This short glossary relates to terminology used in electronics and e-waste recycling.
Alkaline cell – a zinc based cell that uses an alkaline electrolyte. A widely used replacement for the dry cell.
Battery – two or more electrochemical cells connected as a unit or assembly.
Cable – a assembly consisting of two or more wires and usually having an outer protective sheath.
CD – compact disk, an optical storage media now largely superseded by DVDs and electronic storage.
Cell – an electrochemical device used to produce electricity. Two or more make up a battery.
CCFL – cold cathode fluorescent lamp. Typically used in LCD monitors but being replaced by LEDs in new models.
CFL – compact fluorescent lamp.
Chip – an integrated circuit.
Circuit – a pictorial representation of the interconnections and functions of an electrical or electronic device. Also known as a schematic or wiring diagram.
CPU – central processing unit, a integrated circuit or part of an integrated circuit in a computer.
Component – one of a number of devices used to make up a circuit.
Conflict minerals – minerals sourced in a region where there is a war and where the proceeds of the sale of those minerals funds the war effort.
CRT – cathode ray tube, a display device used on televisions, computer monitors, oscilloscopes, radars, and other equipment. Largely superseded by LCD displays.
Deposit-refund system (DRS) – a means of increasing recycling rates by charging a fee at purchase and a refund on being returned.
Dry cell – a zinc based primary cell.
DVD – digital versatile disk or digital video disk, an optical storage media used with computers and entertainment equipment.
E-cycling – a neologism that describes the process of turning discarded electrical and electronics items into new commodities that are in a different form.
EEE – electrical and electronic equipment, an acronym commonly used in the EU and UN
EPR – extended producer responsibility, a method of ensuring environmental costs are incorporated into the cost of an item.
EOL – end of life, a point at which an item is recycled or discarded.
E-scrap – any discarded electrical and electronic equipment destined for recycling.
E-waste – any discarded electrical and electronic equipment.
FDD – floppy disc drive, a magnetic storage device used in computers. Now largely superseded.
Gel cell – a type of lead acid battery that uses a gel as the electrolyte rather than a liquid.
HDD – hard disk drive, a magnetic storage device used in computers.
Heavy metal – metals or metalloids that are harmful if released into the environment. An essentially meaningless term due to a lack of clear definition.
Integrated circuit – a component used in electronics equipment consisting of a number of components on a substrate and in some form of packaging. Also know as a chip from the now archaic term of silicon chip.
LCD – liquid crystal display, an assembly that can produce a colour or monochrome display. Used on watches, computer monitors, televisions and many other electronic devices.
LED – light-emitting diode, a solid-state semiconductor that can emit visible and invisible light.
Li-ion – lithium ion, used to describe one of a number of lithium based batteries and cells
LiPo – lithium polymer, used to describe one of a number of lithium based batteries and cells
OEM – original equipment manufacturer. An OEM manufactures products for companies that have a well known brand.
OLED – organic light-emitting diode.
PCB – (a) printed circuit board, a board with traces, usually consisting of copper, on which components can be mounted.
(b) polychlorinated biphenyl, a chemical substance formerly used in transformers as an electrical insulator. Now phased out due to serious environmental concerns
PCBA – an abbreviation for printed circuit board (PCB) assembly, an assembly consisting of a PCB along with the components mounted on it.
Plasma – a state of matter along with solid, liquid, and gas. Plasma displays have been used in televisions.
Primary cell – a non-chargeable cell.
PSU – power supply unit.
PWB – printed wiring board, also known as a PCB (printed circuit board).
RAM – random access memory, electronic storage integrated circuits in a computer.
Recertification – the process of reverting a device to an as new standard that is certified by the OEM.
Recycling – the process of turning an item usually consisting of a number of differing materials into it other materials or substances. c.f. e-cycling
Refurbishment – the process improving an item though repairing, upgrading, maintaining, cleaning, and any other process.
Remarketing – a relatively new term describing purchase or sale, the testing and refurbishment, and the sale of second hand equipment. Commonly use to describe the sale of enterprise owned or ex-lease computer equipment.
Repurposing – converting an item from its former use into something that services a different purpose.
Reuse – reusing an item for its original purpose.
RoHS – the European Union Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive.
Secondary cell – a rechargeable cell.
Schematic – see circuit.
Test and tag – a term often used for electrical safety testing.
VRLA – valve -regulated lead acid battery, also known as a sealed lead acid battery.
WEEE – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, an abbreviation brought into usage by the European Union.
Wire – an insulated or uninsulated conductor. The conductors may consist of a number of strands or it may be solid.