Greenies’ Coke Use A Wrecker

“Greenies’ Coke Use A Wrecker” was the title of an article in Sydney’s MX daily newspaper today.

I am going to include the whole article in this post because I think it is worth a read.  In the past I have personally worked as a volunteer youth worker for over 15 years.  I have worked with not only bright, talented and fortunate teenagers but also the ones people really don’t want living next door as a neighbour.  First hand I have seen time and time again the devastation drugs cause on the user and their families (if they were lucky to have families).


Interesting enough over this time, never once had I considered the devastation drugs are causing on our environment.  If drug takers and in particular the social drug takers don’t care about their health, finances or family to stop taking drugs maybe thinking about the damage they are causing to the environment might make them think twice (yeah I know it is a long shot).


Here is the article:


Does white powder damage your green credentials?  Colombia’s vice president says middle class cokeheads, who recycle and take their shopping home in reusable bags, should realise their habit is wrecking the environment, particularly his country’s rainforests.


“These people, who have good jobs and drive a hybrid car or cycle to work because they care about the environment, may go to a party and do some lines of coke and they are thinking it is no problem” Francisco Santos said.  “They are absolutely unaware of the ecological impact of their drug taking and we want to change that.”


Colombia launched a campaign to make Europeans aware of the impact of the drug industry on their country two years ago.  But Europeans cocaine use has doubled in the past year and Santos is changing tack and hopes that a pleas to people’s eco-conscience will get through.


Santos plans to launch a similar campaign in the US next year.  “We want to show them (cocaine users) destroyed rain forests, wasted land.  Maybe if they don’t care about their own brains, they care about this.”


The Colombian government says 2.2 million hectares of rainforest has been cleared to grow cocaine in the past 20 years, equating to about 4sqm for every gram of cocaine produced.

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What I have achieved so far on my green journey!

Here is a list of practical things I have been able to achieve so far on my ‘green journey’.


·                     Now ‘air ratting’ my worm farm so it doesn’t become a mini methane producing landfill. 

Read ‘Are Worm Farms any better than Landfill’.


·                     Recycling all my tissues using the worm farm.

Read ‘Winter cold & flu’s produces tissue waste’.


·                     Have come up with a system for recycling our dog poo waste.

Read ‘Why is dog poo so interesting?’


·                     Planted trees on National Tree Planting Day at Sydney Park (27.7.08).

Read ‘The Day of National Tree Day’.


·                     Learnt that the livestock industry is creating more methane greenhouse gas than any other industry.  Thus I have decided to cut back to on eating meat.  Instead of meat every night we have it ever 2nd night.  Also from now on the meat I buy from the grocery store will be cruelty free.

Read ‘A Pig Feeling’.


·                     Learnt that living in the Sydney City Local Council means I don’t have to remove staples from paper or those plastic windows from envelopes before recycling.

Read ‘Do I need to remove staples & plastic windows from envelopes’?


·                     Currently learning about Australian Carbon Credit Schemes.  In the process of offsetting all my carbon emissions (will update you when I have done this).

Read ‘Australian Carbon Credit Schemes’.


·                     Had my very first no waste week!

Read Zero Waste Goals’.


·                     Using a bokashi bin and a worm farm together to reduce our kitchen organic waste.  Now only bones are thrown into the rubbish bin – everything else is recycled.

Post still to be written


·                     Sarhn McArthur Photography is now using 100% post-consumer recycled copy paper.

Read ‘Why I will NOT BE buying Reflex 100% Recycled Paper!’

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Blog Ethics Page

Just thought I would add a quick post, about my blog ethics.  I have just recently added a page on this subject for all to read.  For regular readers who may not have noticed the new page here is what it says:



‘Greener Me’ is my (Sarhn McArthur) personal and business journey to live a greener, sustainable life.  I write with the intention of being honest, open and accountable.  Therefore any favorable comments I make about brands, products or companies are from my personal response.  I have not or will not take any form or payment, commission or kick backs for any of my comments on this blog.


If however in the future I decide to add any advertisements onto my blog, they will be separate and easily identifiable.  My comments will always be unbiased, unsolicited and free.


Thank you for reading and following my journey.  


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Am I a weird and strange person?

