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You may have seen this week that the Christmas Advert from the frozen food giant Iceland was banned. Not because of its subject matter, but because it was originally made by Greenpeace. Clearcast therefore brands it as ‘political’. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a really moving piece about how the use of palm oil is leading to a devastating loss of habitat for orangutang. We are destroying a lot of rainforest each year in places like Borneo to produce the palm oil needed to make the products we use every day. How can we stop using so much palm oil?
How Can We Stop Using So Much Palm Oil?
Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil that we get from palm trees. We use such a lot of this oil that it has become big business to grow these trees on large plantations. Most of the plantations are in Asia, Africa and South America. In fact, 85% of our palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia.
But, in order to make way for these plantations, a football pitch of rainforest is destroyed every 25 seconds.
The rainforest is important habitat to creatures such as orangutang, rhino and many other creatures. The loss of their habitat is an environmental crisis.
It got me thinking. Do you actually know exactly what products contain palm oil? It is contained in many more products than you think. Palm oil is in so many things, and under a whole lot of different guises. Indeed, it could be in lots of products on the shelves in your house under these names:
- palm oil
- vegetable oil /vegetable fat
- palm kernel / palm kernel oil / palm fruit oil
- palmate / palmitate / palmolein / palmitic acid / etyl palmitate
- stearate / stearic acid / palm stearine
- sodium laurel sulfate / sodium laureth sulfate / sodium laurel lactylate / sodium palm kernelate
- elaeis guineensis
- hydrated palm glycerides
And it also is in many different products. Food, detergents, body care and makeup. All in all, it is in about half the products on the supermarket shelves.
- Packaged bread
- Instant Noodles
- Ice creams
- Cookie /biscuit dough
- pizza bases
- vegan cheese
Other Products that we use daily
So how can we stop using so much palm oil? Most notably by considering stopping using or campaigning for more ethical sustainable palm oil to be used in the products that we purchase.
The World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace are both campaigning against brands that aren’t using sustainable sources of palm oil. Brands that currently include Mars, Unilever, PepsiCo, Mondelez (who make Cadbury and Oreo) and Nestle.
Look for the RSPO or Green palm label – these state that the product is made with certified sustainable palm oil.
If it doesn’t have these labels, why not write to the company involved and ask them to consider using sustainable palm oil?
So, the upshot of all this? How can we stop using so much palm oil? We probably can’t. But if we all try to make an effort to make the palm oil we buy a more sustainable type we may be able to save Rang-Tan.
What do you think? Do let me know in the comments, or get in touch on social media.
Enjoyed this? Why not read about saving money and the planet in The Kitchen
or how you could be Clearing Stress by Clearing Clutter