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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.

Biodegradable – something when left alone break down and be absorbed into the eco-system.

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.

Carbon rationing – limiting the amount of carbon you use each year. Carbon rationing action groups (crags) help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Chlorofluorocarbons – CFCs are man-made chemical compounds containing carbon, chlorine, fluorine and sometimes hydrogen. Often used in older fridges and air conditions, the chlorine in CFCs damage the ozone layer.

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

Composting – a process whereby organic wastes, including food and paper, decompose naturally, resulting in a produce rich in minerals and ideal for gardening and farming as a soil conditioner, mulch, resurfacing material, or landfill cover.

Conservation – preserving and renewing, when possible, human and natural resources.

Eco-assessment – an evaluation of your home or workplace with the aim of cutting your energy and water usage. See how to get an eco-assessment of your home.

Eco-bag – a ethically, organically made bag to use instead of plastic carrier bags.

Eco-bus – a bus which uses a combination of diesel and electric power.

Emissions cap – a limit placed on companies regarding the amount of greenhouse gases it can emit.

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

Energy efficiency – ways and technology that can reduce the amount of electricity or fuel used to do the same work. Such as keeping a house warm using less energy.

Energy saving grant – money awarded to you to help improve the efficiency of your home and use less energy. See how you could get an energy saving grant.

Energy saving lightbulbs – lightbulbs which use far less energy than conventional bulbs.

Fossil fuel – coal, oil and natural gas. A fuel that’s been made by the decomposition of fossilised plants and animals.

Fuel cell – a technology that uses an electrochemical process to convert energy into electrical power. Often powered by natural gas, fuel cell power is cleaner than grid-connected power sources. In addition, hot water is produced as a by-product.

Geothermal energy – heat that comes from the earth.

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.

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

Green design – a design, usually architectural, conforming to environmentally sound principles of building, material and energy use. A green building, for example, might make use of solar panels, skylights, and recycled building materials.

Green fatigue – becoming tired with some of the constant messages of corporate green credentials and tales of impending global doom.

Green Technology Initiative – a consortium of companies pioneering green computing with the aim of helping to educate and inspire British businesses to become more energy efficient and environmentally responsible with their IT infrastructure.

Hydroelectric energy – electric energy produced by moving water.

Hydrofluorocarbons – used as solvents and cleaners in the semiconductor industry, among others; experts say that they possess global warming potentials that are thousands of times greater than CO2.

Life cycle assessment – methodology developed to assess a product’s full environmental costs, from raw material to final disposal.

Lead – harmful to the environment used in a lot of paints. It’s also toxic to humans.

Light pollution – environmental pollution consisting of the excess of harmful or annoying light.

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

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

Offsetting – the process of reducing carbon emissions by ‘offsetting’ it. An example is by taking a flight and in compensation paying a company to plant trees to equal the carbon use out.

Oil – fossil fuel used to produce petrol etc and other materials such as plastics.

Organic – while it technically refers to molecules made up of two ore more atoms of carbon, it’s generally now used as a term for the growth of vegetables etc without the use or artificial pesticides and fertilizer.

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.

Perceived obsolesence – The art of making products that go out of fashion or “date”, so you buy more slightly different ones, for example the fashion industry.

Photovoltaic panels – solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. Power is produced when sunlight strikes the semiconductor material and creates an electrical current.

Planned obsolesence – The art of making a product break/fail after a certain amount of time. Not so soon that you will blame the manufacturer, but soon enough for you to buy another one and make more profit for them.

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

Plastic bags – not very good for the environment.

Plastic recycling – there are seven different categories of plastics that can be recycled.

Post consumer waste – waste collected after the consumer has used and disposed of it.

Recycle symbol – the chasing arrow symbol used to show that a product or package can be recycled. The three arrows on 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.

Recycling – the process of collecting, sorting, and reprocessing old material into usable raw materials.

Reduce – not using or buying products in the frist place so less waste, less recycling and less reusing.

Renewable energy – alternative energy sources such as wind power or solar energy that can keep producing energy indefinitely without being used up.

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

Reuse – before throwing away or recycling, a product that can be reused until its time to recycle.

Solar energy – energy from the sun.

WEEE – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, your broken or not wanted electronic gadgets like mobile phones or computers.

Windpower – energy derived from the wind.