Green Definitions

Battery-Free Products

Innovative crank-power devices like radios and flashlights are now available to reduce the amount of batteries that sit in our landfills, poisoning the ecology.


bamboo shootsBamboo is a woody grass-like tree and is one of the world’s most prolific and fastest-growing plants (up to 4 feet per day!) Bamboo reaches maturity in about four years, compared to the typical 25 to 70 years for most other trees. Bamboo is typically grown without pesticides or chemicals, and grows best in poor soil that is unsuitable for other crops.


A product which is made of natural, raw materials that will decompose or rot into the earth without having a negative affect on the environment.

Corn Plastic

Plastic made from corn, also known as PLA (polylactic acid.) Producing corn plastic uses 65% less energy than conventional plastics, generates 68% fewer greenhouse gasses and contains no toxins. PLA is in principle compostable, meaning that it will break down under certain conditions into harmless natural compounds within 90 days.


Broad term used for products and materials which are made specifically to reduce the negative effects on the environment. Also reducing the use of non renewable resources in sourcing, manufacture, packaging, use and disposal. This term applies to activities and services.


Describes practices, products or lifestyles that work with nature instead of against it, and are intended to ensure that one’s impact on the environment is as minimal (or as positive) as possible.


Grown without chemical pesticides or toxic fertilizers, hemp produces more fiber yield per acre than any other crop. One acre of hemp can produce as much usable fiber as 4 acres of trees or two acres of cotton.

Natural (Natural Products)

Products or materials which do not come from man-made origins. Examples would be wood, leather, cotton, beeswax. Natural products avoid the use of chemicals that are harmful to the ecology can make a product more environmentally friendly. Sunscreens that do not use Deet, and organic cotton fabrics that do not undergo pesticides are two good examples.

Organic Cottonorganic cotton

Cotton that is grown in certified pesticide-free and herbicide-free soil from plants which are not genetically modified. Traditional Cotton is the second most pesticide-laden crop in the world. It takes approximately 1/3 pound of chemicals to grow enough cotton to make just one t-shirt. Organic cotton farming methods produce healthier fabrics, preserve the quality of our water and prevent toxins from entering the human food chain in the form of cottonseed and other byproducts.

Post-Consumer Recycled Content

Product or materials which have been recycled or reused from residential and consumer waste. Examples would be plastic bottles which have been recycled into new plastic bottles or other products, converting wastepaper from offices into corrugated boxes or newsprint.

Post-Industrial Recycled Content

Waste materials generated during the manufacturing process which have been recycled or reused before they have become a consumer product. Examples would be collected PET plastic bottle waste from a factory floor which is put back into the production process to be used to make new plastic bottles, paper scraps off of a paper mill floor going back into the next batch of paper. Also known as pre-consumer recycled content.

Recycled/Reclaimed Materials

Items made from plastic, paper, rubber or aluminum can be sourced from recycled materials as an alternative to virgin materials. This reduces the amount of non-renewable resources consumed as well as the amount of non-biodegradable waste produced.

Recycled Content

The amount of recycled material in a given product, usually expressed as a percentage (e.g., 30% post-consumer content).


To cut down the amount of waste or garbage generated. You can reduce your waste output by choosing reusable products instead of disposables (cloth towels instead of paper towels, a durable metal water bottle filled from your tap instead of buying bottled water.) Another way to reduce waste is to use digital (computer) communication and files instead of paper…such as emailing documents to co-workers instead of printing out copies and distributing them.

Renewable Resources

Natural raw materials such as timber and grasses, which can be grown or restored over time. Care must be given in the plantation management so that replanting and felling are in harmony. Using natural resources such as water, wind and sun for an ever lasting energy source. Resources which have a much lower negative effect on the environment and do not produce greenhouse gases.

Reuse To find a new function for an item that has outgrown its original use; use again (e.g. peanut butter jar for a collection; wash and reuse dishes, using a coffee can to hold nuts and bolts.


Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. When a process is sustainable, it can be carried out over and over without negative environmental effects or impossibly high costs.