraps and bokashi powder, a bran-based powder that is inoculated with beneficial bacteria, until the bucket is full. Once the bucket is full, seal the bucket for about 2-3 weeks. During this time, be sure to drain off the liquid every 1-2 days and dilute it 30:1 for watering plants with a compost tea. You can also dump it directly down your drain at full strength if you have a septic system. The microbes present in the liquid will help the keep your septic tank happy!  After the 2-3 weeks, combine the fermented food scraps with soil, in the ground or in a pot, and let it lie dormant for about a month. The pre-compost directly out of the bucket is highly acidic and needs the soil microbes to balance it out before plant roots can safely grow in it.  This is a really helpful website for all things Bokashi: http://www.planetnatural.com/composter-connection/indoor-composting/bokashi-composting/ (Lamoille Regional SWMD)
    • This is an alternative method of composting that may be suitable for those who produce a small amount of organic waste, want to compost at home but don’t have a lot of outdoor space, and those who value their compost for it’s benefit to plants – both as a fertilizer (compost tea), and as a soil amendment. If done properly, bokashi should produce little odor, and be less attractive to pest and critters than a traditional open backyard compost pile.
  • Compost - “Compost is a soil-like product made from decomposed organic materials”(CAV). “Organic material; i.e. foodscraps, approved compostable disposables, manure, etc.” (Highfields). Though compost technically refers to a mixture of decayed and decaying organic material, colloquially, it is used in many different senses. Compost can refer to food scraps collected in the home with the intention of composting, as well as other organic material such as manure and yard waste. Once this material goes through the composting process, it can be applied as a soil amendment to increase organic matter and nutrients in soil. 
    • Cold Compost: 0 – 40 degrees C. Cold compost heaps stop composting during the winter. Cold compost heaps do not generate enough heat to kill pathogens, weed seeds,  or invasive plant material. 
    • Hot Compost: 40 – 65 degrees C. Here, hot refers to the heat generated by the decomposition process within a properly maintained compost pile. Hot compost piles have enough thermophilic activity to stay active throughout the winter, even in Vermont! Can accommodate a larger variety of food scraps without attracting rodents and pests. If hot enough, hot compost heaps can kill weed seeds and pathogens.
    • See also: Please check-out our “Composting at Home” page.  If you’re interested in the science behind composting, The University of Illinois provides an in-depth explanation of the different factors and activities that contribute to the composting process.
  • Composting - Composting is a process that takes residual organic materials– e.g., food scraps, leftovers, yard waste and animal manure– and turns them into a nutrient-rich product called “compost.” (UVM)
  • Compost Blankets - “A compost blanket is a layer of loosely applied composted material placed on the soil in disturbed areas to reduce storm-water runoff and erosion.” (EPA) Compost blankets can be used to help stabilize soil banks. For example, after Hurricane Irene, Windham Solid Waste District used this method to help recover and stabilize washed out banks that were impacting roadways.
    • Check out this video from the Composting Association of Vermont to see how the town of Jamaica, Vermont used compost blankets and compost socks to help stabilize a washed-out bank to reduce road maintenance costs and the impact of erosion.
  • Compost Bin System - A compost bin system is one of the most straightforward ways to compost on a small-scale. There are a variety of different designs for compost bins – the best fit for you depends on the amount of organic material you want to compost, the amount of maintenance you want to do, and your goals for the resulting compost. The three-bin system is a popular design. You can purchase these bins or easily construct them yourself.
  • Compostable disposables – In general, the only manmade products that are truly compostable are those approved by the Biodegradable Products Institute or BPI. Beware of front organizations claiming to certify other types of “degradable” products. Some chemical companies now make “bio-degradable” or “degradable” products, which are made of petroleum plastic that, over time, will break down into small pieces of plastic unnoticeable to the human eye. This deceptive marketing is dangerous because adding plastic to soil has been found to harm plant growth and affect human health. In general, truly compostable products will bear the Biodegradable Products Institute logo:
  • Compost Heap/ Compost Pile – See Compost Bin System. See also: our pages Composting at Home and Compost Bin Construction and Management for more ideas and information. 
  • Compost Recipe – For the compost process to take part, certain ‘ingredients’ are necessary. These include the correct ratio of carbon-rich material to nitrogen-rich material (brown to green materials), moisture levels, temperature, aeration.
  • (Anaerobic) Digestion - “Anaerobic digestion is a series of biological processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. One of the end products is biogas, which is combusted to generate electricity and heat, or can be processed into renewable natural gas and transportation fuels.” (American Biogas Council)
  • (Anaerobic) Digester – “The built system where anaerobic digestion takes place” (EPA). Types of digesters include stand-alone digester, on-farm digesters, and digesters at Water Resource Recovery Facilities.
  • Energy recovery – “Energy recovery from waste is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into usable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, including combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion and landfill gas recovery. This process is often called waste to energy.” (EPA) Though there are many ways to recover energy from waste, some methods are more efficient than others. Reducing the generation of waste in the first place is critical, and then reusing materials instead of disposing of them is suggested.
