Better for business, the community and the world.
We’re committed to helping you achieve all your goals. One of the most important is protecting our shared world. From green products to responsible cleaning programs, from waste reduction to certification support, we’ll bring you the latest tools and techniques for sustaining wholesome buildings, vibrant ecosystems and a healthy bottom line.
Green Product Glossary
Biodegradable products will eventually break down when exposed to sunlight and water in a natural environment. Since most garbage goes to tightly packed landfills that prevent exposure, the term may be confusing. Biodegradable materials include those that can be composted.
Carbon footprint refers to all the greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that are associated with a product throughout its lifecycle from extraction of raw materials until final disposal.
Compostable products break down in an industrial composting facility to produce material containing soil- rich nutrients in the form of microorganisms, with no toxic residues. Composting is a human-assisted process, but these items may also biodegrade eventually in a natural environment. Compostable products include PLA, paper, cardboard, bagasse and molded fiber.
Recyclable products can be collected and reprocessed to produce new items. Common recyclable materials are paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum.
Recycled content refers to a percentage of recovered/recycled material that is incorporated into a new product. The material can be post-consumer (collected after consumer use) or post-industrial (collected during the manufacturing process). Materials containing recycled content include paper, cardboard, certain plastics and aluminum.
Renewable resources are plant-based materials that can be grown again and again. These materials include PLA, wood-based products such as paper, cardboard, bamboo, sugarcane and waste/byproducts from those materials.
Reuse is using an object or material again, either for its original or another purpose, without significantly altering its physical form. Reuse is not recycling, since recycling alters the physical form of an object or material. Reuse is considered to be a form of waste prevention.
Source reduction, also known as waste prevention or pollution prevention, is the design, manufacture, purchase or use of materials and products with the goal of reducing the amount or toxicity of materials that are discarded. Examples include right-sizing can liners and using coreless toilet paper.
Sustainable products provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and the environment over their whole lifecycle, from the extraction of raw materials until final disposal.
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