Glossary of Terms
There seems to be a bit of confusion in the industry regarding who does what and what does what mean. So, here is a pretty comprehensive Glossary of Terms that may answer some of your questions. And if this just leaves more questions, please contact your J+J/Invision Sales Representative for some answers.
ADIPIC ACID AND HEXAMETHYLENE DIAMINE: These are the fundamental building blocks (monomers) of nylon 6,6.
ALTERNATIVE FUELS: This is a broad designation that includes non-traditional fuels such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass.
ANSI: American National Standards Institute (ANSI) promotes and facilitates consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and safeguards their integrity. ANSI is also actively engaged in accrediting programs that assess conformance to standards – including globally-recognized cross-sector programs such as ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environmental) management systems.
BEES: Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability is an approach formulated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to evaluate the life cycle impact of building products.
CALCIUM CARBONATE: Calcium Carbonate (limestone) is a mined substance that is commonly used as a filler in products ranging from plastics, antacids, blackboard chalk and of course, carpet. It is abundant, inexpensive and totally inert. We are currently using calcium carbonate as filler in PremierBac® Plus, TitanBac® Plus, Endure® Plus and Nexus®.
CAPROLACTAM: This is the fundamental building block (monimer) for nylon 6.
CARBON/CLIMATE NEUTRAL: Organizations or products carry this designation when the associated carbon dioxide – the most common greenhouse gas (GHG) – or other GHG emissions are offset to ensure there is a net balance in emissions. That is, if a product emits 10 tons of carbon dioxide during the manufacturing process, the same amount of carbon dioxide must be captured or eliminated from the atmosphere to achieve carbon / climate neutrality.
CARBON DIOXIDE EQUIVALENCE: (CO2e): CO2e expresses the global warming potential of greenhouse gas in terms of carbon dioxide–the most common greenhouse gas. (See Global Warming Potential)
CARBON OFFSETS: This is a term for commodities that can be purchased to offset carbon or climate changing emissions. These offsets originate from projects that eliminate or curb greenhouse gas emissions, such as the installation of renewable energy or methane capture at a landfill, for example.
CARBON SEQUESTRATION: This is the process of capturing carbon from various sources (e.g. coal fired power plants) and storing it permanently (e.g. deep ocean or well injection) inhibiting the release of GHGs to the atmosphere, which contribute to climate change.
CARE: Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is a joint industry-government effort to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet and reduce the amount of waste carpet going to landfills.
COAL FLY ASH (CFA): CFA is a by-product of coal combustion, which is typically landfilled. More recently, it has been used as inert filler in a number of products, including cement and carpet. CFA is currently designated as a pre-consumer waste and is used in our modular tile products. The particular CFA we use is certified as an Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP).
CRADLE-TO-CRADLE® : This is a design approach that aims to emulate nature’s regenerative processes by ensuring products have no waste or by-products. For example, cradle-to-cradle products are designed with end-of-life management in mind, enabling a product to be used as a raw material for the manufacture of other products at the end of its useful life or benign decomposition in landfill. Although MBDC,LLC did not conceive or trademark the cradle-to-cradle concept, they have created a proprietary certification called C2C that employs these concepts. J&J Industries’ products incorporate these design strategies but our products have not undergone this proprietary certification. Alternatively, we are focusing on conducting life cycle assessments to drive design innovations and identify the environmental impacts associated with our products.
CARPET & RUG INSTITUTE (CRI): Based in Dalton, Georgia, the CRI is a nonprofit trade association representing the manufacturers of more than 95 percent of all carpet made in the United States, as well as their suppliers and service providers. CRI coordinates with other segments of the industry, such as distributors, retailers, and installers, to help increase consumers’ satisfaction with carpet and to show them how carpet creates a better environment. CRI is the best source of general technical information about carpet.
DEMATERIALIZATION: As the environmental impacts of a product are closely tied to the amount of material used, dematerialization is a design philosophy that utilizes the least amount of materials possible to provide the necessary functionality and performance.
DOWNCYCLING: This term references any product that is not closed-looped recycled (back into the same product it originated from). Due to its negative connotation, we prefer to reference downcycling as open-loop recycling. (See Open-loop vs. Closed-loop Recycling)
ELUTRIATION: This is a process for separating lighter materials from heavier ones using air or liquids. This is commonly used in carpet recycling operations to segregate different constituents (e.g. nylon from latex).
