Products That Contain Palm Oil And The Impact They Have On Our Environment

We try to do our best to keep what we use as eco-friendly as possible but there are times when companies try to sneak in something eco-catastrophic. This includes palm oil, and it is in almost everything.

Although you may know a little about palm oil, perhaps it is best said in The Guardian in the form of a fairytale story by Paul Tullis:

“Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there grew a magical fruit. This fruit could be squeezed to produce a very special kind of oil that made cookies more healthy, soap more bubbly and crisps more crispy. The oil could even make lipstick smoother and keep ice-cream from melting. Because of these wondrous qualities, people came from around the world to buy the fruit and its oil.

In the places where the fruit came from, people burned down the forest so they could plant more trees that grew the fruit – making lots of nasty smoke and sending all of the creatures of the forest scurrying away. When the trees were burned, they emitted a gas that heated up the air. Then everybody was upset because they loved the forest’s creatures and thought the temperature was warm enough already. A few people decided they shouldn’t use the oil anymore, but mostly things went on as before, and the forest kept burning.”

Photo: Flickr / Life on Plates

He describes how people have become dependent on palm oil and how devastating it is to the environment. He also wants to make us think, is it too late for us to break the habit?

We may try our best to avoid using products that contain Palm oil, but it is easier said than done. It seems to find its way into almost every product out there, including some that are quite surprising. They also are able to get creative with the ingredient labels, using words such as elaeis guineensis, sodium kernelate, or simply, vegetable fat to hide the fact that they are doing something so destructive.

Palm Oil Investigations provides a list of over 200 terms used on the ingredient label. It is also important for you to know a little bit about the products themselves.

Palm oil was adopted by food makers who were in the market for creating processed foods. They wanted to replace trans fats but it is an ingredient that is best avoided. Making yourself familiar with the product categories in which you might find this oil is a good place to get started. Here are some of the options you should consider:

• Biscuits (AKA cookies) and crackers
• Breakfast cereal
• Cake mix
• Chips and crisps
• Chocolates
• Cleaning products and laundry
• Detergents
• Haircare
• Health food bars
• Ice cream and frozen yogurts
• Margarine and soft butter spreads
• Peanut butter and other spreads
• Skincare brands in supermarkets
• Soap bars
• Soap liquid and shower gel
• Toothpaste

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You might also be interested in knowing that palm oil is used in many other ways, including in biofuel and adhesives. In Europe, half of the palm oil usage is in diesel gas.

We are doing so much damage to the planet right now that it is good to know how we can do our part to stop it from occurring in the future. Stopping your use of palm oil is a good place to start.

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