Eco-Chic - Green Terms


Jo Alcorn of the wonderful whitewash & co is back breaking down all those eco terms in a simple and easy glossary!  This is a great reference for all of us.

I thought it would be beneficial to maybe clarify green terms at this point and the real definitions behind them, for how can we be aware of Marketing Greenwashing if we don’t know what we should be truly looking for.

Green terms from A to Z:

Alternative energy – usually environmentally friendly, this is energy from uncommon sources such as wind power or solar energy, not fossil fuels.

Alternative fuels – similar to above. Not petrol or diesel but different transportation fuels like natural gas, methanol, bio fuels and electricity.

Biodegradable – something when left alone break down and be absorbed into the eco-system.

Carbon footprint – a measure of the your impact on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide. 

Climate change – a change in temperature and weather patterns due to human activity like burning fossil fuels.

Eco-assessment – an evaluation of your home or workplace with the aim of cutting your energy and water usage.

Environmentally preferable – products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on the environment.

Energy efficiency – ways and technology that can reduce the amount of electricity or fuel used to do the same work. Such as keeping a house warm using less energy.

Fair trade -  is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards

Fossil fuel – coal, oil and natural gas. A fuel that’s been made by the decomposition of fossilised plants and animals.

FSC The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. Its main tools for achieving this are standard setting, independent certification and labeling of forest products

Glass recycling – Glass bottles and jars can be recycled endlessly. That means that unlike some other recycled products, a recycled bottle can be recycled into another glass bottle. And another, and so on forever

Green design – a design, usually architectural, conforming to environmentally sound principles of building, material and energy use. A green building, for example, might make use of solar panels, skylights, and recycled building materials.

Greenhouse effect – explains global warming. It’s the process that raises the temperature of air in the lower atmosphere due to heat trapped by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and ozone.

Greenwashing - (a compound word modeled on "whitewash"), or ""green sheen"",[1][2] is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that a company's policies or products are environmentally friendly.

LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, standard for Green Building design

Life cycle assessment – methodology developed to assess a product’s full environmental costs, from raw material to final disposal.

Natural - A natural material is any product or physical matter that comes from plants, animals, or the ground. Minerals and the metals that can be extracted from them (without further modification) are also considered to belong into this category.

No CFC’s - Products that do not contain CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons), which are chemicals that damage the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

Non-renewable resources – Resources that are in limited supply, such as oil, coal, and natural gas.

Non- toxic - Ingredients which pose no health risks. Household cleaning products generally contain this label. This label claim is not regulated by government standards.

Off gassing - Outgassing (sometimes called off gassing, particularly when in reference to indoor air quality) is the release of a gas that was dissolved, trapped, frozen or absorbed in some material.[1] As an example, research has shown how the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has sometimes been linked to ocean outgassing.

Organic – while it technically refers to molecules made up of two ore more atoms of carbon, it’s generally now used as a term for the growth of vegetables etc without the use or artificial pesticides and fertiliser.

Recycling – the process of collecting, sorting, and reprocessing old material into usable raw materials.

Reduce – not using or buying products in the forest place so less waste, less recycling and less reusing.

Renewable energy – alternative energy sources such as wind power or solar energy that can keep producing energy indefinitely without being used up.

Renewable resources – Like renewable energy, resources such as wind, sunlight and trees that regenerate

Sustainable -  products are made with renewable resources, such as forests harvested using methods to protect soil, water, and plant and animal life.

VOC - Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are 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 or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air.

Stay Green my friends, and remember to be truly green you are constantly asking questions and reading labels!

Thank you to Wikipedia and Life Goggles for the definitions. 

Until next time,


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