Sometimes jargon gets in the way of clarity. Below are some key terms we use often that relate to our products and sustainability. If you don’t find what you are looking for or if you have specific questions about our process or products contact us!
Products or materials extracted, processed or manufactured within 100 miles from the point of distribution. We strive to manufacture all of our products in the Philadelphia tri-state area (over 70% of our collection meets this criteria). All of our products are made in the US with the majority of the material extraction also taking place within the continental US.
The use of existing infrastructure and resources with built-in environmental and social advantages to create alternative markets to incentivize material, process and behavioral changes.
Closed Loop Manufacturing
A production processes where no waste is emitted and where all resources can be put back into the production process to create products of better or equal quality. Even though there are very few examples of completely waste-free manufacturing processes today, several industries operate with this principle by recycling and reusing materials and resources within their processes.
Product Service System
The result of an innovation strategy, shifting the business focus from designing and selling physical products only, to selling a system of products and services, which are jointly capable of fulfilling specific needs.
Products and services delivered with limited or no packaging or designed to nest, flat-pack or otherwise collapse to minimize the transportation carbon footprint. There are numerous ways to provide efficient packaging in the context of product design including through the use of biodegradable and curbside recyclable packaging materials such as cardboard and molded pulp. At MIO we strive to eliminate non-recyclable packaging and design products for efficient transportation from factories and to our customers.
Design for Disassembly
The process of designing products so that they can be easily, cost-effectively and rapidly taken apart at the end of the product's life so that components can be reused and/or recycled.
A product that generates a positive and quantifiable environmental impact each time it is used. Active sustainable products transform daily activities into acts of environmental conservation.
Environmentally Preferable Finish
Finishes that do not affect human health during product use, reduce impact on living organisms and the environment throughout their life cycle and have the ability to either biodegrade or not affect a product’s recyclability.
Natural resources (materials and services) that can be replaced by natural processes at a rate comparable or faster than the rate of consumption by humans. Resources such as solar radiation, tides, and winds are perpetual resources that are in no danger of being used in excess of their long-term availability.
A material that has the ability to break down, safely and relatively quickly, by biological means, into the raw materials of nature and disappear into the environment. These products can be solids biodegrading into the soil (also referred to as compostable), or liquids biodegrading into water.
The ability to process used materials or products into new products or raw materials of equal or better quality, preventing the waste of potentially useful resources.
Products or materials made from resources that would otherwise have been discarded during initial production (pre-consumer) or after end of life (post-consumer).
A type of waste produced by the end consumer of a material stream, where the waste-producing use did not involve the production of another product.
Is the reintroduction of manufacturing scrap (such as trimmings from production, defective products etc.) back into the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste is commonly used in manufacturing industries, and is often not considered recycling in the traditional sense.
A product that is “compostable” is one that can be placed into a composition of decaying biodegradable materials, and eventually turns into a nutrient-rich material. It is almost synonymous with “biodegradable”, except it is limited to solid materials and does not refer to liquids.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international organization that brings people together to find solutions that promote responsible stewardship of the world’s forests. There are two types of FSC certificates available from certification bodies: Forest Management (FM) Certificate and Chain of Custody (COC) Certificate.
The customization and/or personalization of products or services through interaction between a company and the customer. A company is customerized when it is able to establish a dialogue with individual customers and respond by customizing its products, services, and messages on demand.
The term was coined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in its 1992 publication “Changing Course”. It is based on the concept of creating more goods and services while using fewer resources and creating less waste and pollution. According to the WBCSD definition, eco-efficiency is achieved through the delivery of “competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life while progressively reducing environmental impacts of goods and resource intensity throughout the entire life-cycle to a level at least in line with the Earth’s estimated carrying capacity.” This concept describes a vision for the production of economically valuable goods and services while reducing the ecological impacts of production. In other words eco-efficiency means producing more with less.
An analytical approach to measuring human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems and natural resources. It compares human consumption of natural resources with planet Earth’s ecological capacity to regenerate them. It is an estimate of the amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources a human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding waste, given prevailing technology and current understanding. Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how many planet Earths it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle. While the ecological footprint term is widely used, methods of measurement vary quantitatively.
Refers to the quantity of energy required to manufacture, and supply to the point of use, a product, material or service. Traditionally considered, embodied energy is an accounting methodology which aims to find the sum total of the energy necessary – from the raw material extraction, to transport, manufacturing, assembly, installation as well as the capital and other costs of a specific material – to produce a service or product and finally its disassembly, deconstruction and/or decompostion.
A commitment to social justice in which employees and farmers are treated and paid fairly, sustainable environmental practices are followed and long-term trade relationships are fostered. A term used to describe a social-responsibility movement demanding that producers receive fair prices for their products; also used to describe products that are made by these producers.
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)
An examination, like an audit, of the total impact of a product or service’s manufacturing, use, and disposal in terms of material and energy. This includes an analysis and inventory of all parts, materials, and energy, and their impacts in the manufacturing of a product but usually doesn’t include social impacts.
The act of consuming goods to satisfy needs in a manner which incentivizes economic, scientific and cultural progress towards reducing or eliminating the impact of the consumed goods.
Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)
Are organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere. A wide range of carbon-based molecules, such as aldehydes, ketones, and other light hydrocarbons are VOCs. VOCs are sometimes accidentally released into the environment, where they can damage soil and groundwater. Vapors of VOCs escaping into the air contribute to air pollution. Many VOCs found around the house, such as paint strippers and wood preservatives, contribute to sick building syndrome because of their high vapor pressure. VOC’s are often used in paint, carpet backing, plastics, and cosmetics. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found concentrations of VOCs in indoor air to be 2 to 5 times greater than in outdoor air. During certain activities indoor levels of VOCs may reach 1,000 times that of the outside air. Not all organic compounds are volatile; many plastics (polymers) and other large molecules may not have significant vapor pressure at normal temperatures.
Philosophy of fostering awareness and the adoption of sustainability through design and desire. Surprise and delight that engages customers on beauty and function rather than guilt and fear.
Environmentally progressive design features provided in surprising and unexpected ways that enhance the experience of products and services, elevating function and affordances from expected goal to illusory feat. Design experiences that achieve environmental goals as if through supernatural powers, fitting perfectly into context and with unexpected elements of surprise and delight for the audience.
Products that educate their users about their origins, manufacturing processes, recycling, re-use or safe disposal through their design and user experience.
Ideal Solution Paralysis
State of indecision on how to address current environmental and social challenges in which individuals and companies decide to wait until they can afford -or believe that they will be able to implement- theoretically perfect solutions.
Design that is primarily guided by environmental goals above ego or artificial aesthetic constraints set by the designer. Design that embraces the economic and practical constraints of materials, processes and technology without sacrificing eco-efficiency.