Erlang processes are neither operating system processes nor operating system threads, but lightweight processes somewhat similar to Java's original “green threads” (the Java Virtual Machine now uses native threads). Like operating system processes (and unlike green threads and operating system threads) they have no shared state between them. The estimated minimal overhead for each is 300 words (4 bytes per word on 32-bit platforms, 8 bytes per word on 64-bit platforms), so many of them can be created without degrading performance (a benchmark with 20 million processes was tried).
The Erlang virtual machine has what might be called 'green processes' - they are like operating system processes (they do not share state like threads do) but are implemented within the Erlang Run Time System (erts). These are sometimes (erroneously) cited as 'green threads'.