Biodegradable- Will break down in nature.

Going Green- A phrase that suggests someone is becoming more mindful about their choices, usually in relation to the environment.





Zero Waste- a movement toward reducing waste to zero started by Bea Johnson.

Refuse- Step 1 in the Zero Waste steps; the goal of this step is to remove things coming into your home that eventually become trash because they are not needed or wanted by simply saying no thank you where you would normally require the item.

Reduce- Step 2 in the Zero Waste steps or Step 1 in the traditional 3R’s; if an item hasn’t been able to be eliminated with the refuse step, this is an opportunity to reduce the quantity of a needed item.  This may be by simply using less of an item, choosing to rethink your process so that you no longer need to use whatever the item is, or by choosing the item with less packaging and parts that will become waste after getting it home.

Reuse- Step 3 in the Zero Waste steps, Step 2 in the 3R’s; This step involves finding new life in items that would otherwise become trash. It may be for the same purpose as it was used for when you acquired the item, or it could be as a totally different purpose.  This step extends the useful life of an item before it must be discarded.

Recycle- Step 4 of the Zero Waste steps, Step 3 of the 3R’s; Recycling is a process by which materials are reclaimed for reuse on an industrial level.  Typically glass, plastic, newsprint, cardboard, and metals can be recycled in most locations.

Rot- Step 5 of the Zero Waste steps; this step takes carbon based items such as leftovers or produce scraps and reduces them back to soil over time or through other means such as vermicompost.  This step may occur at home through a compost pile, sheet composting, or vermicompost, or offsite through a commercial composting program or drop off compost program at community gardens.

3 R’s- Symbolized by 3 arrows in the shape of a triangle and entailing the steps Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

5 R’s- Steps given by Bea Johnson in her work on the Zero Waste movement. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

Renewable Resource- A resource that is quickly replaceable instead of taking many years to grow or turn into the form that we use. Examples: Bamboo, Solar energy

Nonrenewable Resource- A resource that will typically not be replaceable in the lifetime of the person using the item that would be replaced.  Example: lumbar made from hard wood trees which take 50-60 years to grow to a size that is usable, or oil from petroleum that has taken millions of years of decomposition to form.

Food Forest


Pantry Challenge- a period of time when you make a conscious effort to eat down your pantry instead of buying as many groceries as you normally would.