What’s what: sustainability terms explained

Saturday 1st October 2011 00:00
Aeration: Used in water-efficient taps and shower heads to reduce water volume usage whilst retaining water pressure.
Carbon footprint: The cost of the impact on the environment of a project or object measured in terms of its CO2 emissions to create or run.
Community: a business or person’s wider environment. Can be used geographically or by business sector within a local or global framework.
Corporate social responsibility: A voluntary code created and taken on by businesses to behave ethically regarding practices, environment, employees, customers, other stakeholders and the wider public sphere.
Doggy bags: US term for taking leftover food home in a bag, to eat later and prevent wasting food.
Eco-aware: awareness of the environmental impact that operations will have on the wider environment.
Ecologically sensitive: Places that have a delicate environmental balance or products/properties that are sensitive to the environment around them.
Ethically sourced: food and other products sourced from producers who treat their animals, materials, processes and staff well during the manufacturing process.
E-waste: specifically electrical waste products such as computers and screens etc.
Fairtrade: a certification scheme for better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world but the term is also more widely used to generally describe products which adhere to these criteria.
Food waste: the by-product of food preparation in the kitchen and leftovers on the plate.
Greywater recycling: takes used water from parts of the operation and reuses it in other areas to save on overall water consumption within an operation.
Hippos: water saving devices used in toilet cisterns to reduce water usage during each flush.
LED: energy efficient lighting technology.
Local/regional sourcing: food or other products which are sourced near to the operation. This can be in the immediate area, wider region or even national.
Natural materials: naturally occurring materials that can be used in building, decoration or manufacturing processes.
Recycled: materials which have been reconfigured to create new products.
Renewable energy: is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, rain, wind, the sea and geothermal heat – they are renewable because they are naturally replenished.
Reusable: materials and products which are reused for the purpose they were originally intended or other functions.
Sustainable tourism: tourism that exists within the social, environmental and economic limits of its wider community.
Socio economic factors: social and economic influences that can impact a business, environment or community.
Salvaged/reclaimed: materials taken from another object and reused as they are.
Total lifecycle cost: A calculation taking into account the energy used to create a product, its longevity, its components and its disposability.
Upcycled: materials which have been reconfigured to create new products that are better than the original product – ie typically by-products/waste.
VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds are contained in adhesives, stains, finishes and sealants. Environmentally friendly options are low or VOC-free.
Waterless Urinals: an alternative to a continual flush.
Waterpebbles: a flow regulator and sensor used in showers to monitor the water flow
WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment): the industry term for old or disposed of electronic equipment which covers both the toxic and valuable materials found in appliances.

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