The Impact of Cigarette Butts on the Environment

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat


With Lets DoIt Cyprus clean-up day approaching, Green Cyprus hopes that this major campaign will help play a part in making everyone think twice about littering our environment. But we’re not just talking food packaging and other miscellaneous waste. We’re talking about one of our biggest littering crimes here in Cyprus…cigarette butts!

Did you know that cigarette butts are one of the smallest environmental offenders and can create devastating consequences? We all know that cigarette butts that haven’t been fully extinguished can cause forest fires, but how else do they affect the environment? Having one of the highest percentage of smokers in Europe is bad enough and sadly there are negative consequences in Cyprus; cigarette butts are a common site everywhere, especially on our beaches.

Cigarette filters are not biodegradable. They’re made from cellulose acetate, a plastic that absorbs tobacco “tar” and eventually breaks down in the environment, but never loses its toxicity and can poison essential links in the aquatic food chain.

The Effects on Wildlife

Just like some people smoke them because they think they look cool, animals find cigarette butts interesting. Animals have no idea what a cigarette butt is, but it has some sort of fragrant stuff in the middle and seems edible. While larger mammals might survive eating a butt, small animals and especially marine life will die.

The Cost of Cigarette Butt Cleanup

Cigarette butts might be small, but the cost to clean them up isn’t. Small cigarette butts take a long time to rake and pick up, are an eye sore and a big cost for everyone. Who pays for the cleanup of cigarette butts? You do, with your taxes!

What Smokers Can Do to Help

Smokers can do one small thing. Don’t litter. Dispose of your cigarette butts properly and if you’re enjoying a day at the beach, don’t stick them in the sand!


Green Cyprus Backs Lets DoIt Cyprus

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat
Tonia Buxton will be supporting Lets DoIt Cyprus clean-up on 29th September. Green Cyprus will also be part of this campaign as we recently announced. We will be cleaning up part of Dasoudi Beach in Limassol which some of you may remember as being the subject of a recent discussion on our page. We would like to round up about 10 volunteers to help us on the day. Interested? We’d love you to help! Let us know if you’d like to join the team….

Net-Metering & Tree-Planting Projects Go Ahead

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat


Two good pieces of news as reported by the press this week relate firstly to a Net-Metering pilot scheme and secondly to a Nation-wide Tree Planting Project.

The planned net-metering pilot scheme will allow households to produce their own electricity and feed power back into the national grid. This is expected to be launched early next year. The scheme will initially involve choosing 125 households and it will take around 3 – 4 months to install the photo-voltaic systems.

The aim is to implement an islandwide net-metering policy and begin fixing all homes that wish to get connected with the system in 2014. Net metering provides credit to consumers with solar photo-voltaic systems for the full retail value of the electricity their system generates. In addition it will help Cyprus during the current energy struggle.

Although installation will cost each household a fairly hefty €6,000, that’s just around 6/7 bi-monthly electricity bills for a lot of us, so it has to be worth it in the long-run! Let’s see….The adoption of net-metering is an effective way of promoting renewable energy sources. We have year-round sun too so it makes obvious sense.

Also good news on the environmental-front is the Commissioner of the Environment, Charalambos Theopemptou’s plans to launch an island-wide tree planting campaign by encouraging every single person in Cyprus to plant one or two trees until we have reached one million trees. This is a great idea, not only for the environment in Cyprus as it will help make the place look a whole lot prettier and greener, but to counteract the negative effects of global warming. If you plant trees, it helps clean the air and cool the globe.

Green things are happening in Cyprus! That’s not only good for our environment but the economy as a whole as we begin to see the positive repercussion of these actions on the island in the near future.

The Dangers of Hair Dye and Greener Alternatives

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat


Hair dye uses harsh chemicals including ammonia, peroxide, p-Phenylenediamine or diaminobenzene and research has shown that repeatedly dying hair, especially dark brown or black which contain greater levels of chemicals than lighter colours, can increase the chance of developing some cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and cancer of the bladder.

It is also possible to suffer from allergic reactions to hair dyes. The most common allergic reactions to hair dye chemicals are dermatitis of the eyes, ears, scalp and face, which may include a rash, extreme swelling and a severe burning sensation on the scalp.

There has also been concern about the mixing of hydrogen peroxide with ammonia. Once again, research has found that this combination may create potentially carcinogenic chemicals that don’t normally exist in the two liquids prior to mixing them together.

