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Glossary of "Green" Terms

Biodegradable: A material or composite such that, when left alone, breaks down and is absorbed into the eco-system without compromising it.

Carbon footprint: A measure of the environmental impact of a given process, event, product, or person measured by the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.

Compostable: Products that are biodegradable, but also release nutrients into the soil.

Greenhouse gas: Any gas that absorbs thermal infrared radiation in the atmosphere. This includes gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone (O3), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Life cycle assessment: The method of evaluating a product’s total environmental impact from raw materials through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling.

Post-consumer waste: A product that has been used by the consumer and has entered the waste stream.

Pre-consumer waste: Waste that was generated in the manufacturing process (trim, startup material, etc.) and then reintroduced into the manufacturing process.

Recycled content: Post-consumer, pre-consumer waste, or both used in a product.

Recycling: The treatment or processing of waste materials to make them suitable for reuse in the same or another application, thereby reducing the waste stream.

Renewable Resources: Sources of energy or materials that are replaced by natural processes at a rate comparable or faster than their rate of consumption by humans.

Sustainability: Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future, and utilizing principles that balance economic benefits with social and environmental benefits.