Glossary

Here is a list of terms you may come across on this site or elsewhere in your quest toward going green. We also suggest checking out Greenpeace.org for the most up to date information on global environmental issues.

  • Sustainable: In short, sustainability means that the earth will continue to support life on it. Sustainable products and materials are those that do not tax the environment, from their creation to their disposal.

  • Eco-Friendly: This is a term that requires reading the fine print. While it can mean a product or company has the best interests of the environment at heart, it can also be an empty statement that has no regulatory oversight.

  • Biodegradable: This refers to a product or material that decay and can be broken down by natural organisms.

  • Non-biodegradable: Metal, glass, plastic, rubber, petroleum based products, electronics, are all examples of things that do not decompose in a landfill. Though many of these can be recycled, they are often disposed of improperly.

  • Green washing: also called “green screening” is a PR tactic in which companies deceive consumers into thinking their products or practices are environmentally friendly. Look for certifications such as:

    • USDA Organic

    • LEED certified

    • Safer Choice from the US Environmental Protection Agency

    • Energy Star

  • Recycling: This is the process by which waste is turned into new materials or objects

    • Problems with Recycling:

      • The process of recycling uses tremendous energy and causes pollution.

      • Although recycling does redirect waste from landfills and the ocean, it is not a zero-waste process as it uses a tremendous amount of energy and causes pollution.

      • We believe that it gives people a false sense of security.

      • The first option should be to REDUCE the use of things that are disposable.

  • Single Use Plastic: These are the number one environmental offender in our book. Plastic items that are, by design, made to be used once. Plastic bottles, straws, grocery and shopping bags. If you do one thing to go green, it would be do limit or eliminate these from your life.

  • Plastic vs. Metal or Glass: Yes, some plastics CAN and are recycled. Yay. Here’s the catch. The number of times plastic can be recycled is finite. One glass bottle or metal can can be recycled an infinite number of times, whereas one plastic bottle will eventually have to be tossed in a landfill.