This subject is well documented and there is plenty of information available on the internet should you require more in-depth information but Green Cyprus has summarized the dangers briefly and to the point. So, are there any safer alternatives? How green can your hair colour be? Well, there are various shades….

The safe alternatives for hair colouring can be categorised as safer and safest. The industry has taken out some of the chemicals by producing semi-permanent colouring. However, these products still usually contain p-Phenylenediamine as well as hydrogen peroxide and resorcinol. Although the amount of chemicals is of a lesser degree and may be less hazardous, there is still no evidence to back this up. Since the darker the hair colouring, the more problematic, it is also safer to go blonde or use highlighting only. Whatever is used, it has been recommended to drink a litre of water afterward to help flush out the toxins.
Safer alternatives to ammonia and peroxide are being developed. One hairdressing company that I used to frequent when I lived near London was Daniel Field Organic & Mineral Hairdressing who found a way of making ammonia and peroxide from ingredients such as seaweed, coconut oil and avocado oil which are far less irritating to the skin and have no nasty smell. Daniel Field has an online shop from which you can purchase his organic hair colours

Aveda, another Green Cyprus favourite is another company that offers safer hair-colouring solutions. Anyone who has tried their hair products (and beauty products too) will know that as well as being effective, they also smell divine. So if you’re planning a holiday to the UK or US, book yourself an Aveda colour appointment. Expensive but worth it!

There are safer alternatives that so far produce no health concerns. You can use vegetable-based rinses. These substances do not penetrate the hair shaft, plus they give the hair more shine and make it feel thicker and fuller. The coating action may also aid in protecting the hair from environmental elements such as sun, salt, chlorine and assorted pollutants. Safety tests have found that these rinses contain the least amount of synthetic chemicals of any hair dyes. The down side is that the effect is short-lived, lasting only a few weeks.

Many people have tried henna as a solution. Henna’s effect lasts longer than a vegetable rinse and adds a wonderful shine, highlights and bounce to the hair. Henna enhances your natural colour rather than totally covering it, which allows some of your natural highlights to come through. The coating and sealing advantages mentioned above are inherent with henna.

Finally, the safest and greenest although admittedly not the most effective in terms of permanent colour change are the use of natural products to enhance your natural colour such as coffee or sage to darken and tea, chamomile or saffron to lighten.

What’s available in Cyprus? In terms of do-it-yourself kits, safer colouring with reduced chemicals can be achieved with Apivita’s extensive range of colour kits which are generally available at pharmacies. Also available are Herbatint and NatureTint from health shops which are also ammonia and resorcinol-free.

As for hairdressers, I am not aware of any ‘organic’ hair salons such as Daniel Field or Aveda in Cyprus although I believe there may be one or two out there e.g. Azzuro, Larnaca, that offer a ‘greener’ service with vegan products and use kinder vegetable colourants. If anyone knows of any others that might fit the bill, please let us know so that we can contact them to check. Alternativley, ask them to contact us.

Why you should avoid Fluoride

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat
Here’s a controversial subject about fluoride that is bound to incur the wrath of many a dentist but there have been health scares about it for years.

Hot off the press today is the following research results. The figures relate to the US but Green Cyprus will post back on this site shortly as soon as we find out what levels are used in our water here in Cyprus. As for toothpaste, there are plenty of non-flouride versions available including Dr Organic which do the job just great…

A Harvard meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that water fluoridation significantly lowers IQ scores in children, and may be a neurotoxicant that affects brain development.

More than 23 human studies and 100 animal studies have linked fluoride to brain damage.

Fluoride has immunosuppressive effects at low dosages, which can raise your risk of chronic disease, including cancer. Long-lost research linking fluoride to cancer has resurfaced in a Dutch film clip featuring Dr. Dean Burk, co-founder of the US National Cancer Institute and head of its cytochemistry department for over 30 years. In a taped interview, he equates water fluoridation to public murder.

Enough said…flouride’s out as far as Green Cyprus is concerned!

Should I Be Worried About Chemicals In My Children’s Clothes?

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat


We know that 60% of the products that you put onto your skin are absorbed. Experts also agree that excessive chemical agents in clothes can leach into the wearer’s skin. This informative article provides some concerning information about the chemicals used in children’s clothing and certainly makes you think about paying more attention to seeking out ethical or organic fabrics. Green Cyprus suspects it’s not just kid’s clothing either.


