Eco Words Defined

Many eco words can seem similar at first glance. To help you understand their meanings, we’ve defined a few of the most commonly used green words in this green glossary. We’ve also added eco-friendly actions you can take to help you transform these eco words into good green habits.

Good Green Habits for Common Eco Words

Recyclable means the material in a product can be reused or remanufactured into other products because it may still have useful physical or chemical properties after serving its original purpose.

  • Place recyclable items in your recycling cart, including cans, plastic bottles, and other items accepted by your garbage company.
  • Visit earth911 to find nearby recycling center locations.

Recycled means the material in a product has already been separated from the waste stream, remanufactured into a new product, and is available for consumer purchase.

  • Read labels to find out if a product is made from recycled materials.
  • Then, purchase items made from recycled materials whenever possible, especially items such as toilet paper (which can only be used once) and office paper (which can be recycled many times).

Reduce means steps are taken to use fewer natural resources, materials and products to produce less waste.

  • Buy products without extra packaging.
  • Purchase only what you need in the near future.
  • Use less than the directed amount of products, such as powder and liquid detergents.

Reuse means that you use items more than once or find new ways to use old items. Here are many easy ways to reuse:

  • Choose reusable bags instead of plastic bags or reuse plastic bags.
  • Compost unwanted food at home or use your garbage company’s compost program.
  • Donate unwanted items to people you know or to charity.
  • Purchase refillable pens and pencils.
  • Repair and/or clean items instead of buying new.
  • Reuse or share cardboard boxes and packing materials.
  • Save empty food containers for storing for craft supplies and leftover food.
  • Set your table with cloth napkins.
  • Take your own coffee mug to Starbucks.
  • Use dryer sheets more than once.