We have compiled a list of information and resources that contain valuable information for companies interested in sustainable, environmentally friendly business issues. Please choose from the links below to view the information.
Plan-it Friendly Glossary
Abatement - refers to reducing the degree or intensity of greenhouse-gas emissions.
Biofuel - gas or liquid fuel made from plant material (biomass). Includes wood, wood waste, wood liquors, peat, railroad ties, wood sludge, spent sulfite liquors, agricultural waste, straw, tires, fish oils, tall oil, sludge waste, waste alcohol, municipal solid waste, landfill gases, other waste, and ethanol blended into motor gasoline.
Biomass energy - energy produced by combusting biomass materials such as wood. The carbon dioxide emitted from burning biomass will not increase total atmospheric carbon dioxide if this consumption is done on a sustainable basis (i.e., if in a given period of time, regrowth of biomass takes up as much carbon dioxide as is released from biomass combustion). Biomass energy is often suggested as a replacement for fossil fuel combustion.
Carbon credits - represents one ton of CO2 taken out of the atmosphere; the money from your carbon credit purchases is put directly towards clean, renewable energy projects and energy efficiency initiatives.
Carbon Footprint - measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.
Carbon market - a term for a trading system through which countries may buy or sell units of greenhouse-gas emissions in an effort to meet their national limits on emissions, either under the Kyoto Protocol or under other agreements. The term comes from the fact that carbon dioxide is the predominant greenhouse gas and other gases are measured in units called "carbon-dioxide equivalents.
Carbon Offsetting - process whereby an organization purchases carbon credits to neutralize its global warming impact. Each carbon credit represents the abatement or sequestration of one ton of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases - or carbon emissions - from our atmosphere.
Carbon Sequestration - process through which carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is absorbed by trees, plants and crops through photosynthesis, and stored as carbon in biomass (tree trunks, branches, foliage and roots) and soils (see Sink).
Climate Change - any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). Climate change may result from:
- natural factors, such as changes in the sun's intensity or slow changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun;
- natural processes within the climate system (e.g. changes in ocean circulation);
- human activities that change the atmosphere's composition (e.g. through burning fossil fuels) and the land surface (e.g. deforestation, reforestation, urbanization, desertification, etc.)
Compost - partially decomposed organic plant and animal matter that can be used as a soil conditioner or fertilizer.
E-85 - fuel that is a blend of 85% ethanol & 15% gasoline.
Ecosystem - the complex system of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.
Environmentally Preferred Purchasing (EPP) - a process that deals with buying products or services that will reduce impact on human health and the environment.
Environmental Stewardship - the careful and responsible management of our natural resources and the environment.
Fossil fuel combustion - burning of coal, oil (including gasoline), or natural gas. The burning needed to generate energy release carbon dioxide by-products that can include unburned hydrocarbons, methane, and carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, methane, and many of the unburned hydrocarbons slowly oxidize into carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Common sources of fossil fuel combustion include cars and electric utilities.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) - any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases include, but are not limited to, water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone (O3), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
Greenwash - a term that is used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
Kyoto Protocol - the Protocol, entered into force on February 16, 2005, requires developed countries to reduce their GHG emissions below levels specified for each of them in the Treaty. These targets must be met within a five-year time frame between 2008 and 2012, and add up to a total cut in GHG emissions of at least 5% against the baseline of 1990. Review and enforcement of these commitments are carried out by United Nations-based bodies.
Landfill - land waste disposal site in which waste is generally spread in thin layers, compacted, and covered with a fresh layer of soil each day.
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) - a term used broadly to apply to any of a number of analytic techniques to evaluate the environmental impact of a material or a service throughout its life cycle from extraction or harvesting of raw materials through processing, manufacture, installation, use and ultimate disposal or recycling.
Metric ton - common international measurement for the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions. A metric ton is equal to 1000 kilograms, 2204.6 pounds, or 1.1023 short tons.
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer - the Montreal Protocol and its amendments control the phaseout of ozone depleting substances production and use. Under the Protocol, several international organizations report on the science of ozone depletion, implement projects to help move away from ozone depleting substances, and provide a forum for policy discussions.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) - more commonly known as trash or garbage—consists of everyday items such as product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, paint, and batteries.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - organizations that are not part of a governmental structure. They include environmental groups, research institutions, business groups, and associations of urban and local governments.
Photovoltaic and solar thermal energy - energy radiated by the sun as electromagnetic waves (electromagnetic radiation) that is converted into electricity by means of solar (i.e., photovoltaic) cells or useable heat by concentrating (i.e., focusing) collectors.
Point source - a single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the environment.
REC - Renewable Energy Credit.