GMO Industry Taking Over Farmed Fish Feed

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat

A new report details plans by the genetically modified soybean industry to expand its livestock feeding of GMO soybeans to the massive amounts of aquaculture fish raised in open ocean pens located in federal waters. While soy is already being fed to some farmed fish, if this happens to the scale the industry hopes, it could mean devastating consequences for the world’s oceans and consumer health, reports Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe, the organizations behind the report.

According to the report entitled  the soy industry is positioning its products as a better alternative to feed made from wild fish—the native diet for many farmed fish. Already, nearly half of the seafood consumed around the world originates through aquaculture or a fish farm, states the report. And there are major concerns over the risks of further expanding industrial agricultural farming models into the world’s oceans. Not only are scientists concerned about the risks of gene transfer and other issues with GMO crops, but the traces of the pesticides, mainly glyphosate (marketed by Monsanto as Roundup), that are used on virtually all genetically modified crops, could damage delicate oceanic ecosystems.

Creating a market demand for soy among fish farms would also mean more genetically modified crops taking up arable land and pushing toxic pesticides into the environment, a move that also concerns environmentalists as GMO soy already accounts for 93 percent of the soy grown in the U.S.. Countries like Brazil have begun growing so much GMO soy that it now outpaces the nation’s production of conventional crops and has led to the devastation of critical Amazonian rainforest.

Of further concern, beyond the known risks of GMOs, is the fact that soy is not a natural diet for fish in any circumstance. Unnatural diets can lead to chronic diseases, allergies, infections, birth defects and other risk factors that could negatively impact food intended for human consumption.

Source: Organic Authority/

Calls To Ban Dangerous Coca Cola Colouring

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat


Once again in the news, this is a UK article about the dangers associated with caramel which is used as colouring. The caramel colouring is present in Coke the world over so best avoided. Try Whole Earth Organic Cola. It tastes much nicer and is far less harmful. Available from health shops.

Potentially Harmful Effects of Magnesium Stearate

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat


If you take food supplements in the form of tablets or capsules, take note. We have just learned that Magnesium Stearate, a component of many supplements is potentially harmful. Contrary to what you may believe, Magnesium Stearate is not a source of magnesium and has no benefits, but may have a detrimental effect on your immune function as it has been linked to suppression of T cells.

Another issue that has been raised is the fact that the stearate is commonly sourced from hydrogenated oils such as cottonseed oil. This crop is often genetically engineered, but even when it’s not, cottonseed oil tends to have very high levels of pesticide residues.

So, it’s worth keeping a lookout for and avoiding any supplement brands that use this additive and in the meantime, Green Cyprus recommends reading the full article on our site.

Celebrities Living the Organic Lifestyle

Author: Green Cyprus  //  Category: Green Chat

Living an organic lifestyle is getting so cool that now it’s trending in Hollywood. Hippies and granola kids aren’t the only participants in supporting local farms, buying natural products, and changing their chi — Hollywood’s not just dieting these days, Hollywood’s gone green. Here are 5 celebrities living the organic lifestyle:

Courtney Cox

She was obsessive compulsive on Friends and apparently Courtney Cox is slightly obsessive in real life too. Tobey Maguire inspired this MILF to start living an organic lifestyle and she just flew with it. She buys everything organic from skin care products to bedroom linens!



Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts lives organically and she grows an organic garden! This seems to be a pretty fast moving trend; in cities people are growing organic gardens in their apartment balconies and courtyards. It’s actually really an excellent hobby, it inspires local eating and is fun to watch your babies grow and then be able to show off your bounty to friends!




Kelly Osbourne

Before Kelly Osbourne started talking about getting tattoos removed she had removed some other things from her life. She traded in her partying ways to make organic “mocktails.” Not only did she switch to “mocktails,” Kelly also started taking organic supplements to make sure her body was getting all the nutrients it needs.





 Rachelle Lefevre

Star of ABC’s new medical drama Off the Map and new Golden Globe nominated films Barney’s Version and Casino Jack, Rachelle Lefevre is living and working to make Los Angeles a more organic place. She first got involved, thanks to Amy Smart, in Environmental Media Association (EMA) which promotes the building of local organic gardens in inner-city L.A. Now, Lefevre eats organically, which she attributes to ending the stomach pains she was getting when eating meats that were not organic.



And obviously can’t talk about celebrities doing any good in the world without mentioning Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Not only are these two adopting kids that need better living but also they lease Chateaus in France that contain 75-acre organic vineyards. Only these two could promote drinking responsibly and more beautifully through French culture and the good of organic nurturing.