Polycarbonate Plastic (noun): a particular group of thermoplastic polymers. They are easily worked, moulded, and thermoformed. Because of these properties, polycarbonates find many applications. Polycarbonates do not have a unique plastic identification code and are identified as Other, 7. Their hydrolysis (degradation by water, often referred to as leaching) releases BPA. Applications of Polycarbonates include electrical components, construction materials, data storage devices, water bottles, DVDs, CDs, soundwalls, and bullet resistant glass.

Post-Consumer recycled content (noun): material that is recovered after its intended use as a consumer product, then reused as a component of another product. Examples of post-consumer waste that are recycled include carpet tiles (for new yarn and tile backing), aluminum cans, PET soda bottles, and office paper.

Post Industrial Recycled Content (noun): also known as Pre-Consumer Recycled Content, it is waste material from manufacturing processes that is reused as a component of another product. Post-industrial recycled content comes from material that would have otherwise been waste, and has undergone some physical recycling process. Examples of post-industrial waste that are recycled include yarn extrusion waste, metal scrap, and fiber in paper manufacturing.

Potable (adj): safe to drink, drinkable, pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. Developing countries often have little access to potable water and attaining a potable water resource for these areas has been a major humanitarian goal.

Pre-Owned (adj): Vintage, used, pre-owned — it's all new to you. Made in the 1920s or 2005, a pre-owned find has history, and when you buy green and bring it home, you extend its useful life. From purses to jewelry to lamps and beyond, really good things get better with time.(source: eBay)

Preconsumer Recycling (noun): when the materials do not reach the intended use or user (consumer), and are either discarded or recycled. Pre-consumer recycled materials can be broken down and remade into similar or different materials, or can be sold "as is" to third party buyers who then utilize those materials for consumer products. One of the largest contributing industries to the pre-consumer recycling paradigm is the textile industry. Pre-consumer waste by-products from the textile industry include, fibers, fabrics, trims and unsold "new" garments sold to third party buyers.

Precycle Waste Minimization (verb):  is the process and the policy of reducing the amount of waste produced by a person or a society. Waste minimization involves efforts to minimise resource and energy use during manufacture. For the same commercial output, usually the fewer materials are used, the less waste is produced. Waste minimisation usually requires knowledge of the production process, cradle-to-grave analysis (the tracking of materials from their extraction to their return to earth) or environmental impact assessments(EIAs), and detailed knowledge of the composition of the waste.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) (noun): a chemical found in vinyl, emits toxins, contains phthalates.  It is a vinyl polymer constructed of repeating vinyl groups (ethenyls) having one hydrogen replaced by chloride. Polyvinyl chloride is the third most widely produced plastic, after polyethylene and polypropylene. PVC is a controversial material in that during its production, useful life and incineration, especially in accidental and uncontrolled circumstances, it may liberate persistent toxins in manufacture, use and destruction; suitable alternative plastics such as polypropylene do not.


Quest (Quality Utilizing Employee Suggestions and Teamwork) (noun): Interface's initiative designed to eliminate measurable waste by establishing focused and innovative teams throughout the world to identify, measure, and then eliminate waste streams.

Radiation(noun): the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles, especially high-energy particles that cause ionization. The transfer of heat and other energy by the means of electromagnetic waves. The earth is warmed by shortwave radiant energy from the sun, and it warms the overlying atmosphere by longwave radiation. 

Rapidly renewable (adj): materials that replenish faster than hardwoods, like bamboo and cork.

rBGH (rBST): Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone; an engineered hormone which is injected into cows to increase their milk output by 15 percent, or about 10 gallons extra per day.  This puts extra strain on cows as they are forced to overproduce.  Cows injected with rBGH suffer from increases in cystic ovaries, disorders of the uterus, decreases the birth weight of calves, risk of clinical mastitis (produces abnormal milk and cause pain for the cows), period of increased body temperature, increase in digestive disorders, increase number in hocks and lesions, drains the cows' bones of calcium.  Canada has banned rBGH because it threatens the safety of dairy cows.   

Recyclable (adj): a designation for products or materials that are capable of being recovered from, or otherwise diverted from waste streams into an established recycling program. Able to be reused or converted into reusable material

Recycled Content (noun): refers to the amount of recycled materials in a product – typically expressed as a percentage.