I just got off the office phone at work after speaking to one of those companies selling inkjet cartridges.


Any business owner or receptionist will know how annoying these calls are.  At Sarhn McArthur Photography we get around 3 of these calls a week (not to mention the equally annoying telecommunication company calls, which we receive around 5 a week).


Usually it is hard to understand their prepared script with their very heavy Indian accent.  I always try to be patient and polite (while trying to get off the phone as quickly as possible) as I know they have a job to do and it is a way of supporting their family.


This man was telling me he could sell me inkjet cartridges brand new and cheaper than I could get anywhere else. To which I shared “we are an environmentally concerned company and get our cartridges refilled as it uses less resources and energy”.


He asked me what it costs to have my cartridges refilled then excitedly shared that he could get me brand new ones at $10 less.


“You are missing the point” I responded “we are an environmentally concerned company and hence are happy to pay more for services / products that are the best option available for the environment”.


“You are a very weird and strange person” was his response as he hung up the phone.


Is my reasoning that unusual?  I understand that my thinking is shared by only a minority of the world’s population but I did feel the percentage was increasing.


I am not upset about being called ‘a very weird and strange person’ by a supplier but just sad that people don’t get it.  I understand that not everyone lives a comfortable life in Australia as I do and hence environmental issues will not always be a priority.  I had hoped however, that at least the environment may be on their radar.


Just thought I would share today’s tale with you my faithful readers.  If nothing else this post may help you to achieve politely ending annoying telemarketing phone calls i.e. talk about environmental issues.  J

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Why I will NOT BE buying Reflex 100% Recycled Paper!


This has been a really tough post to research and write but it is long overdue. 

‘Reflex 100% Recycled Paper’ claims to contain the highest amount of recycled content of any Australian made office paper.  They say it is great for the local environment because unlike imported papers, the waste paper used to make ‘Reflex 100% Recycled’ is diverted from Australian landfill.

Sounds good doesn’t it?  In fact the claim ticks all my boxes when selecting copy paper; Australian made (not owned however) and 100% recycled.

After doing a little digging and researching into the claim ‘100% recycled’, I found that the meaning of the claim isn’t what I thought.

What does recycled mean?  I bet if I asked 100 people randomly most will have a similar answer “to brake down a used product to make a new one”. Well strap yourself in, as you are about to go on a crazy show ride, which undoubtedly will leave you feeling a little sickly afterwards.

The sickness for me comes from the understanding that there is a word missing for the Reflex 100% recycled claim.  There are two types of recycled paper ‘pre-consumer’ and ‘post-consumer’.  What do these two words mean and which word should Reflex be adding to their claim?

Post-consumer involves recycling paper from offices and homes after use (which is what I think most people envisioned paper recycling is all about).  Pre-consumer involves recycling tree/wood off cuts which people argue would have been thrown out anyway so hence they are recycling it.  Now you need to stop and take a deep breath as I ask “where were the trees growing before they were cut down to create the recycled off cuts?”

There are only two choices 1. Plantations (some are better than others in regards to a sustainability resource).   2. Old growth or virgin forests. 

Can you believe that a paper making company can argue that their paper is 100% recycled when the recycled material comes from plantation trees or even worse old growth forests?

Reflex is owned by Paperlinx/Amcor which is not an Australian owned company but they are the only company that makes copy paper in Australia.  Paperlinx/Amcor also sells Reflex under other labels: Oz Copy, Optx, Copyright and Australian Paper.  Source

What I have learnt to look for when purchasing copy paper is:

  1. The highest percentage of post-consumer materials used to make the copy paper.
  2. Can the wrap and packaging be recycled and were they also made from post-consumer materials?
  3. What type of (if any) bleaching was used? (Another subject for another post but basically I don’t want to select paper that uses chlorine as a bleach.  Select TCF paper or ‘Totally Chlorine Free’)

Ideally I would love my copy paper to also be made by an Australian company.  Alas one does not exist that meets the above criteria (with more consumer awareness this may change).

So after six months of researching, I have reached the decision to buy Evolve Paper.  Yes it has to be imported from overseas which means more travel emissions etc but I have weighed it up and knowing that 100% of the pulp comes from post-consumer materials is exceptional and needs to be applauded and supported.