EMBODIED ENERGY: Embodied energy is an accounting methodology that sums the total energy necessary for an entire product lifecycle. With respect to J&J products, this typically includes the total energy required to make our carpet.
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EMS): An EMS is a written procedure to manage and control an organization’s impact on the environment. Also see ISO 14001.
ENVIRONMENTALLY PREFERABLE PRODUCTS (EPP): EPP is defined as products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance or disposal of the product or service.
4-PHENYLCYCLOHEXENE (4-PCH): This is a compound responsible for “new carpet smell”. It is a volatile organic compound present in styrene butadiene rubbers (PremierBac Plus). All J+J/Invision products meet the Green Label Plus program’s testing requirements, which ensures the level of 4-PCH is in trace quantities. There is no known human health risk associated with this compound.
GLASS CULLET: Glass cullet (ground glass) can be acquired from a number of sources. Most commonly, this includes curb-side municipal waste, light bulbs, automotive and plate glass. Glass cullet can be either pre-consumer or post-consumer waste. It is used widely as inert filler in numerous products. J&J Industries currently utilizes this post-consumer filler in PremierBac Plus, TitanBac Plus, Endure Plus and eKo.
GLOBAL WARMING POTENTIAL (GWP): GWP expresses how much a particular greenhouse gas will contribute to global warming. CO2 is the reference point and has a GWP of 1, while methane, a more potent greenhouse gas, has a GWP of 25 over a 100 year time frame. That is, methane will contribute 25 times more to global warming than the equivalent sum of CO2 over 100 years.
GREENBUILD: Annual conference and exposition of the U.S. Green Building Council, promoting green building materials, techniques and products.
GREEN LABEL PLUS (GLP): The Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus program evaluates the level of VOC emissions from carpets and adhesives. Products that carry the GLP designation are certified to have low VOC emissions, ensuring healthy indoor air quality.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION (ISO): ISO is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards.
ISO 14001: An internationally recognized standard for development and implementation of an environmental management system. Organizations are third-party certified to ISO 14001. All of J&J Industries’ facilities are ISO 14001 certified and third-party audited annually.
LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a rating system for evaluating the environmental impacts of buildings that was developed by the USGBC.
LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT (LCA): LCA is a method for inventorying and assessing environmental impacts associated with a product or process. The scope of this analysis encompasses the entire life cycle from the extraction of raw materials to end-of-life management.
MECHANICAL VS. CHEMICAL RECYCLING: Within the carpet industry, an example of mechanical recycling would be the shearing of post-consumer nylon face fiber to be used in needle-punched underlayment or other consumer products. An example of chemical recycling would be nylon depolymerization, where heat is applied to post consumer nylon to deconstruct polymers into their simplest building blocks (monomers). Once the monomers are of sufficient purity, they can be repolymerized to create near virgin quality material.
MCDONOUGH BRAUNGART DESIGN CHEMISTRY (MBDC): MBDC is a consultancy specializing in a proprietary cradle-to-cradle certification called C2C.
NSF INTERNATIONAL: NSF International, The Public Health and Safety Company™, a not-for profit, non-governmental organization, is the world leader in standards development, product certification, education and risk-management for public health and safety. For 60 years, NSF has been committed to public health, safety and protection of the environment. While focusing on food, water, indoor air and the environment, NSF develops national standards, provides learning opportunities through its Center for Public Health Education, and provides third-party conformity assessment services while representing the interests of all stakeholders. The primary stakeholder groups include industry, the regulatory community and the public at large.
NYLON: A thermoplastic used as a fiber in commercial carpet. There are two common types of nylon (6 and 6,6). Encore SD Ultima is made from nylon 6.
OPEN-LOOP VS. CLOSED-LOOP RECYCLING: Closed-loop recycling indicates a product can be recycled back into itself, while open-loop recycling (down cycling) indicates that it can be recycled into other types of products (e.g. soda bottle into fiber). Open-loop recycling is often regarded as worse than close-loop recycling. Often, value judgements have to be made as to which route is more environmentally beneficial. For example, a closed-loop recycling option for a product may require more energy than the open-loop option, but this open-loop option requires more water for reprocessing, comparatively. Depending on personal value judgements and pressing regional environmental issues, determining which of these recycling options is best may not be obvious.
