Sustainable Development Glossary – R

Join a Smart Word! We know how frustrating it can be to read an interesting article on sustainable development and not knowing certain terms. Finding a concise definition on internet can take some time. At the YMP we want to make your reading and learning easier with our Sustainable Development Glossary A-Z.


Is the term that you look for missing in the list below? Let us know in a comment at the end of this page. We will add that term for you!

radioactive – Having atoms that break up and send out radiation which can penetrate the surface of something, sometimes producing harmful effects.


ratify – Ratification is the process of adopting an international binding document by the agreement of many countries.


raw materials – (natural, untreated, unfinished) Natural product which manufacturing processes turn into another product.


raw materials extraction – (mining, forestry) Obtaining materials from the natural environment for human use and production.


recycling – (reuse, reclaim, convert) Treating used material so that it can be used again.


recycling centre – A place where materials (glass, metal, paper, etc.) are brought for recycling.


reduce – (decrease, lessen, diminish) To make something smaller in size, number, degree, price, etc.


refinery – A plant used to process crude oil or metals. An oil refinery separates the fractions of crude oil and converts them into usable products.


refund system – Paying customers to return used products (such as empty bottles).


refrigerant – Substance that refrigerates, or makes something cold.


refrigeration – Involves the storage of foods at temperatures ranging from 10 degrees Celsius to -2 degrees Celsius. With refrigeration, the life of perishable products is extended for a few days or weeks and refrigeration prevents the growth of almost all disease-causing microorganisms. For many foods, it does not usually affect the food’s taste or texture.


refrigerator – (also called “fridge” or “ice-box”) A mechanical cabinet or room in which food is kept cold to preserve it.


refund system – Paying customers to return used products (such as empty bottles).


relate – (explain, describe, communicate) (1) To give an account of facts, experiences, etc. (2) To connect (two or more things) in thought or meaning.


remanufacturing – Taking a used product (such as a refrigerator) apart and replacing worn out parts.


renewable energy sources – Energy sources that are renewed by natural processes including wind, biomass, solar, geothermal, and water. (Get a complete and easy free e-book on bioenergy)


repairable – Able to be fixed or repaired.


reservoir – A natural or artificial lake used as a source or store of water for a town, etc.


resources – (1) Anything obtained from the living and non-living environment to meet human needs and wants. (2) A component of the environment that is utilized by an organism.


“resource efficiency” – The measure of how efficiently resources are used throughout the entire life-cycle of goods and services.


respective – (particular, separate, individual) (1) In particular. (2) In the order given.


reuse – To use something again.


Rio Declaration – The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, often shortened to Rio Declaration, was a short document produced at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Rio Declaration consists of 27 principles intended to guide future sustainable development around the world.


risk – (danger, hazard) (1) The possibility of meeting danger or suffering harm, loss, etc. (2) To expose someone or something to danger.


rivet – A metal pin with a head, used to secure two or more pieces.


rodent – A gnawing mammal, examples of rodents are mice, rats, chipmunks, beavers, and squirrels.


role – (position, function, purpose) The function or importance of somebody or something.


ruthless – Without mercy or pity.

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