    • See also: The Vermont Food Recovery Hierarchy.
      • Along with the passage of Act 148, the Vermont Legislature developed a recovery hierarchy that recognizes the preferential ways to reduce food waste. Minimizing waste in the first place is preferred, while energy recovery in a landfill is recognized as the least preferred method.
  • Feed – Animal feed is a term and product regulated by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Animal feed products are closely monitored to ensure their safety as well as the accuracy of labelling. Therefore, food scraps cannot be considered “animal feed.” 
  • Feedstocks - A feedstock is defined as any renewable, biological material that can be used directly as a fuel or converted to another form of fuel or energy product. Biomass feedstocks are the plant and algal materials used to derive fuels like ethanol, butanol, biodiesel, and other hydrocarbon fuels. (Department of Energy)
  • Food access - “Access by individuals to adequate resources (entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Entitlements are defined as the set of all commodity bundles over which a person can establish command given the legal, political, economic and social arrangements of the community in which they live (including traditional rights such as access to common resources).” (FAO) [SD1] 
  • Food Bank -  “An organization that collects product from the food industry and food drives, inventories and stores it, and distributes it to agencies…that provide food directly to individuals in need” (Source).
    • “A non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to hunger relief charities/organizations. Food banks are typically operated out of large warehouses where they solicit, store and distribute millions of pounds of food…After food has been collected at a food bank, it is sorted and distributed to non-profit organizations such as food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior care and emergency relief programs. All organizations must have a 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be eligible to become a partnering agency and receive food from a local food bank (Source).
  • Food desert – Urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
  • Food donation – “By redirecting unspoiled food from landfill to our neighbors in need, individuals can support their local communities and reduce environmental impact. Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated. Donated food can also include leftovers from events and surplus food inventory.” (Source)
  • Food Loss - “the decrease in quantity or quality of food.” “Each year, one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost world-wide” (FAO). Food loss can occur at ever step of the production and consumption chain. In industrialized regions, food loss frequently occurs at the consumer level, while in less industrialized regions, food loss frequently occurs at the production and processing levels, due to inadequate storage and transportation capacity.
  • Food Packaging is a broad term for the non-food items associated with serving food. Examples include plates, trays, cups, bags and wrappers, and cutlery. Food packaging can comprise up to 40% of the waste generated on daily basis at a venue.
  • Food Pantry -  “An individual site that distributes bags or boxes of food directly to those in need who reside in a specified area. A food pantry is a member agency of, and obtains food from, a food bank. Both food pantries and food banks share the same commitment: to provide food to those in need.” https://nwpafoodbank.org/get-educated/food-bank-vs-food-pantry/ “A food pantry provides food directly to those in need. These facilities receive, buy, store and distribute food to low-income individuals in their community.” http://wyomingfoodbank.org/food-banks-vs-food-pantries-whats-the-differe…
  • Food Print - “Food’s carbon footprint, or foodprint, is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, rearing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the food you eat” (GreenEatz)
  • Food rescue - Food rescue, also called food recovery or food salvage, is the practice of rescuing edible food that would otherwise go to waste from places such as restaurants, grocery stores, produce markets, or dining facilities and distributing it to the charitable food system.
  • Food Scraps - Food scraps refer to post-consumer food waste. However, this term is not in favor with the food rescue community, because….
  • Food security – “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” (1996 World Food Summit) “
  • Food insecurity - “A situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life.” (FAO) “is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Hunger is an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity” (USDA)
  • Food waste -  Any food that is produced for human consumption, but ultimately, does not get consumed by humans. Food waste can occur at every step of the food supply chain, from production to consumption.
    • See also: “Food Loss”
  • Generator – In this context, generator refers to somebody who creates waste containing organic materials. Anybody who consumes food also generates, to some degree, food waste. We can mitigate the impact that food waste has on our community and environment by reducing the amount of food we waste through purposeful purchasing and storage, donating unused food to hungry people, using our leftover food to feed animals, or composting our food scraps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to our local economy, and create a useful product for soil amendment.
  • Gleaning – “The act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, or any other source in order to provide it to those in need” (USDA)
    • See also: Food Rescue. Visit our pages: “Volunteer
  • Hauler – “Any party intending to haul waste materials to or from any location in Vermont for compensation must obtain a hauling permit from the Agency of Natural Resources” (ANR)
  • Master composter  – Visit UVM Extension’s Master Composter page to learn more about the Master Composter course and certification.
  • (Vermont) Act 148
    • The Law:
      • Implemented in phases beginning in 2014, allowing for the gradual development of increased processing capacity and infrastructure
        • By July 2015: Bans the disposal of ‘blue bin recyclables’ in the landfill stream.
        • By July 2016: Bans leaf, yard debris, and clean wood from the landfill stream.
        • By July 2020: Bans all food and food scraps from the landfill stream.
      • Includes a hauler mandate that requires trash collectors to also collect recyclables, leaf and yard debris, and food scraps.   
      • Nation’s first legislated food recovery hierarchy that sets priorities for what happens to food waste.
