Category Archives: sustainability_a_z_terms

Farmers Markets

Farmers markets allow shoppers to buy products directly from growers. This means less transportation, handling, and processing of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other foods. Food sold at farmers markets is often seasonal, local, and less expensive than traditional supermarkets.   Learn More Benefits of Shopping at Farmers Markets Farmers Markets and Sustainability – USDA   Lehigh Valley Resources 2017 Lehigh […]

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Fracking (Hydraulic Fracturing)

The term ‘fracking’ comes from the process of fracturing the shale rocks in which natural gas is stored by forcing a mixture of water, chemicals, and sand inside the rock to crack it and release the gas. There is some evidence that it can pollute surrounding areas, but the health consequences and environmental impacts of fracking are still being studied. […]

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Compost

Composting is the process of turning organic matter such as food waste into soil which can be used as fertilizer. It usually involves food scraps as well as soil and other organic matter such as leaves or grass clippings, which are mixed together and then decompose with the help of microorganisms in the soil. Composting prevents organic waste from going […]

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Landfill

Landfills are storage sites for waste. They are created to confine the waste to as small an area as possible, and cover the waste so that it does not contaminate the area. When created without strict safety precautions, landfills can disrupt infrastructure such as roads, pollute nearby soil and streams, and contaminate groundwater. The use of a landfill liner can prevent […]

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Fair Trade

The Fair Trade movement aims to improve the conditions of workers in developing countries. Fair Trade products are bought from the producers at a reasonable price, and must meet certain social and environmental standards. The movement focuses on commodities such as coffee, cocoa, wine, sugar, chocolate, gold, and handicrafts, which are usually exported from a developing country to a developed […]

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Greenhouse Gas

A greenhouse gas traps heat from the sun’s radiation when it is present in the atmosphere. Global climate change is caused by an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the air, which amplifies the insulating effect of the gases (commonly known as the ‘Greenhouse Effect’). The most abundant greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N20), and fluorinated gases. The […]

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Recycling

Recycling is the process of turning any type of waste into new products that can be used again. In a consumer context this generally refers to items such as used metal, glass, cardboard, paper, plastic, and sometimes electronics.  It is an alternative to disposing of waste through incineration (which causes air pollution) or through landfills (which can cause water pollution). […]

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Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, and coal are non-renewable energy sources that are formed from the decomposition of plants and animals over millions of years. They can be extracted from the earth and burned to create energy, and are now the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Learn More U.S. Department of Energy – Fossil Fuels Environmental Energy and Study […]

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Incineration

Incineration is the disposal of waste through combustion. When waste is burned, trash is converted into ash, gas, and heat. The gas is cleansed of pollutants before it is released into the air, and the remaining solid waste and ash is sent to a landfill. This type of waste disposal does not eliminate the need for landfills, but reduces the […]

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Natural Gas

Natural gas is a non-renewable fuel source that is composed of methane and other gases. When burned for energy, it releases fewer greenhouse gases than coal or oil, but still contributes to global climate change. It is formed underground from the decomposition of plants and animals, and is extracted through drilling or a process known as ‘fracking‘. Learn More Natural […]

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