Green Glossary

Carbon Footprint:

The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a period of time.

Carbon Neutral:

Over its life cycle, a product or process that does not add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. For instance, a plant consumes carbon dioxide while it grows, then when transformed into and used as fuel such as ethanol it releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Companies or processes are often said to be "carbon-neutral" when they contribute to activities or programs that "offset" their carbon output. (see below)

Carbon Offsetting:

The process of reducing a ton of carbon dioxide emissions in another location for the emissions you cause in either your home, office, commute, travel or other activities that use energy and cause emissions. Carbon offsets enable anyone to reduce their climate footprint by supporting projects, typically energy efficiency, renewable energy, sequestration, biomass, etc. that reduce carbon dioxide emissions to offset one's own climate footprint.

Degradable or Compostable:

These products can reduce waste in our landfills by degrading when disposed of, although in landfills, materials degrade very slowly, if at all. This is because modern landfills are designed, according to law, to keep out sunlight, air and moisture. Compostable can refer to products that break down in a home composter, if indicated, but usually refer to municipal composting facilities (where available). Biodegradable claims for products that go down the drain, like detergents and shampoos, means these products should degrade in a wastewater treatment system.


A third-party endorsement of products, services or processes based on their relative impact on the environment.

Sample Certifications:



Fair Trade

Energy Star®:

ENERGY STAR® is a government-backed program to help consumers identify products that are among the most energy-efficient on the market. Only manufacturers and retailers whose products meet the ENERGY STAR® criteria can label their products with this symbol. - Energy Star® information


As a loose definition, "green" refers to a way of thinking and acting, individually, corporately and at the government level, that makes environmental factors a greater part of the decision-making process. More specific terms such as certified organic, recyclable, carbon-neutral, Eco-certified, FSC-certified, etc, are being used to more accurately describe specific benefits.

Organic Production:

Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control, and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests, excluding or strictly limiting the use of synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock feed additives, and genetically modified organisms.


Products or packaging that is recyclable can be sent to qualified recyclers, and kept out of the waste stream. London Drugs accepts many recyclables right at the store.

Recycled Content (in products or packaging):

Products that contain either pre-consumer material (diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process) or post-consumer material (generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities)

Where a claim of recycled content is made, the percentage of recycled material should be stated. If the percentage of recycled content is variable, it may be expressed with statements such as "at least x percent or "greater than x percent" recycled content.


RoHS stands for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive, a European standard for electronics that restricts the use of six chemicals:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Hexavalent chromium (chromium xxx or Cr6+)
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)

London Drugs works to ensure as many of our electronics products as possible are RoHS compliant. -


Sustainability pertains to a balanced interaction between a population and the carrying capacity of an environment such that the population develops to express its full potential without adversely and irreversibly affecting the carrying capacity of the environment upon which it depends. (Buckminster Fuller Institute)