Temas Glossary

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greenhouse gas: popular term for a gas that, once released into the atmosphere, interferes with the loss of heat by radiation from the Earth, causing the planet's temperature to rise. Two of the best-known greenhouse gases are methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2); others include nitrous oxide, CFCs.

green procurement: the purchasing of products or services that have a reduced impact on the environment.

groundwater: Water existing beneath the earth's surface in aquifers or underground streams.

Group of 77 (G-77): caucus of developing countries at the United Nations started in 1964 by 77 countries. The G-77 now has 131 members, but retains the name.

half-life: the amount of time required for a radioactive substance to lose 1/2 its radioactivity.

halons: simple hydrocarbon derivatives in which bromine, chlorine and fluorine are substituted for hydrogen atoms. Halons have been utilized principally in fire extinguishers. They are targeted for control and phase-out under the Montreal Protocol.

hazardous preparation: mixture or solution composed of two or more substances that, taken together, pose a threat to public health and/or the environment.

hazardous substance: any substance that poses a threat to public health and/or the environment. Most regulatory definitions include all those substances determined to be toxic, corrosive, ignitable, explosive or chemically reactive.

hazardous waste: waste that can pose a substantial or potential hazard to human health and the environment. These wastes have at least one of four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity.

health claim: in food law, a claim made in food labeling or promotion that asserts or implies a relationship of the food and/or its components to a disease or health-related condition.

heavy metals: metallic elements with an atomic number greater than 20, as in cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc. Heavy metals damage living things at low concentrations and tend to accumulate in the food chain.

herbicide: a chemical pesticide designed to control or destroy grasses, weeds, or plants.

household hazardous wastes: items commonly found in households that, upon disposal, can become hazardous wastes due to their ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity. Examples include: adhesives; latex and oil-based paints; paint thinners and strippers; grease and rust solvents; wood and metal cleaners; nail polish and removers; cosmetics; household polishes and cleaners; oven cleaners; drain openers; lighter fluids; fungicides; wood preservatives; insecticides; herbicides; rat poisons; used oil and oil filters; fuel injection and carburetor cleaners; antifreeze; spent batteries; broken thermometers.

hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): chemicals developed as a substitute for CFCs mostly used in refrigeration and insulating foam. Although they are less harmful to the ozone layer, their global warming potential has been shown to be anywhere from 140 to 11,700 times that of CO2.
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' Recycling & Solid Waste Policy
in Latin America and the Caribbean '
by Keith E. Ripley

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