Glossary of Terms (Q-T)

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Quantum Theory
A branch of physics providing a mathematical description of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interaction of matter and energy.


A natural resource is called renewable if it is replaced by natural processes or replenished with the passage of time. Renewable resources are part of our natural environment and eco-system.

Rainwater Harvesting
The accumulation and storage of rainwater for re-use.

Rubicon Theory
The EXPEDITION Project has predicted that by 2050 the human race will have reached a virtual Rubicon (point of no return) in saving our Earth as we know it.

Romantic Theory
A humourous concept (similar to the 'Hollywood Superhero Theory') coined by The EXPEDITION Project, suggesting that the world has a destiny and fate beyond our control.

A drastic change in thinking in rebellion against authority or prevalent laws and rules.

To use an item more than once or to re-make it so that it can be used for another purpose

Slowing down the amount of waste and product usage by re-using, re-filling and recycling.

Using items more than once so that you reduce your waste and need for new products.

Making use of containers more than once by re-filling them with another or the same contents.


Water from rainfall, snow melt, or otherwise discharged that flows across the ground surface instead of infiltrating the ground.

Recycled content

The portion of a product or package that contains materials that have been recovered or otherwise diverted from the solid waste stream either during the manufacturing process or after consumer use. Many paper products are made with 100% recycled content.


Term used to describe a series of activities that includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers, and manufacturing the raw materials into new products.

Recycled Fibers

Substances that were previously used by consumers and then converted into fibers for further use.

Renewable energy

Energy that we get from a source that can’t run out. The biggest source of renewable energy is solar radiation (sunlight). Also known as "green power" or "clean energy". ([Click here] to learn more about renewable energy).


A waste is reactive if it is likely to explode, react violently, or release toxic gases if it comes in contact with water. One example of a reactive substance is nitroglycerin.



A business that operates on unfair labour practices and exploits people by making them work inhumane hours for little or no payment.

Slow Food
Meals made from scratch with natural, fresh ingredients.

Something that can be maintained long-term because of the balanced way in which it is done.

Solar Energy
Power from the sun.

Solar System
Our solar system consists of the sun and the planets that are bound to it by gravity. Evolutionary science teaches that it formed when a giant molecular cloud collapsed approximately 4.6 billion years ago.

A super-grid is a wide area transmission network that makes it possible to trade high volumes of electricity across great distances.

Self Sufficiency
Providing for yourself by living off your land without import or outside provisions.

Surface Fires:

The most common type of wildfire, move slowly and burn along the forest floor, killing and damaging vegetation.


Sanitary sewer system

Underground pipes that carry only domestic or industrial waste water to a sewage treatment plant or receiving water.


A solid-liquid separation process utilizing gravitational settling to remove soil or rock particles from the water column.

Storm sewer system

A system of pipes and channels that carry storm water runoff from the surfaces of building, paved surfaces, and the land to discharge areas.

Storm water

Water derived from a storm event or conveyed through a storm sewer system.

Surface water

Water that flows across the land surface, in channels, or is contained in depressions on the land surface (e.g. runoff, ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams).


Environmental sustainability is the ability to maintain the qualities that are valued in the physical environment. Find out more by clicking here

Some Organic Ingredients

Identifies products that contain less than 70% organic ingredients.


Derivatives of sulfur used in conventional winemaking as preservatives and antioxidants. Certified organic wines cannot contain more than 100ppm (parts per million) of sulfites.

Sustainable Agriculture

A system of agriculture that promotes the well-being and longevity of natural and human resources through emphasis on environmental, economic and social factors. Organic production is often considered to fall under this definition.

Synthetic Materials

Man-made materials from petroleum and carbon derivatives, such as acrylic, nylon and spandex.


A mixture of pollutants, principally ground-level ozone, produced by chemical reactions in the air. A major portion of smog-formers comes from burning petroleum-based fuels such as gasoline, but also include volatile organic compounds that are found in products such as paints and solvents. Smog can harm health, damage the environment and cause poor visibility.


Any place or object from which pollutants are released. A source can be a power plant, factory, dry cleaning business, gas station, or a farm. Cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles are sources. Consumer products and machines used in industry can also be sources.

Stationary Source:

A place or object from which pollutants are released which does not move. Stationary sources include power plants, gas stations, incinerators, and houses.

Sulfur Dioxide:

Sulfur dioxide is a gas produced by burning coal, most notably in power plants. Some industrial processes, such as production of paper and smelting of metals, and also produce sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide is closely related to sulfuric acid, a strong acid. Sulfur dioxide plays an important role in the production of acid rain.

Socially Responsible Investing

Investing money in companies that abide by sustainability guidelines.

Solar Power

The technology that we use to obtain energy from sunlight. ([Click here] to learn more about renewable energy).


A characteristic of a process that can be maintained indefinitely.

Sustainable Development

Meeting the needs of the present while planning and growing without compromise to the future environmental state.


Exposure to high concentrations of selenium compounds cause selenosis, symptoms of which include hair loss, nail brittleness, and neurological abnormalities (such as numbness and other odd sensations in the extremities).




Tidal Energy
Energy produced by the movement of ocean tides.

The Three "R"s:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


A product grown on a farm which is switching from conventional to organic farming. The product was grown according to USDA organic requirements, but either the soil was not chemical-free for the required length of time, or the farm was still in the process of gaining organic certification.

Tidal Power

Power obtained by catching the energy of moving water masses from tides. ([Click here] to learn more about renewable energy).

Total Environmental Impact

The total change on the environment from humans, industry and natural disasters.


The degree to which a substance can harm humans or animals. Toxicity can be acute, sub-chronic, or chronic:

  • Acute toxicity involves harmful effects in an organism through a single or short-term exposure.
  • Sub-chronic toxicity is the ability of a toxic substance to cause effects for more than one year but less than the lifetime of the exposed organism.
  • Chronic toxicity is the ability of a substance or mixture of substances to cause harmful effects over an extended period, usually with repeated or continuous exposure, sometimes lasting for the entire life of the exposed organism.

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