Recycling - diverting items, such as paper, glass, plastic, and metals, from the wastestream. These materials are sorted, collected, and processed and then manufactured, sold, and bought as new products. Recycling prevents the emission of many greenhouse gases and water pollutants, saves energy, supplies valuable raw materials to industry, creates jobs, stimulates the development of greener technologies, conserves resources for our children's future, and reduces the need for new landfills and combustors.
Renewable energy - energy obtained from sources that are essentially inexhaustible, unlike, for example, the fossil fuels, of which there is a finite supply. Renewable sources of energy include wood, waste, geothermal, wind, photovoltaic, and solar thermal energy.
Single-Stream Recycling - a recycling process in which materials are commingled with no sorting required by individual recyclers. The sorting process takes place at the recycling plant.
Sink - any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Forests and other vegetation are considered sinks because they remove carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
Source reduction or waste prevention - practice that involves altering the design, manufacture, or use of products and materials to reduce the amount and toxicity of what gets thrown away.
Stewardship - the wise management and use of personal resources (natural resources and financial resources) for the benefit of all; The careful and responsible management of human, physical, biological, and financial resources.
Sustainability - a goal that aims towards preserving quality interactions with the local environment, economy and social system; social and environmental practices that protect and enhance the human and natural resources needed by future generations; a concept and strategy by which communities seek economic development approaches that benefit the local environment and quality of life; to maintain or prolong; continued viability.
Tipping fee - a fee assessed for waste disposal in a sanitary landfill, waste-to-energy plant, or composting facility for a given amount of waste, usually in dollars per ton. Fees are established based on disposal facility costs and the amount disposed of at the facility.
US EPA Climate Leaders Program - launched in 2002, it is an industry-government partnership that works with companies to develop long term climate change strategies.
VER - Verified Emissions Reduction (credit).
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - organic compounds that evaporate readily into the atmosphere at normal temperatures. VOCs contribute significantly to photochemical smog production and certain health problems.
Waste stream - the total flow of solid waste generated from homes, businesses, and institutions that must be recycled, incinerated, or disposed of in landfills.
- Aluminum can be recycled using less than 5 percent of the energy used to make the original product.
- Recycling one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100 watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.
- Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.
- Plastics require 100 to 400 years to break down at the landfill.
- Five 2-liter recycled PET bottles produce enough fiberfill to make a ski jacket.
- Producing glass from virgin materials requires 30 percent more energy than producing it from crushed, used glass.
- The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will operate a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.
- It takes approximately 1 million years for a glass bottle to break down at the landfill.
- Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.
- Recycling 1 ton of paper waste saves:
- between 15 and 17 mature trees
- 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
- 2 barrels of oil
- 7,000 gallons of water
- 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity (enough to power an average-size house for six months).
Approximately 2 million tons of used electronics, including computers and televisions, are discarded each year. An estimated 128 million cell phones are retired from use each year.
The U.S. is home to 5% of the world's population, yet consumes 26% of the world's energy.
The U.S. releases one fourth of the 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere each year.
If one drives 65mph rather than 55mph, CO more than doubles per mile driven.
An acre of trees can store 2.6 tons of carbon each year. This can compensate for automobile fuel use equivalent to driving a car between 7,200 and 8,700 miles.
An acre of trees can remove between 287 and 651 tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and particulate matter per year.
An acre of trees will provide about 2.8 tons of oxygen per year. This is enough for 14 people.
- Production of 1 gallon of ethanol requires 3000 gallons of H2O
- Production of 1 gallon of gas requires 2.6 gallons of H2O
- Production of 1lb of beef uses 1165-9321 gallons of H2O
- 97% of H2O is non-potable & 3% is freshwater
- .007% of the 3% freshwater is potable/safe to drink
- Human health requires a minimum of 5 gallons of H2O a day
http://green.bizjournals.com/ - Covers sustainability from a strictly-business point of view
http://www.greenbiz.com/ - Leading online news and information resource on how to align environmental responsibility with business success
http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/ - The Wall Street Journal’s daily analysis of the business of the environment
http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/ - Global news and networking services to help green business grow
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ - Environment News Service (ENS) exists to present late-breaking environmental news in a fair and balanced manner to build a new generation of credible and effective programs for tackling climate change
http://earthtrends.wri.org/ - Environmental information
http://www.climatecounts.org/ - Climate Counts is a collaborative effort to bring consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change
http://www.grist.org/ - Environmental News & Commentary
http://www.treehugger.com/ - Leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream
http://www.epa.gov/ - Environmental Protection Agency
http://www.ceres.org/ - Investors & environmentalists for sustainable prosperity
http://www.ghgprotocol.org/ - Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is working with businesses, governments, and environmental groups around the world
http://www.bluegreenmeetings.org/ - BlueGreen Meetings
http://bteam.org/ - A not-for-profit formed to help develop a ‘Plan B' that puts people and planet alongside profit.