Glossary: Sustainability Terms + Definitions

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "Well, what's the difference between compostable and biodegradeable?" or "What is post-consumer content?". I used to wonder the exact same thing! It's not easy to find the information you need all in one place, so I decided to make a little glossary of all the important terminology and how you can responsibly and sustainably dispose of your Lōliʻi packaging and mailing materials. Here we go:

Recycled content is content that is made up of recycled materials. These recycled materials have been diverted from conventional disposal in order to be repurposed and reused. Instead of these waste materials filling landfills, they are used to make recycled content. Recycled content can be made up of either or both pre-consumer and post-consumer content.

Pre-consumer content is content that is created by manufacturers before a product ever goes to the consumer market. Examples of pre-consumer content are sawdust, shavings, scrap materials, fibers, plastics, etc. Pretty much all industrial processes generate waste and byproducts, and that's pre-consumer content. It's not the best option for recycled content but it's a better option than letting all the scrap materials go to waste in landfills.

Post-consumer content is content that is made up of materials that have reached the end of their life cycles as a consumer item. These materials usually come from inside our homes and would otherwise be disposed of and sitting in landfills. Post-consumer content includes recyclables collected in both commercial and residential recycling programs like paper, cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, plastics, etc. Post-consumer content is difficult to separate and collect, but it's so important as it reduces waste and keeps these materials from ever going to the landfill. Products that are made of 100% post-consumer content (PCC) are the best type of recycled content. This is what I strive to use as much and as often as possible. Post-consumer >>> Pre-consumer.

Post-industrial waste is essentially the same as pre-consumer content. It's waste that's been produced during the manufacturing process, for example sawdust, shavings, scrap garments, fibers, plastics, etc. We don't know why they don't just say Pre-consumer content, but since my supplier uses the descriptive term, I thought I'd clarify for you. Pre-consumer content = Post-industrial waste. 

This means that a product is able to be recycled. I strongly encourage everyone to reduce, reuse, and recycle- it's simple, and by doing so, you can make such a huge difference in the world. Curbside recycling (think of those blue bins you have outside your house) is standard in all major cities, but may be limited in smaller towns and remote areas. In Hawaiʻi, where Lōliʻi based, all of my packaging products are curbside recyclable except for the hang tag hemp twine. If you live in an apartment or somewhere without access to curbside recycle bins, hop online and google your nearest recycling center. Keep a small recycle bin in your home and when it's full, take it down to your local recycling center. For my Oʻahu friends, check out some of those spots here.

Compostable products, when in a compost environment, are able to disintegrate into natural elements without leaving any toxic trace in the soil. Our shopping bags and premium mailers are compostable, however we recommend recycling them as recycling is higher on the sustainable waste management hierarchy. You should definitely continue (or give it a try if you haven't already) to compost your banana peels and food scraps though.

Repeat after me: All compostable items are biodegradable but not all biodegradable items are compostable. Biodegradable means that the material can degrade with the help from naturally occurring microorganisms such as algae, fungi, and bacteria over an unspecified amount of time. Some things can biodegrade but leave behind toxins and chemicals therefore making them not able to be composted.

To keep it simple for you, RECYCLE ALL OF YOUR LŌLIʻI PACKING AND MAILING PRODUCTS except for the hemp twine attached to your kinis. We are working on finding a more sustainable option at the moment, but for now, recycle the tag and dispose of the twine.

Thank you for always supporting Lōliʻi and joining me on this journey to mālama ʻāina and become a more sustainable business.