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Baseline Assessment

A baseline assessment is a measure of how environmentally-friendly an organisation is, prior to the implementation of any environmental actions or programs. Future environmental assessments will be compared with this initial measure to determine if the organisation has made any environmental improvements.

Beneficial Organism

A beneficial organism is any organism that improves the growing process in an agricultural or garden environment. This includes organisms such as insects, arachnids, bacteria and fungi, viruses and nematodes (worms). Some of the benefits include pest control, plant pollination, and improvement of soil health.


A biodegradable object or matter, under suitable conditions, can break down into non-harmful substances by the action of living organisms such as fungi and bacteria, without harmful effects on the environment.

Biodegradable matter is usually organic matter that serves as a nutrient to the living organism feeding off them.

Time frames to breakdown are impacted by the material itself, light, water, oxygen and temperature. Some biodegradable products may take years to fully break down.


Biodiesel is a renewable fuel source produce from natural resources such as plant oils, animal fats, used cooking oil, and algae. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but can be combined in any quantity with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend for use in most diesel engines. Biodiesel is safe and easy to use, biodegradable, and basically free of sulphur and the typical diesel odour.


Biodiversity refers to the elaborate web of all living things on earth that humans need for their economies and lives. It refers to the variety and variability among a large number and wide range of species of animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms.

Biodynamic Farming

Biodynamic farming is an organic farming method founded by Rudolf Steiner and developed by the worldwide Biodynamic movement over the last 80 years. It promotes treating a farm or garden as a combined ecological system, uses mixtures of fermented herbs and minerals as soil additives, and follows an astronomical calendar for planting and propagation.

Biodynamic Self Certified - Sustainability Standard

Biodynamic is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim.

Biodynamic agriculture, regenerative gardening and pest management is a method of organic farming that approaches the agricultural process holistically. Biodynamic traders are not always registered organic, but, by definition, practice organic principals.


Bioenergy is energy derived from the combustion (burning) of newly expired organic matter (biomass) such as wood, straw, algae, crops, animal waste, sewage sludge, or other biological waste.


Biofuel is fuel produced from renewable resources including plant material, vegetable oils, and treated household and industrial wastes. Biofuels are considered to be environmentally-friendly as the carbon dioxide produced by burning them is balanced out by the carbon dioxide absorbed by the plants that are grown to produce the biofuel. 

Two common biofuels are bioethanol and biogas. Bioethanol is produced by fermenting the plants rich in sugar or starch such as sugar cane, corn and potato. Biogas is produced by fermenting organic waste.

Biological Control

Biocontrol is the use of natural means to control pests. Examples include the use of natural predators such as goldfish to consume mosquitoes, and natural repellants such as growing ginger to repel snails and slugs.

Biological Pesticides

Biological pesticides are considered to be an environmentally-friendly alterative to modern chemical pest control as the substances are derived from plants, bacteria, fungi and other naturally occurring or organic chemical processes. These biological substances are generally nontoxic for humans and animals, and do not leave toxic or lasting chemical residues in the environment.

Biological Stressors

Biological stressors are organisms that are accidentally or intentionally placed in habitats where they have not naturally evolved. An example of this is the cane toad (Bufo marinus) introduced to Australia in 1935 to control sugar cane pests in northeastern Queensland.


Biology is the study of living organisms and the natural world.


Biomass is all of the living material in a given area including plants, large animals and insects. It also refers to the use of plant materials and animal waste as a fuel.


Biopiracy refers to the business practice of patenting biological material including seeds, plants, animals and other indigenously grown agricultural products. There is a growing worldwide opposition to this practice as it means that the businesses that patent biological materials can then prevent indigenous people and local communities from using these same materials, unless a fee is paid.


Bioplastics are starch-based plastics made plants such as soy, corn and potatoes. These plastics can be composted in a household or commercial composting system, and are expected to break down by 60 percent or more within 6 months.


Bioremediation is the process of using biological methods such as bacteria, fungi, plants and other living organisms to remove pollutants from soil, water or wastewater.


The biosphere is the living component of the earth's system that encompasses all living organisms and ecosystems including how they interact, evolve and change over time, as well as the dead organic matter produced by them.

Black Water

Black water is water that contains food, animal or human waste, such as wastewater from toilets.

Bladder Tank

A bladder tank is used to hold rainwater and is similar in shape to a bag. It is made from reinforced PVC tarpaulin and is often placed under houses or buildings in the subfloor space. Bladder tanks can be used for garden irrigation, flushing toilets or washing clothes.


A bloom refers to an abundance of algae and/or higher aquatic plants in a body of water such as a lake, dam or stream. It is often related to pollution as pollutants can accelerate the algal growth.

Botanical Pesticides

Botanical pesticides are plant-produced chemicals or insecticides often used in organic farming.


Botany refers to the scientific study of plants and how they succeed in their natural environments. 

BPA Free

PA-Free Package logo is displayed on food and beverage packaging which demonstrates that the product meets strict guidelines.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been linked with health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes. There is a growing concern regarding BPA leaching into food and beverage packaging.

Bright Green

Bright green is a term created by writer Alex Steffen to refer to people who believe the way to achieve sustainability is through the application of technological innovation. This differs to ’dark greens’ who are people that believe environmental problems are a result of industrialised capitalism and seek major political change.

Building Orientation

Building orientation refers to position of a property or building with the intention of maximising the use of sunlight at different times of the year. This is to generally reduce heating costs in winter and improve the property’s cooling capacity in summer.


A bushfire is a type of fire that occurs naturally in forests, scrub, wood areas and grasslands of Australia, New Zealand and Caledonia. In Australia, bushfires often occur during summer due to the mostly hot and dry climate. Some native Australian flora including the eucalypt and banksia species have evolved to rely on bushfires for reproduction. Bushfires can cause loss of wildlife, loss of human life and property damage. 


Bushtucker is an everyday term for edible native Australian plants and traditionally relates to any native food utilised and consumed by the indigenous people of Australia.


Bycatch refers to fish and other marine life that is incidentally caught with the target fish species. Most bycatch is disposed of at sea.


Byproduct refers to all materials, other than the primary product, that are generated as a consequence of an industrial process or as a waste product in a living system. Byproducts can include sludge from wastewater treatment, waste heat from electricity production and usage, and carbon dioxide from the burning materials.