We all need to be sensitive to the impact manufacturing has on the world around us. The world of sustainability has its own lexicon of terms that everyone may not fully grasp. Here is a glossary of terms that will help you better understand sustainability.
Carbon Footprint – The amount of carbon dioxide or other carbon compounds emitted into the atmosphere by the activities of an individual, company, country, etc.
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing – Purchasing a product that has lesser or reduced negative effect or increased positive effect on human health and the environment, when compared with competing products that serve the same purpose.
Greenguard – a certification that helps manufacturers create, and helps buyers identify, interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air in which the products are used.
Greenwashing – disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.
Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) – Pollutant that causes or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological effects.
Indoor Air Pollution – Refers to chemical, biological and physical contamination of indoor air. It may result in adverse health effects.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) – an environmental rating system developed by the United States Green Build Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design.
Off-gassing – refers to the release of airborne particulates or chemicals from common products including construction materials, carpeting, cabinetry, furniture, paint, and other goods.
Post consumer recycled content – a material or finished product that has served its intended use and has been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal.
Post-industrial (pre-consumer) recycled content – scrap material that is generated during the normal manufacturing process that is recycled back into its raw material state.
Reclamation – the act of returning something to a former, better state.
Recyclability – The ability of a product or material to be recovered from or otherwise diverted from the waste stream.
Renewable Energy – energy derived from sources that do not become depleted such as the sun, wind, water currents, eligible biomass, and geothermal energy.
Social Responsibility – the continuing commitment by businesses to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workplace as well as the local community and society at large.
Sustainability – the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) – emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOC’s include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.