Ever felt baffled and confused by the eco-friendly and environmental terminology you see in advertising and media these days? Simplifying the language may help you to properly understand the benefits of a cleaner, greener and more planet conscious lifestyle. Here is Beyond Bamboo's glossary of Green Terms to help you navigate these green claims and buzz words so you can live your life making the best choices for you, the well-being of others and the health of our planet!


Net zero refers to achieving an equal balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.
Offsetting is a way of paying for others to reduce emissions or absorb CO2 to compensate for a company's own emissions. Offsetting doesn't actually cancel out – or, 'offset' – the emissions to which they are linked.
Goes beyond achieving net zero carbon emissions to actually create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
'Vegan' means it does not contain any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients. Often brands may claim an item is vegan-friendly if it contains no animal ingredients but was made in a factory where other non-vegan items are made. The terminology is used to indicate that they cannot guarantee there is absolutely no cross contamination (but, on balance, the product can be considered vegan).
Cruelty-free is a label for products that do not harm or kill animals anywhere along its supply chain. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free, since these tests are often painful and cause the suffering and death of animals.
Some people, including food bloggers, may use the terms "plant-based" and "vegan" interchangeably, however, plant-based is an "umbrella term" and does not necessarily equate to being vegan. Eating more plant-based foods is the single biggest way we can reduce our impact on the environment as individuals.

Biodegradable materials or products are those that are able to break down to their basic components when given the right conditions and presence of microorganisms, fungi or bacteria. This is great as it keeps the item out of landfill. Some items are biodegradable/compostable in home composting bins, other require industrial composting silos where very high temperatures are reached. Check if products and packaging are suitable for home composting as you can then do this yourself, without the need for additional transport, and it also indicates that the item will break down relatively quickly. Once degraded/composted the item leaves nothing harmful behind.



Accreditation is an independent, third-party evaluation by an assessment bodyagainst recognised standards. A brand having gained an industry accreditation ensures that due diligence has been done for that particular claim.



Sustainable products and practices are those that do not jeopardise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It has become too broad a term with such little accountability that it can hardly be taken at face value. Brands that are operating “more sustainably” should always explain specifically how they are doing so.



Zero waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no rubbish to be sent to landfills, incinerators or end up in the ocean.


Our Marketplace offers new, upcycled and preloved products that have been vetted using our bespoke Essential Criteria form in collaboration with Ethical Consumer to ensure their green credentials so that you can shop with confidence. Beyond Bamboo is working towards a truly planet conscious way to shop for your home and lifestyle – helping you to connect with and support independent brands with stories which inspire and influence for good.