Little Green Lies

Fact-filled, pithy and entertaining

Mullinder provided me with an advance copy. He succinctly captures -in his unique curmudgeonly style -a wide array of questionable claims, exaggerations and outright lies circulating in the nexus of consumers, environmental activists, business and government. At times he provides useful correctives; at other times one has the impression that he is pursuing a still unresolved conflict with some of the purveyors of the inaccuracies he identifies. Mostly, media deservedly take it on the chin for not doing basic fact-checking. Pithy and entertaining, this is well worth your time.

Michael G.

A sharp-witted read dispelling misleading sustainability claims and misinformation

This is an interesting and sharp-witted take on many of the misleading claims and misinformation surrounding the issue of sustainability today. The average consumer rarely gets the information required to make a rational judgment because telling the “whole” story in context doesn’t fit into a sound bite or a simple paragraph. John finds a somewhat light-hearted way to explain these complicated issues in more depth, while at the same time separating “the wheat from the chaff.”

His industry experience both provides the reader with more context and enough information to make his or her own assessments. If you want a peek into the real truth behind some of these hot-button topics then give the book a read. You might just learn something while having a good laugh in the process.

Thanks for the opportunity to review this advance copy. As a subject matter expert of some 32 years, I found John hit on some topics that I have always wished the general public would finally get to hear the cold hard truth about!

Sherry Arcaro,

Vice President of Sustainability Consulting

Peeling away the spin surrounding forests, packaging, waste and the environment.

John provided me with an advance copy and I am glad he did! John explains in plain language a clear-eyed view of the myths and misunderstandings surrounding environmentalism as it relates to forestry and the paper industry. He covers all the terms/topics of interest including forests, recycling, packaging waste and sustainability and provides clear explanations of how these terms have been misused by journalists, businesses and environmental groups. The book is well organized and supported by extensive references to provide the reader with confidence that the explanations he provides in refuting the hype and lies are well-founded and based on facts, not marketing. I recommend this book to anyone interested in these topics, as well as those who wish to understand how the consumer is manipulated by business, journalists and environmental groups.

Brian O

Entertaining and Convincing

I received an advance copy of John’s book and I loved it. I work in the recycling industry (or should I say “resource recovery” industry? or “circular economy” industry?) and thoroughly agreed with John that recycling is NOT dead. For anyone wanting to learn more about recycling, I say turn here first for an engaging overview. Hint – It’s actually not a little green lie.

John’s decoding of the various buzzwords thrown about in modern corporate sustainability story-telling is highly entertaining, passionate and well researched. Use this as your guide to sniff out the good actors from the green-washers.

Andrea C

This is a good read and an issue that needs to be increasingly discussed.

John Mullinder’s Little Green Lies and Other BS dispels many of the myths around goal setting and measurement. Too often something stated and repeated becomes the reality. Oftentimes it isn’t.

Goals are easy to set but difficult to achieve. More importantly, measuring progress against achieving goals can be complex and oftentimes not done well nor understood. Definitions do matter – and the author gives several examples of where definitions differ, making comparisons impossible. It reminds me of the saying “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

This is a good read and raises issues that need to be discussed. 

Patrick Kane,

Environmental Consultant, Former Director, Waste Policy, Government of Alberta.

Never be discouraged to question bold statements…

John provided me with a sample copy of this book prior to its release to provide a review and I must say I was very impressed with the amount of diligence that has gone into this book. It was a refreshing non-biased and fact filled walk through of the constant bath of misinformation that surrounds the forest industry for both lumber and paper products, both of which operate under a shroud of criticism from various special interest groups and overall public opinion. John really followed through on a fact finding mission and pointed out inaccuracy on both sides of the current day media arguments, with the goal of stripping away the “BS” in order to facilitate better and more accurate conversations that will inevitably benefit us all in the long term. This book should be required reading for Federal, Provincial and Civic leaders who are vested with recycling policy decisions and anyone else who is interested in improvements to the recycling processes and who are willing to remove emotional phrases from these policies in order to focus on the facts.

Malcom Winter

The Light shines through on Little Green Lies

Having known John since the mid 80’s, he sent me an advance copy of the book and I am most impressed with its scope but also on his creative presentation. From my perspective, “I know what I know…but, I don’t know what I don’t know!”. His work here gives clarity to the scope of “misinformation” that is pandered by many, for many dubious reasons. He has backed that up with a clear dose of reality, based on real numbers from credible sources. The “XMAS wrap fiasco” is timely, the exaggerated tonnage by ZERO Waste Canada is appalling and brings to the table, their lack of a moral compass. As a citizen, the Ontario Blue Box program is most disturbing, we tend to think we are doing a great job at “80-100%” recovery but the reality of 57% being captured, which nets out at 32% going into new products, reflects our ignorance and stupidity. John, you have done a great job in tackling the lies and hypocrisy within our Industry and Bureaucracy.

