THE word "single-use" is Collins’ Word of the Year. I agree with the choice. I’ve encountered and even used this word several times in my column in this paper and in my weekly radio program.

“Single-use” refers to materials that are discarded after being used once like mineral water bottles, plastic cups, straws and stirrers. It is similar to the more popular word ‘disposable.’

Collins' records show a four-fold increase in usage of "single-use" since 2013. It shows that there is heightened awareness on the problem of single-use products. This awareness has resulted in legislations banning the use of single-use materials, including the landmark anti-plastic legislation passed by the European parliament. Single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks or cotton buds, will be banned in the European Union beginning 2021.

Aside from “single-use,” here are other terms in waste management that we often encounter:

Combustibles - burnable materials in the garbage like paper, plastics, wood, and garden wastes.

Composting - biological decomposition of solid organic materials by bacteria, fungi, and other organisms into a soil-like product.

Curbside collection - collection of compostables, recyclables, or trash at the edge of a sidewalk in front of a residence or shop.

Emissions - gases released into the atmosphere.

Hazardous waste - waste that is reactive, toxic, corrosive, or otherwise dangerous to living things and/or the environment. In the Philippines, these are the waste regulated under RA 6969.

Heavy metals - metals of high atomic weight and density, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium that are toxic to living organisms.

Inorganic waste - waste composed of material other than plant or animal matter, such as sand, dust, glass, and many synthetics.

Leachate - liquid (which may be partly produced by decomposition of organic matter) that has seeped through a landfill or a compost pile and has accumulated bacteria and other possibly harmful dissolved or suspended materials. If uncontrolled, leachate can contaminate both groundwater and surface water.

Materials recovery facility (MRF) - a facility for separating commingled recyclables by manual or mechanical means. Some MRFs are designed to separate recyclables from mixed MSW. An MRF is required for each barangay or cluster of barangays under RA 9003.

Nimby - "Not In My Back Yard." An expression of resident opposition to the siting of a solid waste facility based on the particular location proposed.

Organic waste - technically, waste containing carbon, including paper, plastics, wood, food wastes, and yard wastes. In practice in MSWM, the term is often used in a more restricted sense to mean material that is more directly derived from plant or animal sources, and which can generally be decomposed by microorganisms.

Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) - fuel produced from MSW that has undergone processing. Processing can include separation of recyclables and noncombustible materials, shredding, size reduction, and pelletizing.

Resource recovery - the extraction and utilization of materials and energy from wastes.

Tipping fee - a fee for unloading or dumping waste at a landfill, transfer station, incinerator, or recycling facility.