Causes an allergic reaction
In dentistry an amalgam refers to the "silver" dental fillings comprised mainly of mercury and silver, plus some tin and copper.
The progressive buildup of chemicals in an organism from exposure to contamination or by the consumption of food containing the contamination.
A blade-free alternative to shearing sheep in which the sheep receives a protein shot that creates a "break" in their hair shafts, causing the wool to fall off about a week later. Retrieving bioclipped fleece is faster and safer than conventional shearing for the sheep, as well as for their handlers.
The capability of material to decompose naturally over time through normal biological activity and absorbed safely into the soil.
A natural variety of living species and organisms within an ecosystem or biological community. Generally, greater biodiversity suggests stronger health of the ecosystem.
A fuel derived from living or recently living plant matter. Popular examples include ethanol from corn, sugar cane and wheat; methanol from non-renewable natural gas; and biodiesel from vegetable, animal fats or algae.
Pest-control substances derived from natural materials such as plants, animals, bacteria, fungus and some minerals. Biopesticides are less toxic than conventional pesticides and often decompose quickly, reducing or eliminating pollution side effects caused by conventional pesticides.
A class of synthetic materials derived from renewable plant sources like cornstarch or vegetable oil and used as an alternative to plastic. Bioplastics use less petroleum or natural gas during production than petroleum-based plastics, and chemists design some bioplastics to decompose entirely in certain conditions.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound used primarily to harden plastics for use in consumer goods and coat food and beverage cans.
Various species of fish, shark, turtle, dolphin, and other organisms that are caught unintentionally, and often killed as a result.
- Carbon credit
A carbon credit is a certificate that allows the holder to emit the equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide. There exists a market that allows holders of the carbon credit certificates to trade their allocation.
- Carbon Dioxide
One of several naturally occurring greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide plays a necessary part in regulating the life-sustaining average temperature of the Earth. It is only the over-production of carbon dioxide by man, primarily through burning of fossil fuels, that most scientists believe is contributing to global warming.
A substance, either natural or man-made, that causes cancer in living organisms.
CFL or compact fluorescent lamp is an energy-efficient replacement for traditional incandescent bulbs.
A biological community of plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms, and the physical environment in which they live, such as soil, water, trees, etc. Members of this “community” depend upon each other, so if something damages or causes one species to disappear, this affects the rest of the biological community.
Environmental Protection Agency. A federal agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment of the United States.
- Fossil Fuels
Carbon-based substances mined and used to generate energy. Industry often refers to them as “fossil” fuels because they include the remains of plants and plankton that died millions of years ago and have decomposed over time via heat, pressure and bacteria. Examples include coal, oil and natural gas.
- Genetically Modified
An organism whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered, typically to improve upon a perceived defect.
- Greenhouse Gas Effect
The warming of Earth’s climate due to heat trapped in the lower atmosphere by certain gases.
The water located below the surface of the Earth in soil or rock.
Heirloom seeds are seeds which were originally grown before the industrialization of crops, and are pollinated naturally by birds, insects, and the wind.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is a technology used to control the indoor climate of buildings by regulating air flow and temperature.
The destruction of waste by burning.
- Invasive species
Species of plant or animal that grow or reproduce rapidly when exposed to a new territory, leaving few resources for the native organisms to thrive.
- Land-Use Change
Man-induced changes to earth’s surface. For example, the conversion of a natural meadow into a field for growing crops.
To digest, break down, or otherwise process materials in a living organism.
A substance that can cause a genetic mutation in living organisms.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a U.S. federal agency that aims to inform citizens on the condition the environment, from weather forecasting and climate monitoring to coastal restoration and fishery management.
- Ocean Acidification
The lowering of pH levels of the Earth's oceans caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The lower the pH of a substance, the more acidic it is.
Release of gasses (usually unhealthy fumes) that were previously trapped in some material. Also called outgas.
Release of gasses (usually unhealthy fumes) that were previously trapped in some material. Also called offgas.
An unstable molecule formed by three oxygen atoms (O3) rather than the stable two oxygen atoms (O2) that are part of the air humans breathe.
- Ozone Layer
The covering of naturally formed ozone gas above the earth’s atmosphere, blocking the Sun’s UV radiation from leaving the atmosphere and contributing to global warming effects.
Bricks or other stone (or stone-derived) materials used to create hard, flat surfaces. Landscape designers often lay out pavers in interlocking patters to create garden pathway, patios, driveways and steps.
- PET plastic
Also called PETE, is a polyester plastic used in many food and drink containers. It stands for polyethylene terephthalate.
- PETE plastic
Also called PET, is a polyester plastic used in many food and drink containers. It stands for polyethylene terephthalate.
From the words photo (“light”) and synthesis (“to change” or “to convert”), photosynthesis is the process by which green plants and algae use sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. As a byproduct of photosynthesis, the plants release oxygen that humans and animals need in order to breathe.
A chemical substance used plastics to increase their durability, flexibility, and transparency.
A durable plastic used in electronics, compact discs, reusable water bottles, food containers, eyeglass frames, and more.
The most common type of plastic, often used in packaging. Food grade polyethylene is used in food storage bags.
Polyvinyl chloride is a type of plastic used for piping in the construction industry, as well as in upholstery and clothing.
Any of several grazing mammals, such as cows, sheep, goats, deer, giraffes, alpacas and llamas, having a stomach divided into four compartments and chewing a cud.
Runoff is the portion of rainwater that does not immediately soak into the soil, thus flowing downhill over land.
One of two proteins produced by silkworms, where the fibroin protein is the structural core of the silk and the sericin protein is the sticky substance that surrounds it.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
The upper layer of the Earth's atmosphere, spanning from approximately six to 30 miles from the Earth's surface.
The term superfood (or super food) is generally meant to describe foods with particularly strong health benefits and disease-fighting properties that are exceptionally high in nutrients or phytochemicals.
- Tetra Pak
A food packaging company from Sweden that uses aseptic (sterile) technology to offer alternative solutions to traditional packaging.
- Thermal paper
A paper often used for sales receipts and other materials that need to printed at high volume and low quality. The paper is coated with chemicals that expose the printed dye with just a small amount of friction or heat.
A segment of either animal or plant DNA containing a gene sequence isolated from one organism and artificially introduced into a different organism. See “Genetically Modified” or “GM”.
The lower layer of the Earth's atmosphere, spanning from the Earth's surface to approximately six miles above.
A treeless ecosystem of permanently frozen soil (permafrost) characterized by extremely low temperatures, short growing seasons, little precipitation, poor soil nutrients and low biodiversity.
The repurposing of waste or excess material into products of higher value and/or environmental quality.
Volatile Organic Compound. A natural or synthetic compound causing slight to severe toxic pollution when released into the atmosphere. Examples of volatile organic compounds include formaldehyde, propane and benzene. Many household paints, new furnishings and office equipment such as copy machines also admit VOCs.