Responsible Purchasing Network

Copy Paper: Definitions


This glossary includes key terms from the Guide and may be used as a companion to the text.


Acid rain acidic compounds caused by pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that collect in the atmosphere, are absorbed by clouds, and create acidic rainfall
Baseline basic information gathered before a program begins that is used later to provide a comparison for assessing program impact
Bioaccumulate process whereby harmful substances concentrate or magnify as they move up the food chain
British thermal unit (Btu) unit of energy describing the energy content of fuels; one BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Chlorine-free manufactured without chlorine or chlorine derivatives
Deinking removing ink and impurities from recovered paper to produce recycled fiber pulp
Dioxins chemical compounds classified as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBTs) by the EPA
Elemental chlorine-free paper or pulp that is bleached using chlorine dioxide (ClO2) rather than elemental chlorine (Cl2)
Furans chemical compounds classified as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBTs) by the EPA
Global warming observed increase in average global temperature and change in sea level and weather patterns due to higher levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere
Greenhouse gas heat-trapping gas in the Earth's atmosphere responsible for global warming; category includes water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, CFCs, and nitrogen oxides
Green power electricity produced from energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal, that are cleaner than conventional fuels and do not produce hazardous waste; in paper production fuel source may include logging waste that cannot be used to make pulp.
Hazardous substance 1. material posing a threat to human health and/or the environment, that can be toxic, corrosive, ignitable, explosive, or chemically reactive, 2. substance that must be reported to the EPA if released into the environment.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) trash or garbage consisting of everyday items such as product packaging, furniture, bottles, food scraps, paper, appliances, paint
Municipal waste combuster (MWC) incinerators or waste-to-energy plants where municipal solid waste is burned to generate power
Nitrogen oxides  class of conventional air pollutants from fossil fuel combustion that contribute to smog and acid rain
NOx see "nitrogen oxides"
Ozone  1. ground level pollutant that causes respiratory damage, 2. component of upper atmosphere that prevents ultraviolet sunlight from reaching the earth's surface
Paper fiber biosolids   
 untreated solid, semisolid or liquid residue generated during papermaking process
PCW   
post-consumer waste (See Post-consumer recycled content.)
Physical separation    
procedure in which different types of raw material are segregated so that their origins are known at every stage of their lifecycle.
Percentage based method    
 process whereby various certified raw materials are commingled and origin is defined by proportions rather than physical separation
Post-consumer recycled content material recovered from a consumer product at the end of its life, diverted from waste destined for disposal and used again in the manufacturing of a product
Pre-consumer recycled content recovered material that does not come in contact with end-use consumer; includes waste left over from manufacturing, converting and printing processes.
Processed chlorine-free (PCF) recycled paper or pulp that is unbleached or bleached without chlorine or chlorine derivatives
Pulp fibrous material prepared from wood, cotton, grasses, etc., by chemical or mechanical processes for use in making paper
Recovered material waste materials and by-products that have been diverted from the solid waste stream; includes pre- and post-consumer materials.
Sludge residual semi-solid material left from industrial, water treatment, or wastewater treatment processes (See Paper fiber biosolids.)
Totally chlorine-free (TCF) virgin paper or pulp that is unbleached or processed with a sequence that includes no chlorine or chlorine derivatives
Virgin paper or fiber not from recycled content; most often refers to paper or fiber from wood pulp





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