Bravo, for your efforts in letting the light shine through. Wishing you every success on your book launch.

Richard Ellery, (Retired),

Past President, Tencorr Packaging Inc

Dispelling the myths and balancing the narrative

Recently I was afforded a free preview of John Mullinder’s latest book, “Little Green Lies and Other BS”.

The author covers a lot of territory dispelling the myths that surround the forestry and forestry practices. He puts forth a balanced view of the paper industry, paper-based packaging, and the whole gamut on recycling, from recovery rates to recyclable content.

Throughout the book, Mullinder works to set the record straight and exposes the hypocrisy and lies touted by special interest groups, who are more focused on serving their own agendas, or bolstering their own fundraising efforts, rather than seeking or espousing the truth.
If we are truly going to focus on the betterment of the environment and environmental change, then we must expose and eliminate the myths and untruths that slow down our progress in this regard. Mullinder’s challenge of our thinking and our understanding, is long overdue. This book should be required reading by policy makers, regulators, educators, and marketers alike.

Gary Johnson

Great Work

I have truly enjoyed this book. It has taken me back to 1990, when PPEC and John started this voyage. All the achievements and challenges of this journey are the background to the message in this work.

There could not be a better time to publish it, as the disinformation season is in full bloom. I hope main stream media takes an interest so to learn how to make certain publishing decisions. Bravo!

Charles Parlagreco,

President, Astro Box Corp.

Before you wrap a gift think of the elephants

or better still check your facts. This book is filled with truths that shut down what has been accepted as “facts” about recycling/recyclable/compostable and that 100% claim. It’s refreshing, direct, thoughtful, and well worth a read. Even if you want to at least see through the spin called “ancient forests” check out this book. 


Guideline to small changes for a big impact

This book provides education on the myths and facts regarding forestry, recycling and waste. Mullinder doesn’t skimp on the humorous examples that help aid as a do’s and don’ts list on what to recycle, repurpose or dump. Some of the info serves as confirmation of knowledge previously assumed and other facts leave you wondering where has this information been hiding all along. This book can serve as a guideline to making small changes to help improve some environmental challenges we face today.

Gillian E


It’s really very knowledgeable book. I got an advance copy for review as well. John is great personality and His books too. I love it.  Thank you!

Harmandeep Haur

We’re all familiar with little white lies – harmless or trivial lies, especially those told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, such as “I like your haircut” when you really don’t. But what is a little green lie? According to John Mullinder, who recently published a book entitled “Little Green Lies and Other BS”, these include exaggerations, significant omissions and hypocrisy (claiming to have standards to which one’s own behaviour does not conform).

Mullinder, who retired as Executive Director of the Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council earlier in 2021, has come across a lot of green lies in his career, and decided to write this lexicon of the language of green lies spoken, written and often misused by environmental groups, governments and others. In his words, “there is a huge amount of misinformation, exaggeration, omissions, and rampant confusion about so many environmental issues today, especially on social media.” He addresses this confusion by providing factual information (with backup), structuring the book alphabetically, from ‘Ancient’ Forests to ‘Zero’ Waste.

This book should be required reading for any new hires (as well as old ones, for that matter) at environmental activist organizations, as it could prevent the public embarrassment and loss of credibility that comes with an easily spotted green lie.

Take for example the statements made by the David Suzuki Foundation in 2020 in an article that is still unapologetically posted on the web, saying that “vast amounts of boreal forest (are) pulped for toilet paper” and mentioning “packaging and other paper products we barely recycle”. Suzuki, widely respected (until now) for his many years as an educator on environmental issues, should know better than to approve and promulgate these green lies.

Let’s look at the entry for Hypocrisy. The book mentions a couple of environmental advocacy groups that have issued statements harshly critical of clearcutting forests, claiming in a recent report that “clearcutting decimates the ecosystem.” At the same time, these groups support and promote the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), whose standards allow clearcutting when done in an appropriate way!

With its folksy writing style sprinkled with tongue-in-cheek satire, the book makes for easy reading from beginning to end, but it also serves as a reference book, since its chapters based on key words are in alphabetical order. Particularly enjoyable is the elephant story, listed under X for Xmas paper. It’s a story that shows how the media, lamentably, are often much more interested in provocative headlines than in the facts.

