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Green glossary

This is just a brief glossary of the most popular terms used. I’m including it here as I strongly believe that having an understanding of what they mean helps when making choices and makes it harder for companies to use greenwashing (don’t worry, that one will be included) to bamboozle us.


This is not the best term to use as it isn’t very specific. It refers to things that don't harm the environment but is open to interpretation and does not mean the same to everyone.

Environmentally friendly

This refers to minimising harm to the environment by aiming to help improve it and making as little impact on it as possible.


An ethical business demonstrates integrity and fairness. They are transparent about their business practices and policies. Businesses with these qualities have loyal workers and customers.


A green business is one whose products do not cause significant harm to the environment and in fact may even improve it and the health of humans. It is a very wide term and its meaning is similar to that of sustainability.


This refers to businesses that deliberately aim to make it appear that their products are environmentally sound when this is not the case. This is often done through how packaging is designed to project a "green" image and making misleading environmental claims.


This refers to a material that is collected and then processed back into the original material  or a new one e.g. plastic bottles recycled into polyester filling.


Repurposing turns an item into something completely unrelated to its original purpose, for example turning DVDs into jewellery.


Self-explanatory, an item that can be used for the same purpose many times as opposed to a single use version, e g. A metal water bottle rather than a single use plastic one.


This refers to a business that causes none or  minimal damage  to the environment.  This means it also seeks to maintain or improve the environment in the longer term and so importantly will not have an adverse effect on future generations.

It has three aspects to it, as well as not harming the environment a sustainable business should also have a commitment to social and economic benefits.


This refers to something having value added to it while keeping it in its original form. One of the most popular uses for this term is with old or vintage furniture which has been painted  or has had  other decorative effects added to it.


An item such as furniture, clothing or home decor that is at least 30 (or sometimes  20) years old.

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