Earth Friendly Glossary


Bamboo - Tree like tropical and semi-tropical grasses with woody stems that are typically hollow. Bamboo has a rapid growth and harvest cycle, typically does not require fertilizers or pesticides and requires little irrigation with sufficient rainfall. Last but not least, bamboo takes in more greenhouse gases than an equivalent stand of timber trees and releases more oxygen into the atmosphere. Although the process of turning bamboo into a viscose yarn requires significant chemical input, bamboo has many eco-friendly characteristics that make it a sustainable fiber.

Biodegradable - Biodegradable products are the perfect solution for reducing a large percentage of the waste products that pollute our environment. These products are ideal because when immersed into an ecosystem, they are broken down by the action of living organisms.


Certified Organic - Items that have been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations.

Closed Loop - A type of manufacturing process that utilizes a cyclical material flow in order to minimize waste.

Cradle to Cradle - A term used in life cycle analysis to describe a material or product that is recycled into a new product at the end of its defined life.


Eco - efficiency Reducing the ecological impact of goods and services while at the same time producing and delivering desirable, competitively priced goods and services.

Environment - The complex of physical, chemical and biotic factors (such as climate, soil and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.


Flax - Sustainable, renewable and biodegradable, naturally grown flax fiber is soft, lustrous and flexible.  It is stronger than cotton filer but less elastic.  Most linen fabrics are made from flax fiber.  


Green - An adjective used to describe something that is perceived to be beneficial to the environment.


Heavy Metal - Any metallic chemical element that has a relatively high density and is toxic at low concentrations. (Examples are mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, thallium and lead). Semi-metallic elements (such as antimony, arsenic, selenium and tellurium) are often included in this classification.

Hemp - Sustainable, renewable and biodegradable, hemp requires little to no pesticides or herbicides, it controls erosion of the top soil, and produces oxygen.


Jute - A coarse, brown fiber from the stalk of the bast plant, grown in India.


Organic - The process of treating and processing fibers and yarns without the use of any synthetic harmful chemicals or pesticides. The fabrics are processed using organic compounds, which are not harmful to the environment. Organic textiles are naturally hypoallergenic, healthy, and non-irritating. Fibers that fall into this category include organic cotton, organic hemp and organic linen.

Organic Cotton - Sustainable, rapidly renewable, and biodegradable fiber that has been grown through a carefully guided and strictly regulated process without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.  Organic cotton is also naturally hypoallergenic.   

Organic Hemp - Hemp grown without pesticides or chemical additives to fertilizer, relying instead on methods with less ecological impact. Hemp replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen which also makes it an ecofriendly fiber.

Organic Linen - A natural fiber made from the flax plant and grown without pesticides or herbicides. Organic linen is one of the most ecological of natural fibers as no irrigation is necessary, the flax plant purifies the soil, and is biodegradable and recyclable.


Post Consumer Recycled Polyester - The Post-Consumer Recycled Polyester yarns are made from recycled plastic bottles (16 20oz. bottles = 1 yard of fabric).

Post Industrial/PreConsumer Recycled Polyester - These yarns are made from plastic chips that have been rejected from bottle companies during the process of making bottles for consumers.


Recyclable Polyester - At the end of a fabric’s life, Recyclable Polyester can be recovered and recycled to create new raw material for future products.

Recycled Fibers - Fibers made from post-consumer and post-industrial material. Post-consumer fiber is made from material left over once a product has been used by a consumer. Post-industrial fiber is from material generated by an industrial process before the material has been used by a consumer. Recycled fiber lessens our dependence on resources, reduces waste and produces less pollution. Post-industrial recycled fibers come from petroleum byproducts, recycled cotton, corn derivatives, recycled silk, and soy bean husks.

Renewable - Capable of being replaced by natural ecological cycles or sound management practices. A natural resource qualifies as a renewable resource if it is replenished by natural processes or by re-planting at a rate comparable or faster than its rate of consumption.


Silk - The only natural fiber that comes in a filament form, from 300 to 1600 yards in length as reeled from the cocoon, cultivated or wild.

Sustainable - A method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. A sustainable product refers to a product that can be sustained with limited exhaustion of natural resources. Sustainable fibers come from rapidly renewable resources with growth and harvest cycles of five years or less. Fibers that fall into this category include alpaca, bamboo, cotton, linen, mohair, hemp, wool, cork.


Wide Spec Polyester - Fibers are produced using a “Wide Spec Polyester chip” that maximizes the value of waste materials throughout the manufacturing process, therefore minimizing the amount of waste at the end of the process.

Wool - The fine, soft curly hair that forms the fleece of sheep and certain other animals, wool is characterized by minute, overlapping surface scales that give it its felting property. Wool is a renewable resource.