Mullinder’s book will be available for purchase in late 2021 on Amazon and other outlets.

Martin Fairbank


Little Green Lies and Other BS deserves wide readership by all who have an interest in environmental policy issues, including current hot topics such as forest management and certified products, solid waste generation, and recycling.

The scope of the book is impressive with almost 40 different topics covered, conveniently arranged alphabetically from “Ancient” Forests through to “Zero” Waste, with extensive endnotes to back up the explanations and arguments.

The author demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of environmental claims, and of waste and recycling issues, in particular. He urges readers not to accept environmental claims at face value (whether they come from government, industry, or environmental groups). Probe deeper, he says, and consider their scientific and factual bases, and the context in which they have been articulated. Be especially wary of campaigns and fund-raising efforts that exaggerate or misrepresent in order to attract media or government attention.

John Mullinder’s long career in journalism and advocacy has positioned him well to cut through the many distorted environmental claims we hear today. His book is a timely and welcome reminder of the need to critically evaluate all claims being made by stakeholders in the policy-making process, and to keep an open mind about optimal policy options.

David McRobert

Environmental Lawyer

This entertaining and informative “dictionary” of environmental buzzwords explains and exposes a variety of terms that are widely used but often poorly understood. 

The author draws on his years of experience, along with numerous international studies and reports, to challenge myths and misconceptions about paper, packaging, waste and recycling.  Well documented references throughout the book encourage the reader to dig deeper and learn more about these subjects. 

 Little Green Lies and other BS is a great resource for anyone who wants to become better informed about critical issues that impact the health and future of our planet.

Kathleen McFadden

Former Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry

Those of us who have laboured in the environment sector for years, if not decades, will not be surprised that John Mullinder is once again speaking truth to myths and misinformation in his latest book.

As a journalist, blogger, author, and former Executive Director of the Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council, Mullinder certainly knows the power of the pen. He doesn’t pull any punches. There are stinging blows sprinkled throughout: “lies,” “BS,” “plain old bullshit,” “boo-boos,” “con man,” “smooth talker,” and “hogwash.”

But he doesn’t stop there. Mullinder takes on the iconic David Suzuki, pointing out that he is “dead wrong on paper recycling.” Heather Reisman doesn’t escape his pen either: she has made a “pretty penny” selling books made from paper while at the same time declaring paper to be “wildly unsustainable.”

Mullinder’s prime focus is understandably the forest and paper sector, be it trees, forests, forest cover, deforestation, clear-cutting, old-growth, and paper and paper packaging. He takes on what he calls the myths and the BS about these, and it’s hard to find any omissions or factual errors in his arguments. His prodigious research and detailed documentation of source material will certainly give his detractors pause.

Outspoken NGO Canopy, for example, which claims to be ‘’in the business of saving the planet,’’ certainly has some questions to answer based on the evidence presented here. How can you promote an “Ancient Forest Friendly” brand when there are no ancient forests? And what’s Canopy going to do about the 9 billion gallons of black liquor coming out the back-end of their proposed 200 wheat-straw mills dotted around the world (20 in the US and eight in Canada)?  

Mullinder doesn’t stop with the forestry sector. Thank goodness. There is plenty of misinformation and hypocrisy in the broader waste and recycling sectors. Too many packaging and consumer product manufacturers, for example, continue to greenwash with impunity when they label their products “recyclable.” Mullinder suggests we be wary of all such claims. Few environmentalists would disagree with that.

As someone who had a front-row seat overseeing Ontario’s Blue Box program for more than six years, I am glad to see that he takes this sad tale on as well. His facts on the paper and packaging sectors’ contribution to fledging recycling rates are beyond dispute.

If I had one issue with the book, however, it would be that he lets the plastics industry off lightly. Understandable, I suppose, given the primary focus of the book. But cold comfort. The Blue Box mess that we continue to be struggling with needs to be laid at the door of the plastics industry and its customers who continue to get away with false claims and inaction. Light-weight plastics are driving up Blue Box costs and stagnating recycling rates in our materials recovery facilities (MRFs).  

For a book that makes its case using hard facts and truths, it ends with some light-hearted but sage observations. Entitled “Reflections on some turds and apple pie,” Mullinder admits that “a lot of us (myself included) often don’t really know what we are talking about, although that doesn’t seem to stop us from sounding off occasionally.” Amen to that.

He goes further. “Words do matter.” And, I would add, so do facts. This book is a fitting testament to both.

Michael Scott

former CEO, Waste Diversion Ontario