What do all the acronyms mean?

Environmental acronymsThe most confusing thing about any field can be getting to grips with those dreaded TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) and new terminology.

Here is a list that (we hope) will help the perplexed. Google each topic if you want to explore the area further.

AD – Anerobic Digestion. A method for treating organic waste without air to generate compost and biogas, which can be used as a fuel.

Aspects – things about your activities / products / services that can interact with the environment (e.g. energy used, waste generated). For an EMS system, you will have to formally list your environmental aspects.

BPEO – Best Practicable Environmental Option

BMS – Building Management System. An automated system which regulates building heating and cooling.

BS8555 – A five-stage EMS (Environmental Management System) which has been designed for smaller companies. The fifth stage is certification to an externally audited standard like ISO14001.

CIWM – the Chartered Institute of Waste Managers, a professional body for those in this industry.

CHP – Combined Heat and Power. Such systems burn fuel for electricity generation and also use the heat to warm an area (a building, a swimming pool, local buildings)

CRC – Carbon Reduction Commitment. Legislation applying to businesses and organisations using 6,000MWh or more of electricity.

CCL– Climate Change Levy. A tax on energy used for lighting, heating and power by business consumers. CCL does not apply to domestic consumers or to charities for non-business use.

Duty of Care – regulations applying to all businesses around waste management.

EA – Environment Agency. The regulator for environmental enforcement – handling everything from fishing licences to pollution spill responses and CRC.

EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment – a tool used during building and construction to measure environmental damage an installation may cause

EFW – Energy From Waste – plants which burn waste to generate electricity

EMAS – the European Union Eco-Management and Audit Scheme.  This is an advanced type of EMS.

EMS – Environmental Management System. A formal way of recording your environmental footprint and working towards improvements. ISO 14001 is one of the most common systems. Find out more about developing an EMS via our courses.

ESOS –  Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme. This is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK that meet the qualification criteria. Find out more here.

EWC – European Waste Code. All wastes should have specified on transfer documents.

IEMA – the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment. A professional industry body.

Impacts – your activities which cause actual environmental change – e.g. discharging effluent to water, CO2 from heating systems, waste to a landfill site. Impacts can be positive. You have to formally measure and record your impacts as part of an EMS.

ISO 14001 – one of the most common EMS systems, particularly used by larger companies or those who manufacture. It is a sister system to ISO9001 (which is for quality management). It’s possible to combine these systems and Health and Safety into an Integrated Management System.

ISO 5001 – an energy management standard

LCA – Life Cycle Analysis – a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from-cradle-to-grave

MEES –   Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. Find out more by reading the 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations.

NIMBY – ‘Not In My Backyard’ – describes the protests that often accompany planning applications for environmental facilities

OPRA – Operator Pollution Risk Appraisal. Used by the EA on waste management sites and companies.

PRN – Packaging Recycling Note. These will be needed by businesses who need to adhere to packaging regulations (those who handle 50+ tonnes of packaging p.a. and hand a turnover or group turnover of £2m+).

ROHS  – Restricting Of Hazardous Substances – regulations applying to those who manufacture

RDF – Refuse Derived Fuel – a fuel produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste.

REACH – Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulations. They apply to businesses that manufacture or import chemical substances or preparations.

SHE – Safety, Health and Environment – a job title for those working a mixed role, often in industry

SHEQ – as above, but with additional responsibility for Quality Management

WEEE – waste electronic and electrical equipment. The UK has collection targets for WEEE and it must be dealt with separately from other waste.

Written on 28th July 2015NetworkUser
Published in Frequently asked questions