Popular Green Terms For Green Technology

We are daily hearing green terms about green living and green technology. I will try to define some of these terms on this page.


Air pollution - contaminants or substances in the air that interfere with human health or produce other harmful environmental effects.

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.


Bamboo: An alternative to wood. Generally, bamboo is more renewable than wood because it is a fast-growing grass/reed. Care should still be taken when shopping for bamboo products because many cheaply made bamboo items are coated with toxic finishes. Look for natural, food-safe coatings for tabletop items, and certified organic bamboo labels.

Biodegradeable: A material or substance which will decompose quickly and without hmmful effects to the environment, when left exposed to nature.

Bisphenol A (BP A) is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic resins, epoxy resins, and other products. Bisphenol A can be found in a wide variety of consumer products, including clear plastic baby bottles. Dozens of other common household and consumer items contain bisphenol A, including some types of reusable water bottles and microwaveable food containers, electronic equipment,automobiles, sports helmets and pads, eyeglass lenses, and more Extensive scientific literature reports adverse health effects from bisphenol A at very low doses.


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. Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and climate change, so reducing carbon footprints is desirable for a healthier earth.

Carbon dioxide - C02 is a naturally occurring greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It increases the amount of it when we burn fossil fuels, leading to globa1 warming.

Carbon monoxide - a colourless, odourless and highly toxic gas commonly created during combustion.

Carbon Offset: Carbon offsetting is the act of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through emissions trading. For example, a factory or production facility may not be able to reduce its own carbon footprint any further through its own actions, so it may voluntarily purchase credits for another party to offset their actions. The goal of carbon offsets is to attain a carbon neutral overall effect.

Certified: Acknowledging that a product is genuine to what it claims, typically having gone through a process similar to obtaining a license.

CFL: Compact fluorescent light bulbs, which are more energy efficient than standard incandescent light bulbs and last longer

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

Co-op: Short for Co-operative. Worker cooperatives are owned and democratically controlled by its workers. Since the co-op is worker-owned and membership is not compulsory, this type of manufacturing set-up avoids exploitation of its workers.


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

Eco-friendly: An alternative to goods usually bought in most stores. These products are made with ecology and the environment in mind.

Ecosystem: The interconnectedness of organisms (plants, animals, microbes) with each other and their environment

Emissions: Emissions are particles and gases released into the air as byproducts. There are many types of emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions, for example, contribute to global warming and is not sustainable to the health of the earth.

Energy Efficient: Products and systems that use less energy to perform as well or better than standard products.

Such as keeping a house warm using less energy. While energy efficient products sometimes have higher up- front costs, they tend to cost less over their lifetime when the cost of energy consumed is factored in. An example of this is fluorescent light bulbs vs. incandescent bulbs.

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


Fair Trade: A social movement that promotes standards for international labor and gives workers a sense of economic self sufficiency through fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged populations.

Fossil fuel- coal, oil and natural gas. A fuel that's been made by the decomposition of fossilised plants and animals. Burning fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide and is a large contributor to pollution.

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.


Global warming - an increase in the average temperature of the earth, attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.

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: Greenwashing is a superficial nod to the environment that marketers and businesses that historically were not interested in sustainable concerns, are doing in order to improve their public relation standings with the consumer or public. Analogous to brainwashing. Don't be fooled by dishonest companies employing greenwashing techniques.


Handmade: Usually a one of a kind, hand-crafted product that is made without the use of machines and is not mass produced. The cost of handmade goods are often higher than machine-made versions if artisans are paid a fair wage and have pride in their craft.

Hemp - very durable, much stronger than cotton, and a breathable fabric that is often combined with organic cotton in the making of organic baby clothes. Extremely comfortable, the fabric created from hemp is similar in appearance to linen. Naturally UV resistant, Hemp is grown naturally, without the use of pesticides, and is more ecological than cotton, which uses massive amounts of water to produce - whether it's organic or conventional.

Hybrid: A car that runs on both electric battery and fuel, making the gas mileage extremely efficient and also produces fewer emissions which help control pollution in the environment.


Incandescent light bulb: a source of light that uses a thread of metal inside a glass bulb. The kind of light bulb you probably use/see the most.


Low-emission vehicles - cars etc which emit little pollution compared to conventional engines.


Natural: A product that is made from materials and ingredients found in nature, with little or no human intervention. For example, wood is a natural material while plastic is not.

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


Organic: Of or relating to a product that is solely made from plants or insects. Organic materials and products often carry certifications according to industry.

Organic cotton - grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.

Ozone layer - in the upper atmosphere about 15 miles above sea level it forms a protective layer which shields the earth from excessive ultraviolet radiation and occurs naturally.


Plastic - man-made durable and flexible synthetic-based product. Composed mainly of petroleum.

Plastic bags - not very good for the environment. Read some tips on what to do with plastic bags.

Post consumer waste - Refers to recycled waste collected after the consumer has used and disposed of it. A high post-consumer content helps divert materials from ending up in landfills.

Pre-consumer: Refers to recycled material that came from the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer recycling of scraps and discards diverts waste that may otherwise end up in landfills, and reduces use of raw materials.


Recycle symbol - the chasing arrow symbol used to show that a product or package can be recycled. The three arrows in the symbol represent different components of the recycling process. The top arrow represents the collection of recyclable materials. The second arrow (bottom right) represents the recyclables being processed into recycled products and the third arrow on the bottom left represents when the consumer actually buys a product with recycled content.

Re-manufacturing: A recycled concept by which an existing product can have its useful life extended through a secondary manufacturing or refurbishing process such as re-manufactured systems furniture.

Renewable: A raw material that can be replenished within a reasonable amount of time. Example, bamboo and sustainably-harvested woods are renewable. Gold and precious stones are not renewable.

Renewable energy - alternative energy sources such as wind power or solar energy that can keep producing energy indefinitely without being used up. Examples include solar energy, hydroelectric power, and wind power.

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

Repurpose: Taking a thing or a material and using it for a purpose not originally intended. Repurposed goods often have a lot of inherent character, flair, and style.

Reuse - before throwing away or recycling, a product that can be reused until its time to recycle, whether for the same purpose or re-appropriated for another.


Sustainable: Actions and products that meet current needs without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Sustainability is a broad term and often refers to the desire to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future.

Sustainably-harvested: A renewable resource that as been harvested in a way that allows it's inherent regeneration and continued


Windpower - energy derived from the wind. Converting wind into energy, usually by wind turbines, that spin as wind blows

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