Paperlinx/Amcor I will not be buying ‘Reflex 100% Recycled’ until you can also claim 100% is from post-consumer materials. 

Also on that note Paperlinx/Amcor I find it totally unacceptable that any of your products are sourced from the destruction of Australia’s native forests.  60% of our native forests have been cleared since Europeans arrived. Talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth about your company and your brands.  Source 

More information check these out:  CES Victoria     Wilderness Society



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A Green Psychology – our inner voice

Wonder how many people live with the inner belief that they individually can not improve humanity’s impact on the environment?


In fact I find the inner script or conversation we have with ourselves on a daily bases really interesting.  Just take the time to be aware of what is being said in your head.


One such conversation I wasn’t at the time aware of but later shocked by its realisation, occurred in Thailand on the first night staying in Bangkok.  You know the routine when you are first shown your hotel room.  As soon as the porter has left the room, you start browsing your new environment by venturing into the bathroom to check the tiny free bottles of toiletries.


In finding little bottles of moisturisers, I excitedly opened one of the bottles then poured the sweet smelling liquid onto my hands.  “MMmmm Yay” I thought “these tiny little bottles are great for the plane trip home”.


While rubbing the moisturiser onto my skin, I gazed upon the empty container.  It then dawned on me that my less then five minute action could not be recycled.


Why was the ‘green’ environmental agenda only my second thought?  Though a second thought is better than no thought at all (I did stop using the little orange bottles after my realisation).  I believe if I am to live a greener existence, then I need to understand how to increase my ‘green’ awareness thinking to first place thoughts.


Just a suggestion:


Step 1 Start by being aware on your own inner conversation.  When it comes to buying or using a product or service, stop and focus on your thinking.


Step 2 Identify one area you wish to improve upon (it is hard to change every aspect of your lifestyle over night).


Step 3  Place practical personal systems in place to remind you to be aware of your thinking on the ‘green’ agenda.  For example you could write a note on your cheque book, which jogs your memory about the ‘green’ agenda before writing each cheque.


Step 4  Allow the feeling of contentedness, happiness and well being to fill you each and every time you successfully place the ‘green’ agenda in your first place thoughts. 


Step 5  Be prepared to be shocked and challenged by what you will learn about yourself, once you start the process of being aware of your own personal thoughts. 


He that will not reflect is a ruined man.
Asian Proverb


The only journey is the journey within.
Rainer Maria Rilke


Know thyself means this, that you get acquainted with what you know, and what you can do.


Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.
Doug Firebaugh

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A Huge Thank You to ‘Greener Me’ Readers

A huge personal thank you to the many readers who have left a comment and or personally emailed me (found my email address from my business website).  Truly I am blown away by the response from complete strangers and also by my family and friends.


I doubt Geoffrey from Adelaide would mind if I posted his email to me.  Thanks Geoffrey, your email was very encouraging!


“Hi Sarhn. Geoffrey from Adelaide here.


I came across your greenerme blog in personal research on sustainability. Great job! So many of the articles were a great read – particularly the discussions on practical things like staples in paper and tissue waste.


It’s fantastic to see us Australians with a passion for the environment using technology to make a difference to the world.


I’m writing because I thought you might love to join , a new online forum I’m part of for Australian’s to discuss ideas for sustainable living e.g. how to reduce your energy and water bills, recycling, eco-friendly house design, organic cuisine and other current news and issues.


EcoLivingScene is NOT about eco-activism so much. It’s about average people inspiring and supporting each other to make simple and cost-effective lifestyle changes that everyone can make to help the environment.


You obviously live the passion, and have a wealth of information and experience. I think you’d really get a buzz out of being a big part of the group.


For a short presentation on EcoLivingScene visit here.


I hope you choose to join up and be part of the community!


Let me know if there is anything else I can help you out with to support the cause. Also, maybe you know someone in your circle who might want to join the EcoLivingScene community? Feel free to pass on this link we really appreciate the support.


Cheers and keep up the great work!




Thanks Geoffrey, I did check out EcoLivingScene website and yes I registered as well.  Interesting idea!  Added your website to my Australian website’s links roll as well.  I am looking forward to reading some of the debates and comments on your site.


Thanks for touching base!

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