A-Z of sustainability words & actions

If you’re feeling baffled by all the sustainability and eco-living terms out there, or you’re simply looking for a quick reference for some ways to live in more sustainable ways, our sustainability words and actions A-Z is a great place to start.

Once you’ve found some changes you’d like to make, why not join Ailuna’s growing community of people who want to make a difference and build more sustainable habits? Download the Ailuna App from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store today and start building your habits with impact, alongside a like-minded group of people from around the world.

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The first step towards living in a more sustainable way is to be aware of what you currently do. That awareness will, in turn, make you more conscious of the choices you make in the future.

BYO – Bring Your Own

Previously an acronym more used by restaurants that encourage diners to bring their own drinks, the BYO movement has evolved to help you to cut down on single-use plastics and consider packing a kit of “bring your own” items when you head out for the day. This kit could include:

  • Water bottle 
  • Reusable coffee cup 
  • Food containers
  • Utensils 
  • Metal or other reusable straw


A young girl drinking from a glass jar through a metal straw

Carbon sequestering & carbon sink

A double-whammy for the letter C as we know that both of these terms are being more widely used and are useful to know about:

Carbon sequestering. The process of capturing and storing CO2 eg. Through the planting of trees 

Carbon sink. An absorber of CO2 such as oceans and forests 

DIY – do it yourself

Not limited to painting your own home instead of paying a decorator to do it. DIY could mean making your own oat milk at home instead of buying cartons, or anything else you can make rather than purchase new.


Small-scale tourism in protected areas. For example, tours offered by Responsible Travel and Secret Atlas Travel. These aim to have a low impact on the environment, benefit local communities and educate visitors on the natural and/or cultural history of a place. 

Food miles 

The distance an item travels from source to you. Sourcing local produce and products reduces food miles. 


This is when a company falsely claims or lies about its supply chain, services, or products being eco-friendly in some way. 

Hydrogen fuel

Zero-emission fuel when burned with oxygen. This fuel is beginning to be used in passenger cars and buses. It is also being used for the propulsion of spacecraft. 


Ensuring you have good insulation in your home prevents heat lost in buildings and reduces noise. It can improve overall comfort and reduce the need for excessive heating or cooling use. 


Reusing your old sauce or condiment jars is a great way to avoid waste when cooking, preserving, storing food, as plant pots, or for general decluttering and organisation.

A selection of jars being used to store nuts, bolts and screws

Keep it simple

Overwhelm and doing too much too quickly are the two most likely reasons your new habits won’t stick. Keeping things simple by taking one step at a time is the key to good and long-lasting habits and changes that are important to you. 


It may seem strange to just have the word “less” included in this list, but actually “less” is what we can all strive for. Less consumption, less is more, less flying. The list of what we could do less of is endless!

MEES – Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard

MEES applies to private residential and domestic property. It measures the energy efficiency of a property and considers things such as heating, insulation, and effectiveness of windows and doors at blocking draughts. 

Net Positive Impact

A way of doing business that puts more back into society, the environment, and the global economy than it takes out. 


Raw materials and produce that have not been genetically modified, nor been exposed to any chemical pesticides or insecticides. 

Public Transport

A great way to reduce your footprint. Using public transport more and ditching the car not only helps reduce emossions but saves on fuel, insurance, general wear and tear, and parking.


There is no such thing as a stupid question and when you’re starting out the more you ask, the better. If you need a safe, non-judgemental space to ask questions, join the Ailuna Community in the Ailuna App to get help from people on the same journey as you.


Recycling isn’t always easy. The different types of plastics, metals, glass and the recycling facilities available varies greatly by country and region. Check out our post on recycling like a pro for all our favourite tips, and if you’d like to know the difference between recycling, downcycling and upcyling, this blog post is the place to find out.


The Sustainable Development Goals we adopted by the UN in 2015 as a universal call to end poverty, protect the plant and ensure that by 2030, all people enjoy peace and prosperity. All countries, rich and poor, are working together to achieve these goals. 

An images depicting the UNs sustainable development goals


One of many goals a business will have when wanting to be transparent to their consumers. Being able to trace the entire supply chain from start to finish and avoid greenwashing (see above).

Ugly produce

It might not look pretty but it still tastes the same – ugly produce is the fruit or vegetables that would usually be rejected by a supermarket’s quality tests because it doesn’t look perfect. Some supermarkets and greengrocers have ugly or odd options at lower prices, so look out for them when shopping.


Eating more vegetables isn’t just good for your health, it’s good for the planet, too. Meat Free Mondays are a good first step to taking a more conscious approach to diet. 


Walking is great for your health and the environment, and connecting with nature is a powerful mental health tool, too. 


Yes, we know this is a tenuous X but not many words begin with X so we’ve gone with “explore”. Exploring your local area for opportunities to live a lower-waste lifestyle, discovering local spots with potential for rewilding or conservation or simply exploring conversations with friends and family can all help us move towards a more sustainable future.


Get the kids involved early. They are the future so teach them to care for the world around them. Gen Z is much more conscious of the impact their actions are having on the planet and future generations will be even more aware and motivated to make a difference.

Zero waste

A concept that is constantly up for debate, the zero-waste movement aims to produce as little waste as possible. although it is widely accepted that true zero waste is impossible to achieve. So do what you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t fit all your waste into a jam jar! 

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