Recycled (noun): converted (waste) into reusable material, returned (material) to a previous stage in a cyclic process, used again

Recycling (noun): the series of activities, including collection, separation, and processing, by which materials are recovered from the waste stream for use as raw materials in the manufacture of new products.

Reduce (verb): the process and the policy of reducing the amount of waste produced by a producer, consumer, or society. Waste minimization involves efforts to minimise resource and energy use during manufacture. For the same commercial output, usually the fewer materials are used, the less waste is produced. Waste minimization usually requires knowledge of the production process, cradle-to-grave analysis (the tracking of materials from their extraction to their return to earth) and detailed knowledge of the composition of the waste. In the waste hierarchy, the most effective approaches to managing waste are at the top (prevention). In contrast to waste minimisation, waste management focuses on processing waste after it is created, concentrating on re-userecycling, and waste-to-energy conversion.

Reentry Program (noun): Interface's reclamation program through which carpet is taken back at the end of its useful life.

Reforestation (noun): the restocking of existing forests and woodlands which have been depleted, an effect of deforestation. Reforestation can be used to improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigate global warming since forests facilitate biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and harvest for resources, particularly timber.

Renewable (adj): a resource or energy that is replaced by natural processes and if replenished with the passage of time

Renewable Energy Credits (RECS), Green Tags, Green Energy Certificates, Tradable renewable certificates (noun): these commodities represent the technology and environmental attributes of electricity generated from 

Renewable Resources (noun): a resource that can be replenished at a rate equal to or greater than its rate of depletion. Examples of renewable resources include corn, trees, and soy-based products.

Reproductive toxin (Genitotoxin) (noun): a substance that can damage, poison, or destroy reproductive tissues, organs or cells.

Repurposing (noun): cleaning or refurbishing that allows a product to be reused again in its current form, thereby extending its useful life.

Reuse (verb): to use an item more than once. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function, and new-life reuse where it is used for a different function. contrast recycling. By taking useful products and exchanging them, without reprocessing, reuse help save time, money, energy, and resources. In broader economic terms, reuse offers quality products to people and organizations with limited means, while generating jobs and business activity that contribute to the economy.


Salvage (verb): rescue from loss, retrieve or preserve something from potential loss or adverse circumstances.

Single use (disposable) (adj): a product designed for cheapness and short-term convenience rather than medium to long-term durability, with most products only intended for single use. The term is also sometimes used for products that may last several months (ex. disposable air filters) to distinguish from similar products that last indefinitely (ex. washable air filters).

Social business (noun): a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective within the highly regulated marketplace of today. It is distinct from a non-profit because the business should seek to generate a modest profit but this will be used to expand the company's reach, improve the product or service or in other ways to subsidise the social mission. This term describes broadly 'commercial activity by socially minded organizations'. Charities may engage in social enterprise in order to generate funds, as per the 'op-shop' model; a social enterprise model may also be used to provide supported employment to those with barriers to work. Kick Starter and Kiva are renowned examples. 

Social entrepreneur (noun): social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals. Social entrepreneurs are most commonly associated with the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors, but this need not preclude making a profit.

Solar Energy (noun): he energy of the sun, that reaches the surface of the Earth in the form of visible light, short-wave radiation, ultraviolet light, and all other wavelength qualities. After penetrating the atmosphere the energy heats the surface of the Earth while part of it is re-radiated into the atmosphere in the form of long-wave radiation and absorbed by carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere. The utilization of solar for the generation of of electricity using photovoltaic cells has been developed in recent years, providing for energy utilities and satellites (which are able to absorb extra terrestrial radiation like ultraviolet waves). Biological systems use sunlit algae to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and and protein rich carbohydrates.

Stakeholder (noun): an individual or group potentially affected by the activities of a company or organization; in sustainable business models the term includes financial shareholders as well as those affected by environmental or social factors such as suppliers, consumers, employees, the local community, and the natural environment.

Standards (noun): governmental or privately-created criteria used to regulate or evaluate products, consumers, organizations and/or producers. Standards can play a critical role in stimulating the market and giving companies information to create better products or change corporate behavior. An example is the LEED green building rating system for buildings, or the Take Back laws imposed in the European Union. See INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION

Sustainability (noun): the aspiration to ensure that meeting the needs of the present does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, the most widely accepted definition comes from "Our Common Future," Report of World Commission on Environment and Development, commonly called the The Brundtland Report).

Sustainable (adj): able to be maintained or upheld while conserving an ecological balance and avoiding the depletion of natural resources; can apply to other fields.

