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Radiation refers to the transfer of energy in the form of electromagnetic waves or particles through any space or medium.  Ionizing and non-ionizing radiation can cause changes within the natural environment, while ionizing radiation can be harmful to living organisms and has the potential to cause damage to DNA.


Radioactive refers to substances that give off or are capable of giving off radiation in the form of alpha or beta particles, gamma rays, or neutrons.  Radioactive materials are often combined with hazardous waste, or are sourced from nuclear reactors, research institutions, or hospitals.  Depending on the nature of the radioactive material, radioactive waste can be hazardous to humans and the environment.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting refers to the process of collecting the rainwater that lands on your roof for later use.  Plumbing pipes are used to divert the water from the roof to a central tank.  With the correct plumbing fixtures, the water tank can be attached to a water pump and used for household purposes such as flushing toilets or washing clothing.  Harvested rainwater may be suitable for drinking as long as there is a filter installed and the water tank is rated for potable water storage.

Recovered Material

The term recovered material refers to products, components or parts from a manufacturing process that have been captured and sorted as a separate resource with real economic value.  Recovered materials are often sorted at a materials recovery facility (MRF), where household materials such as plastics, glass, paper, steel and aluminium are recycled for domestic and international markets.

Recovery Rate

In waste management, the recovery rate refers to the percentage of usable recycled materials that have been diverted from the total solid waste stream within a household, business or locality. 

Recycled Aggregates

Recycled aggregates refer to a range of waste materials such as crushed concrete or asphalt from construction and demolition works, which have been collected for reuse in other building projects.  These recycled aggregates are used for construction works including road base, sidewalks, kerb and guttering, and structural concrete.

Recycled Timber

Recycled timber refers to the process of salvaging timber or wood from old houses, buildings, warehouses, railways and wharves where it can be turned into usable timber for new construction projects or furniture.  Timber recycling is an environmentally-friendly form of timber production as it is not associated with deforestation, and has a reduced impact on climate change and natural resources.

Recycler Self Certified - Sustainability Standard

Recycler is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

Traders displaying this credential are telling you that they will take back the product they are selling  you once you no longer have any use for it. Generally the trader will recycle the product into something else and re-sell it.


Recycling refers to the process of collecting, sorting and turning waste into usable raw materials that can be reprocessed into new products.  Recycling helps to reduce consumption of natural resources, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce waste, energy usage, and water and air pollution.

Red Tide

Red tide refers to the sudden surge in toxic, naturally occurring, aquatic plankton (microorganisms) in coastal waters or freshwater environments.  A tide can be red, brown or green depending on the colour of the plankton, and can be fatal to fish, birds, marine mammals, and other organisms due to the production of natural toxins, depletion of dissolved oxygen or other harmful effects.

Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDDs)

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDDs) is an offset mechanism that provides carbon offsets in return for protecting or avoiding forest destruction.  REDDs protect existing forests from destruction, and have the potential to channel financial investments from western countries to developing countries, to encourage preservation of their old growth forests.


Reforestation refers to the process of planting and growing new trees, and restoring forests where trees were once cleared for agricultural or harvesting purposes.

Refurbished Product

A refurbished product is a product that has been completely dismantled, has had the parts completely restored, and is then reassembled to its original working order with the maximum reuse of the original materials.

Refuse Reclamation

Refuse reclamation refers to the conversion of solid municipal waste into useful products.  Examples of refuse reclamation include composting organic matter to produce soil conditioners, and separating metals or recycling, and processing mixed wastes to produce fuel. The process of reclaiming refuse reduces the need for raw materials, and reduces waste and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative agriculture or conventional agriculture refers to the process of repairing the damage caused to the environment by typical agricultural methods such as decreased soil quality and increased carbon emissions.  Degraded agricultural soils, land and water can be regenerated by using organic and biodynamic farming methods, permaculture, pasture cropping, and natural management of waterways and floodplains.

Registered Emission Reductions (RERs)

Registered emission reductions (RERs) are carbon offsets that are produced from the carbon dioxide sequestered by trees.  They are referred to as ‘registered’ as they are registered with the Land Titles Office and are subject to the Forest Property Act under a registered Forest Property Agreement in each State of Australia.  RERs are sold in the voluntary market to businesses wishing to offset their carbon emissions. 


A release refers to any hazardous substance, pollutant, toxic chemical or contaminant being discharged, dumped, emitted, injected, leached, leaked, pumped or spilled into the natural environment.


Renewable refers to the earth’s natural resources that are able to be replaced or replenished despite being harvested, either by human intervention or natural processes.  Air, water, wood and paper are often considered to be examples of renewable resources.  These renewable resources are able to become non-renewable if humans use them much faster than they can be replenished.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy refers to energy resources that are naturally replenished and can keep producing indefinitely without being depleted.  This includes energy sources such as solar, wind, wood, waste, geothermal, wave, tidal, ground source and biofuels. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy sources produce fewer greenhouse gases and contribute less to global warming.

Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)

A renewable energy certificate (REC) represents one mega-watt hour of renewable energy generated, which are derived from energy sources such as wind farms, solar power, hydroelectric power and biofuels.  A REC is a form of renewable energy currency and can be traded for cash with the value fluctuating according to market conditions. 

Renewable Resources Self Certified - Sustainability Standard

Renewable resources is a sustainability standard an trader might claim.

Traders committed to utilizing renewable resources support using only products that can be replenished naturally and within reasonable time frames.

Resource Depletion

Resource depletion refers to the process of exhausting all of the natural resources within a region. This may include the exhaustion of both renewable and non-renewable resources.  Resource depletion is commonly associated with industries such as farming, fishing, mining and fossil fuel production.

Resource Efficiency

Resource efficiency refers to the practice of doing more with less material consumption and production of waste products.  By reducing the amount of water, energy and raw materials used in designing and producing products, organisations can reduce their environmental impacts as well as benefiting from financial savings.

Resource Recovery

Resource recovery is the process of obtaining matter or energy from disposed materials for another use, such as composting, recycling or generating energy.  The process of resource recovery benefits the environment by extracting the maximum practical benefit from a product, delaying the consumption of raw materials, and reducing waste generation. 

Reuse, Return Packaging - Self Certified - Sustainability Standard

Reuse, Return Packaging is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

Traders displaying this certification either make it possible for customers to return used packaging so that it can be cleaned and reused, or disposed of an in environmentally friendly manner. Some traders will also sell refills which can be placed directly back into your original packaging.


Revegetation is the process of replanting and restoring natural areas that have been environmentally degraded.  This may include replacing soil or vegetation in areas where erosion, wildfire, agriculture, mining or flooding has occurred.

Riparian Area

A riparian area is an area of adjacent to water such as rivers, lakes, streams and marshes.  These areas vary in their density, diversity, physical characteristics and productivity of animal and animal species relative to the upland areas nearby.

Riparian Buffer

A riparian buffer refers to the vegetated area near an aquatic and riparian ecosystem that helps to naturally protect water quality, provide shade for temperature control, reduce pollution, and provide habitat for aquatic and riparian species.

Riparian Rights

Riparian rights refer to a land owners right to make use of the water that is contained on or bordering their property, including the right to prevent water diversion or misuse.  Swimming access, boating, fishing, erection of structures such as docks, and domestic water use are included in the riparian rights.

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm. The RSPO certification assures consumers of the sustainable production of palm oil.


Run-off refers to the rainfall, snow melt, or irrigation water that flows off the land into streams or other waterways, when the soil is infiltrated to full capacity.  This run-off many contaminate the receiving waters.