Plants or crops grown without the use of chemical pesticides for controlling weeds, insects, slugs, grubs or rodents. This label is not equivalent to organic and is not verified by an independent or government standard.
Materials destined for the garbage dump but were, instead, rescued and refurbished as a new product. The floor of an old bowling alley can be reclaimed and turned into a dining room table, or bricks from a demolished structure can be used to build a fireplace hearth. The use of glass shards in ceramic tiles is another example of the use of reclaimed material.
Materials that have been taken from one product and made into a new product. The recycling process generally saves energy and reduces the need to extract additional raw resources from the earth. The most commonly recycled products in the United States include paper, glass, steel and aluminum, all of which can be reincarnated as the products they were recycled from. Plastic is also recyclable, but it goes through a process known as downcycling. When a plastic water bottle is broken down for recycling, the quality of the plastic material is diminished, and it is no longer fit to become another water bottle. Instead, it may become filler for a fleece jacket, carpet fibers or a park bench. Packages with Post-Consumer Recycled Content are made from materials that were recycled instead of being sent to a landfill.
Resources that can be replenished quickly after use so that they are not permanently diminished or depleted. Renewable energy sources include the sun (solar power), wind, flowing water and geothermal heat. Renewable material resources include algae, grasses and some fast-growing trees. Substituting renewable resources for nonrenewable resources (e.g., coal, oil, gasoline and other fossil fuels) is the key to sustainability.
Meeting the needs of the present without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability also means that human practices do not result in the permanent damage, alteration or depletion of the environment, ecosystems, species or natural resources.
Using scrap fabrics is considered more eco-friendly than manufacturing new products and is often called "reuse". Scrap fabrics have more uses than quilts and costumes, however: Cirque de Soleil uses scraps from its costumes and tents to fill Christmas ornaments, while Goodwill recently released a high-end line of clothes based on "scrap" clothes called William Good. As they say, one man's scrap is another man's treasure.
The soybean is the food staple of choice for many vegetarians and those with lactose intolerance due to its high protein levels. Soy is useful beyond food, however, and soybean fiber can be used to make everything from baby clothes to sweaters.
Materials that do not occur naturally but rather are produced artificially through chemical processing. Most synthetic products (plastic, nylon, polyester, polystyrene, etc.) are made from petroleum byproducts, while synthetic components of food, personal care products and pharmaceuticals are produced with chemicals in a laboratory.
Tencel is, in fact, the commercial name for lyocell, a product made by the Lenzing AG as polyester, as easy to care for as acrylic, cool and pleasant like linen, as warm as wool and absorbs more moisture than cotton." It uses no bleach to manufacture and is fully biodegradable but has come under some criticism for using toxic chemicals in the dyeing process.