Sustainable fashion: also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and responsibility.

Synthetic Chemical (noun): an artificially produced chemicals.

Synthetic Organic Chemicals (noun): artificial organic chemicals, some of which are volatile and others of which tend to stay dissolved in water without undergoing evaporation.

Textile:  A flexible material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread, textiles are usually used to make clothing, bedding, and more.

Three Rs (noun): Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Throughout the green movement these three words have been used to describe processes concerned with waste minimalization. There have been addendums made to this list for example The Story of Stuff's Reject (describing short life products) and the composting Rot. There is also Rethink and Repurpose.

Thriftcycle (noun): the series of stages in a product's (usually clothing's) lifecycle beginning at purchase and ending before the garment is discarded permanently, as long as the product is exchanged at least once in a market scenario between a consumer and vendor. Usually the stages are purchase, usage, and mercantile transaction. Thrift stores are able to sell and either accept donations or buy clothing.

Toxicity (noun): a physiological or biological property that enables a chemical to do harm. or create injury, to a living organism by  other than mechanical means; the ability of a chemical to cause poisoning when the chemical is administered to a living organism in a an appropriate form in and manner. Some  chemicals have a low-toxicity potential whereas others have a high toxicity. 

Transitional (noun): the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. a passage in a piece of writing that smoothly connects two topics or sections to each other.(Physics)a change of an atom, nucleus, electron, etc., from one quantum state to another, with emission or absorption of radiation. (verb) undergo or cause to undergo a process or period of transition

Triclosan: is an antibacterial andantifungal agent. Despite being used in many consumer products, beyond its use in toothpaste to prevent gingivitis, there is no evidence according to the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that triclosan provides an extra benefit to health in other consumer products.

Triple bottom line / quadruple (noun): captures an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success: economic, ecological and social (profit, planet, and people). With the ratification of the United Nations and ICLEI TBL standard for urban and community accounting in early 2007, this became the dominant approach to public sector full cost accounting. Similar UN standards apply to natural capital and human capital measurement to assist in measurements required by TBL, e.g. the ecoBudget standard for reporting ecological footprint.

Upcycle (verb): is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

USDA(United States Department of Agriculture): the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy onfarmingagriculture, and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and abroad. It also certifies organic agriculture products.

USDA Certified Organic: Label given to food products that meet the requirements set by the National Organic Program (NOP).  To receive the certifying label, at least 95% of the ingredients must be organic. 

Vegan (noun): a vegetarian who does not consume or use products that have been derived from animals, including eggs, milk, and all other products that are derived from animals. 

Vegetarian (noun): a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, esp. for moral, religious, or health reasons. 

Vintage (noun): the year or place in which wine, esp. wine of high quality, was produced. the grapes or wine produced in a particular season. The time that something of quality was produced. (adj) Of, relating to, or denoting wine of high quality. denoting something of high quality, esp. something from the past or characteristic of the best period of a person's work

Virgin(adj): not yet used exploited or touched, (olive oil) made from the first pressing of olives.

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary, room-temperature conditions. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air. An example is formaldehyde, which slowly exits paint and gets into the air. Many VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the environment. VOCs are numerous, varied, and ubiquitous. They include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds. Anthropogenic VOCs are regulated by law, especially indoors, where concentrations are the highest. VOCs are typically not acutely toxic, but instead have compounding long-term health effects. Because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop, research into VOCs and their effects is difficult. They are known to be found in paint, fabrics, finishes, foams, stains, and more industrial products.

Waste-to-Energy: the burning of combustion of waste in a controlled-environment incinerator to generate a usable form of steam, heat, or electricity.

Wind power: the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage or sails to propel ships. Wind power renewable, widely distributed, clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation. A large wind farmmay consist of several hundred individual wind turbines which are connected to the electric power transmission network. At the end of 2010, worldwide nameplate capacity of wind-powered generators was 197 gigawatts (GW). Energy production was 430 TWh, which is about 2.5% of worldwide electricity usage. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration, such as 21% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 18% in Portugal, 16% in Spain, 14% in Ireland and 9% in Germany in 2010. As of 2011, 83 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.

Xeric (noun): containing little moisture; very dry.

Xeriscaping (noun): landscaping that incorporates native species and plants that are not water intensive.

Glossary continues...

© 2019 by Erin Schrode - About ErinContact

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