    • Why?
      • Until 2014, 60,000 tons of food was thrown away by Vermonters each year. ANR estimates that 30%-40% of the food being thrown away was edible.
      • 13% of Vermonters are food insecure.
      • 24% of the state’s population requires assistance from the Foodbank each year.
      • Decade-long stagnation of recycling and composting rates.
      • California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut also mandate separation of organic materials from those destined for the landfill. Vermont has joined this vanguard of states changing the status quo of how we think about the waste we generate.
    • Results so far:
      • Between 2014 and 2015, trash disposal decreased 5 percent statewide while recycling and composting increased 2 percent
      • “The implementation of these laws is estimated to reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 37 percent by 2022 (96,000 metric tons carbon equivalent)” (Source)
      • “Food donations have increased by nearly 40 percent from 2015 to 2016 ” (Source)
  • Organics – “‘Organics’, or organic materials, are any plant or animal materials or byproducts which will decompose into soil. Food scraps like carrot tops, egg shells, coffee grounds, and bread crusts—as well as leaves, grass and wood—are all organic materials. Paper napkins and paper towels are made from wood pulp and will also decompose into soil.”(Source).
  • Organics diversion – Act 148 mandates that organic materials – including leaves, wood, food scraps, yard waste, and edible food – are diverted away from our trash cans and landfills. Instead of disposing these materials into the landfills stream, there are higher purposes for these materials. Reducing waste overall is critical – improving transportation and storage of food and reducing the amount of packaging and trash associated with it is the first step. More efficient storage and life-extension strategies can also decrease waste. Then, food can be redirected to help feed hungry people. Food that is not edible by people can be used to help produce more food within our state – either as a source of nutrients for pigs and chickens, or as a soil amendment through the composting process. Organic waste that is not suitable for these purposes could also be used for energy recovery. Some of these processes are regulated under Federal and State law – please see our relevant pages for more information.
    • See also: Vermont Recovery Hierarchy, Act 148
  • Recycling: approved recyclable plastics (#1-6), clean paper/cardboard, and metals (Highfields )
  • Resource Recovery – The capture of near raw or readily-recyclable materials for their reincorporation into consumer markets; composting and metals/plastic recycling (Highfields).
  • Single Stream Recycling – “Refers to a system in which all paper fibers, plastics, metals, and other containers are mixed in a collection truck, instead of being sorted by the depositor into separate commodities and handled separately throughout the collection process. In single-stream, both the collection and processing systems are designed to handle this fully commingled mixture of recyclables, with materials being separated for reuse at a materials recovery facility (MRF).  The single-stream option replaces the dual-stream option, which is where people separate certain recyclable materials and place them in separate containers for collection” (Source). Single stream recycling can be more efficient in terms of volume and transportation, but can often sacrifice on the quality of the recycled materials.
  • Solid waste management – “the supervised handling of waste material from generation at the source through the recovery processes to disposal “ (OECD)
  • Source separation – “Sorting of different materials comprising a waste (such as glass, metals, paper, plastics) at its point of generation, for a simpler and more efficient recycling or final disposal.” This is the more traditional system of recycling, as opposed to single stream recycling, which was first instituted in California in the 1990’s. Source separation recycling puts more of the onus on businesses and residents, as more thought and time is required to properly sort recyclables.
  • Tipping fees - A fee paid by anyone disposing of waste at a landfill (Waste Management)
    • See also: “Understanding Tipping Fees”
  • Trash: materials for which there is no approved recycling plan, i.e. plastic wraps, plastic utensils, packaging. Vermont only has one landfill in the state – Coventry, which takes ⅔rds of the 600,000 tons of waste thrown away in Vermont every year and is owned and operated by Casella.
  • Wasted food - Food waste is part of total food loss and refers to discarding, or using in ways other than consumption, food that is safe and nutritious for human consumption, at any point along the entire food supply chain, from primary production to end household consumer level.
  • Windrow Composting – Suited for large volumes of compost, like that generated by an entire community. “This type of composting involves forming organic waste into rows of long piles called “windrows” and aerating them periodically by either manually or mechanically turning the piles. The ideal pile height is between four and eight feet with a width of 14 to 16 feet. This size pile is large enough to generate enough heat and maintain temperatures. It is small enough to allow oxygen flow to the windrow’s core.” (EPA)
  • Zero Waste/Reduced Waste: An event philosophy which strives to mitigate the production of non-recyclable byproducts. Zero Waste is a “no waste”, sustainable approach to managing the production and life cycle of goods and products. A Zero Waste restaurant, school, venue or event maximizes recycling (including composting) and minimizes landfillable waste. Different strategies can accomplish this goal, such as aiming to increase the ratio of recyclable and compostable material that is being properly disposed of, or choosing to switch to materials that can be composted or recycled, rather than landfilled.Through maximizing recycling efforts at gatherings and events upwards of 75% or more of the waste stream can be diverted to recycling and/or composting.
    • See also: “Compostable Disposables”. Highfields’ resources and signage for waste disposal during events.