POLYBROMINATED DIPHENYL ETHER (PBDEs): J&J Industries has never used any PBDEs. PBDEs were commonly used as flame retardents in polyurethane products.
PERSISTENT BIOACCUMULATIVE OR TOXIC (PBTs): PBT pollutants are chemicals that are toxic, persist in the environment and / or bioaccumulate in food chains and, thus, pose risks to human health and ecosystems.
POST-CONSUMER RECYCLED CONTENT: Materials that have been used by consumers and diverted from landfill to be integrated into new products.
POST INDUSTRIAL (PRE-CONSUMER) RECYCLED CONTENT: Materials that have been created as an industrial waste or by-product (not used by consumers) and diverted from landfill to be integrated into new products.
POLYLACTIC ACID (PLA): PLA is a renewable thermoplastic derived from corn starch or sugarcane and is biodegradable.
POLYETHYLENE (PE): PE (a polyolefin) is a thermoplastic used in our eKo backing.
POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET): PET or polyester is most commonly used in the residential market as a fiber. Most consumer plastic bottles are made from PET. It’s not currently used in commercial carpet due to flammability issues.
POLYPROPYLENE (PP): PP is a thermoplastic commonly used to make primary and secondary carpet backings.
POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC): PVC is a thermoplastic that has historically been the most common carpet tile backing. Nexus is manufactured with PVC.
RENEWABLE ENERGY: Energy generated from naturally replenishing resources such as wind, tides, solar and geothermal.
RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDITS (RECs): RECs are commodity certificates indicating the purchase of renewable energy (e.g. wind, hydro, solar, etc.). J&J Industries purchases RECs each year for two reasons. One, we believe it is fundamentally important to advance the generation of renewable energies in the United States and two, by helping fund renewable energy projects, we also help promote a more sustainable product and industry as defined by NSF-140.
SCIENTIFIC CERTIFICATION SYSTEMS (SCS): SCS is a third-party certification and assessment body. SCS is committed to delivering professional services that encourage organizations in a variety of industry and service sectors to establish and maintain practices that support environmental, social and quality goals, and that can be continually improved upon.
SOUTH COAST AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT (SCAQMD): SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County California and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. SCAQMD rule #1168 was written to limit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in adhesives. It is referenced frequently in LEED as a testing criteria for VOCs.
SUSTAINABILITY: There are numerous definitions of sustainability. However, one of the most often cited definitions was developed by the Brundtland commission; “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
TECHNICAL NUTRIENT: Materials that can be reused in a closed-loop process as material feedstock in the manufacture of the original product indefinitely. Polyethylene would be considered a technical nutrient for our closed-loop recycling of eKo tiles.
THERMOPLASTICS: The plastics used in Nexus and eKo are thermoplastics. At room temperature these plastics harden. When heat is applied, they become molten. Unlike thermosets, this process is reversible and the reintroduction of heat will make the product molten again. This is why thermoplastics are preferred for closed-loop recycling.
THERMOSET PLASTICS: The latex found in our broadloom products is a thermoset plastic. The latex is applied to the carpet in a liquid state. Then heat is applied to drive off the water and cure the backing. This is an irreversible process and the reintroduction of heat will not return the product to a liquid or molten state.
TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE: This is a method for evaluating corporate performance that considers social, environmental and economic issues as meaningful components of sustainable development.
UNDERWRITERS LABORATORY (UL): UL is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing standards for safety for over a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 51 billion UL marks appearing on 72,000 manufacturers’ products each year. UL’s worldwide family of companies and network of service providers include 62 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 99 countries. They certify products to NSF-140.
U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL (USGBC): U.S. Green Building Council is the institution that developed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
VERIFIED EMISSIONS REDUCTION (VERs): VERs are tradable commodities that indicate a quantity of emissions reductions through the capture and/or sequestration of climate changing emissions (i.e. greenhouse gases). VERs and carbon offsets are sometimes used interchangeably and considered synonymous.
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCs): Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. VOCs are of concern as these compounds are unstable and can be released into the environment. All J&J products undergo VOC testing to ensure compliance as a low emitting material.
WASTE-TO-ENERGY: A process in which wastes are combusted to produce energy. The FTC does not recognize waste-to-energy as recycling.